Many Tottenham Hotspur supporters were in full-on panic mode after Spurs lost to Newcastle in their Premier League opener last weekend for one of three reasons: beer, three months of anticipation or stupidity.
An opening loss feels like the worst thing in the world, but it really isn't. Away to Newcastle will be one of the toughest matches for every team in the league this year and Spurs played well for stretches. Even more, they did it with a team clearly still under construction.
That isn't the case anymore because Tottenham have a striker. The Luka Modric situation is still unresolved, but Spurs have a real, honest-to-god striker capable of playing alone up top. With all due respect to Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor is a godsend to to Spurs.
Defoe played very well individually at St. James' Park, but he failed to combine with the rest of the team. He looked like he was playing on an island and failed to enable to kind of surging runs that the very pacey trio of attackers behind him should have been making all match.
With Adebayor, Spurs' band of three of Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Aaron Lennon now have a striker that they can play with. Considering the way that Bale, Sigurdsson and Lennon played together in Newcastle, that is scary for opposing defenses. They were quick, smart and inventive. With a striker that they can run off to surge forward, they can get in behind defenses. Adebayor can also occupy defenders and drive them back, creating space in front of the defense for Bale, Sigurddson and Lennon to exploit.
Essentially, Adebayor creates space and that can be deadly for a team with Bale, Sigurdsson and Lennon. Moreover, it will ask a lot of opposing central midfielders and ease the burden on Spurs' double pivot of Sandro and Jake Livermore. While resolving the Modric situation and buying a replacement that can strengthen the team through the middle is Plan A, making things easier on the current central midfielders isn't a bad Plan B.
The problem is that all of this assumes that Adebayor is fit and can play. After being frozen out by Manchester City in the preseason, that may not be the case and the onus might be back on Defoe.
Of course, not everything is solved by buying a striker, even if it feels that way. Against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Spurs will be dealing with some problems at the back because of a knee injury to Younes Kaboul. His absence will bring Jan Vertonghen into the team for his Tottenham debut to partner William Gallas. Asking a debutant to mark some combination of Shane Long, Romelu Lukaku and Peter Odemwingie isn't exactly kind, but it is what is being asked of the Belgian.
With that uncertainty in the middle, Spurs will need some exceptional play at fullback. Benoit Assou-Ekotto will be charged with shutting down Odemwingie, which isn't too tall of a task for the normally steady left back, but what will they get from Kyle Walker. After coming on strong defensively in the latter part of last season before breaking his toe, Walker was dreadful defensively at Newcastle. That can't be the case against West Brom, who do take their chances well.
This will be Tottenham's first match at White Hart Lane this season and it should be a cracking atmosphere, but West Brom were better away than home last year so they won't be taken aback by what they walk into. The team will have to play well to take three points, which would put any of last week's beer-induced concerns to bed.
Important gambling information: You can get very good odds on Lukaku roundhouse kicking Villas-Boas in the face before kickoff.
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