In DEFENCE of Peter Crouch

Here is an interesting statistic for you. Peter Crouch has made more appearances for Tottenham in the Premier League than any other player. Yet Tottenham’s big friendly giant is perhaps one of the most scorned players in the Spurs team amongst fans (after Jermaine Jenas of course. Even mentioning his name is a bootable offence by the AJL – Anti Jenas League). However, whilst this might not be the most appropriate moment to write such an article, seeing as though Spurs went tumbling out the FA Cup, with Crouch missing a hatful of chances, is it time that someone stuck up for Peter?

I believe I’ll begin with a few home truths. If we were to sell Peter Crouch, we’d lose Abbey Clancy as a WAG, and that would put our WAG league table position in serious jeopardy. Do you really want to see that? I thought not.

On a more serious note, the statistics actually paint a more flattering picture of the effect Crouch has on the Tottenham side. Crouch is lambasted for his failure to score goals. This you cannot defend, and Crouch is clearly not a clinical striker. His return of seven Premier League goals, 12 in all competitions, will not fire Spurs into the Champions League, and it is frustrating to see the big man waste opportunities. However, Crouch has made seven Premier League assists this season, and after Aaron Lennon (9), this is the highest of any Tottenham player, including ‘playmakers’ Luka Modric and Tom Huddlestone. When you take this into account, Crouch would have accounted for 14 Premier League goals. Whilst Jermain Defoe has 17 League goals, how many assists does he have? I would also hasten to add that Defoe scored five of his 17 in one game against Wigan, whilst another three came against Hull City. This is not an attack on Jermain Defoe, but facts are facts.

A gripe that many Tottenham fans have with Crouch, is that his first touch is not as good as was expected, whilst his heading ability is poor for someone so tall. Yet for all Crouch’s failings (I have a feeling this next statement will not go down well either) Crouch arguably still offers more to Spurs than Roman Pavlyuchenko. Pavlyuchenko is a cult hero at Tottenham, and his record of five goals in ten Premier League games is excellent, as was his return of four FA Cup goals in six appearances. When he and Defoe are in the same team, Tottenham have two real goal threats, with both being so clinical. However, if Pavlyuchenko does not score, he does not really do anything. His movement off the ball, hold up play, and approach play, are all average, and inferior to Crouch. Therefore, when the Tottenham midfield is struggling to put goals on a plate, Crouch is a more viable option for a goal than Pavlyuchenko. With Lennon injured, Crouch has created more assists than any other player at Spurs, and often, his contribution is overlooked.

So to not be misunderstood, I am not Peter Crouch’s biggest fan. However, Crouch does not deserve the criticism he often receives. Just as he does for England, he offers something different, and is actually more effective than fans give him credit for. With Gudjohnsen used sparingly, Crouch is the only Tottenham striker that can bring the rest of the team into play, no matter how bad his touch or heading has been this season. Most poignantly, Crouch is not responsible for any long ball tactics. He does not dictate the rhythm of the Tottenham play, the defence and midfield do, and so for fans that dislike the ‘long ball’ to Crouch, the defenders and midfielders should be the focus of attention.

Tottenham will need to look seriously at their striking options this summer, and hopefully a player with pace, power and an eye for goal can come in before next season. Tottenham need to take the onus off Bale and Lennon on the wings, and inject some pace into the team upfront. However, Crouch is still a unique player, and were it not for a bad refereeing decision at Wembley, he could have been an FA Cup semi-final hero (ok maybe ‘hero’ is a bit strong but…). Therefore, I would like to forward this article as a case for Peter Crouch’s defence. Further, as previously stated, Tottenham cannot afford to lose Abbey Clancy in the WAG league tables, and if Clancy were to leave White Hart Lane, I for one would demand a full enquiry…

You can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mark0turner

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