columnist Richard Marsh wonders if Saturday’s 4-goal haul will prove the kick-start that Robbie Keane
It would appear that Tottenham Hotspur striker and Captain
Robbie Keane is firmly back to his best after his personal destruction of
Burnley last weekend.
It has taken the Irishman some time since his ill fated move to Anfield last
summer, to regain the form that made Rafa Benitez fork out £20m for his
Following two incredible seasons at White Hart Lane, where he scored well over
20 goals in all competitions in consecutive seasons, Keane was signed by
Liverpool to add a final dimension to the attacking threat of Torres and Steven
Gerrard. Rafa Benitez, quite rightly, realised that two quality attackers just
is not going to win the league title.
As it was, Benitez messed up by failing to A)
play Keane often enough, and B) play
him in his strongest position. After a tough few months at Anfield, Keane left
the club and rejoined Spurs, while Benitez saw another league championship fade
Back at Spurs it took some time to fit back straight into the side. With
Jermain Defoe injured for a lengthy spell, and after the early season departure
of Juande Ramos, the season was somewhat of a write off for the club as Harry
Redknapp found his way at White Hart Lane.
With Defoe’s return late in the season, he and Keane started to form a strong
and successful partnership up front and the team finished a creditable 8th,
just outside the UEFA cup places.
Forward to this season and until Saturday Keane had only scored 2 goals in all
competitions as Defoe bagged all the headlines, even when Peter Crouch was making
appearances off the bench he was proving very useful and got a hat-trick in the
league cup game against Preston.
Rumours even circulated that Keane was going to leave the club, and his
struggling form was not quashing those rumours at all. Playing out of position
on the left wing also didn’t help his cause.
But against Burnley on Saturday everyone who watched saw a vintage Robbie Keane
performance, maybe he needed a game like this, a game against a weaker side,
just to get his confidence and his morale back. Running in and out of a Burnley
defence that just did not know what to do with him, Keane bagged himself a four
goal haul. Cutting his way through the back line and producing sublime
finishing all afternoon, Keane almost had a 5th late on but his shot, for once,
went just wide of the post.
Few strikers in the world are as good at judging defence splitting runs, at
running in on the keeper and clinically finishing. Very rarely to you see Keane
miss a sitter.
Is Robbie Keane back to his best? Back to the Robbie Keane who consistently
scored well over 15 goals a season and who knows how many assists? Or was it a
flash in the pan? A one-off against a struggling defence of a newly promoted
Tottenham will certainly hope it is the former, with Defoe in the form of his
life, and Peter Crouch providing an extra style of attacking play altogether,
having Robbie Keane back to his best could well see Spurs fight the so called
‘big four’ very hard this season for a Champions League place. Yes they were outplayed
by Chelsea and Man United, but if they keep the wins up against the rest of the
Premiership, Tottenham could well be in the hunt come May.
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