Can Emmanuel Adebayor and a Formation Change Reignite Spurs Attack?
Spurs have scored only six open play goals in twelve Premier League matches and while the side has feasted on European opposition in the Europa League something is badly wrong domestically.
Andre Villas-Boas spoke after Sunday’s humiliating defeat against Manchester City about possibly moving to a 4-4-2 formation to suit Emmanuel Adebayor. AVB prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation (which pkays more like a 4-1-4-1 with Paulinho bursting forward) but this setup despite some outstanding buildup play all season has failed to deliver goals.
Should Spurs switch formation a central attacking midfielder will likely be dropped. Following the injury to Christian Eriksen on international duty, Tottenham could use the next few weeks to experiment with a new formation rather than play Lewis Holtby whose game has not acclimated yet to Spurs style or English football, after nine months in the country. Playing Adebayor and either Jermain Defoe or Roberto Soldado as a pair up front will allow Spurs to get back to basics as far as goal scoring and potentially become more direct in the attack.
If AVB would prefer to stay with some form of a 4-5-1 formation, A potential scenario would be to play with a set of three central midfielders (a position where Spurs have bought freely in the past few years) and two wingers. This would give the back four who were so horribly exposed against Manchester City an additional shield. Moussa Dembele or Etienne Capoue can play in this role flanking Sandro and giving Paulinho continued freedom to go forward.
Adebayor is a notoriously temperamental and unreliable character. Building a formation or tactic around him requires a certain degree of good faith and time that AVB perhaps cannot afford following the 6-0 thrashing at the Etihad. Nonetheless, Adebayor is a proven goal scorer whose playing style, when in the mood tends to bring other attacking players into the game.
Reigning Premier League champions Manchester United visit White Hart Lane on Sunday and AVB will need to get his tactics, team selection and formation right if Spurs are to have a shot taking all three points.