Tottenham’s striking options have been the subject of discussion for many weeks now. Defoe has been on fire, Crouch has been good, Keane has been disappointing and Pavlyuchenko might as well not be there. Harry Redknapp is looking to offload the Russian and bring in someone else, but in terms of their starting due, he also has decisions to make. Defoe is having a wonderful season and Spurs tend to start with either Crouch or Keane alongside him. But perhaps it is time for Harry to settle on a partnership and stop experimenting.
Defoe is a striker who needs a partner to work alongside; though he himself can be accused of being selfish on occasion; he does not have the physique or hold-up play to play as a lone forward. His performances this season have seen him become Tottenham’s main man; a far cry from the days of sitting on the bench watching Keane and Berbatov.
Defoe has a good relationship with Crouch; it started at Portsmouth and they have carried it forward with Spurs. The little and large combination will always give defences problems as they provide such different threats. Defoe is an explosive finisher with great movement while Crouch is a less mobile target-man with good feet. They compliment each other well and many feel that of the current crop of strikers, they are the best two to start games with.
Tottenham’s play when Keane is alongside Defoe tends to be more disjointed; this is partly due to the fact that Keane is a long way short of top form and partly due to the fact that there seems to be a lack of chemistry between the pair. On paper, it should work well with Defoe forcing defenders to drop deep for fear of his pace, creating space for Keane to dictate the play. But this just isn’t happening; if Keane was in confident mood then perhaps it would be more effective but as it stands Redknapp would be better off sticking with Crouch and Defoe.
Keane is a difficult player to leave out of the side on a regular basis given his role in the dressing room, but a team will always perform better if partnerships are allowed to form and Crouch looks a much better bet than Keane right now. It is time for Redknapp to make a decision either way, vacillating between the two is creating uncertainty and making the side less effective.