FanPost

The Effects of Adebayor Returning

I was reading Bryan Ashlock's recent piece discussing our tactical formation, extolling the virtues of AVB's preferred 4-3-3 formation. He makes some very interesting points about some of our problems with the 4-2-3-1 we are currently playing. One of the arguments for the success of this formation hinges on the fact that Adebayor is returning from injury and will (theoretically) play the lone striker role much more effectively than Defoe. Looking past the fact that Defoe has actually done a pretty decent job so far (results don't lie, haters gonna hate) I think the people making these arguments about Adebayor are looking past some of the potential issues with him returning to the starting XI.


The main thing that jumps out at me when speaking about Adebayor is his positioning. While yes, I will not argue that due to his physical attributes he is better than Defoe at holding up the ball, challenging for headers on long-balls, etc., I think his positioning is actually a detriment to scoring goals. Even in his short cameo appearance this past weekend, you saw how deep he dropped to receive the ball, how often he shifted to the left or right touchline, rather than in the box like a traditional lone striker. This is all well and good to get him on the ball, but his PRIMARY job as a lone striker is to get in the box and score goals. When he's not in the box, no one else is. Obviously you try and get the opposite winger cutting in, and hopefully Dempsey/Sigurdsson crashing in when this happens, but it seems like quite often we end up with not enough players in there to really threaten.

I think Adebayor fancies himself a #10. Hell, he WEARS #10. Semantics aside, I don't think Adebayor is the traditional hold-up striker playing alone up top that a lot of people seem to think he is. He wants to dictate play, so he looks to get the ball deep or on the wings quite often. For his size, he actually isn't all that great in the air, and much prefers fancy footwork. This can work if there is an understanding with whoever is playing in the hole, to get in the box when Adebayor drops deep, but if that is not the case you are going to have Dempsey/Sigurdsson essentially trying to take up the same position(s) that Adebayor is on the pitch. We saw some of that when Adebayor played with Van der Vaart last year. They essentially both wanted to pick up the ball deep, and then dictate play/move forward with it.

Perhaps the solution is to actually play Adebayor in the #10 slot, and having Defoe continue playing as the 'striker'. As Ashlock pointed out, the job of the #10 in the 4-2-3-1 is to score some goals, and Adebayor is a bigger threat at that than Sigurdsson and Dempsey, and we still get to use Defoe's poaching. Adebayor actually has all the tools we would want our #10 to have, so why not put him there? As Ashlock has said, neither Dempsey nor Sigurdsson has set the world alight playing in that role so far, I can't see why it wouldn't be worth a try.

Maybe this is a horrible idea, I don't know, but it's something I have thought might work. Let me know what you guys think.

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