With the new Premier League season just under way and with no new signings to bolster the current front line, Tottenham Hotspur will have to make do with what is already available to them.
The first match against Manchester City showed what a strong force Spurs are when going forward with their frightening wingers Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale plus Luka Modric heavily involved from central midfield. The fact the Lilywhites did not find was not down to bad finishing but due to an incredible performance from England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Judging from Saturday’s game it seems Peter Crouch is slightly ahead in the pecking order to start alongside Jermain Defoe, who has an almost guaranteed starting place. But with a long season ahead it is still an open-game, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Robbie Keane and Giovani dos Santos will all feel they have an even chance of winning their place in Spurs’ attack.
Pavlyuchenko and Crouch impressed at different stages of last season. The Russian came from the wilderness to score five league goals since he was given his chance in late February while the England international chipped in with numerous assists and some vital goals, most memorably ‘that goal’ at Eastlands.
Keane and Giovani seemed destined to leave Spurs after both of them were sent out on loan in January but after an impressive pre-season from the pair, they look to have won over Redknapp at the perfect time.
So who does ‘Arry choose?
‘Crouchy’ has done a good job in his first season back at White Hart Lane, forcing his way into the starting line-up after some exceptional substitute appearances and with no disrespect, this is when he performs at his best. He is a great impact player who can change a game in the last 20 minutes but the team’s philosophy of quick passing football alters somewhat when he starts. His mere presence often cuts off creative thinking from the Tottenham defence when in possession who will prefer to lump it long to the big man rather than trying to build from the back. He scored eight league goals and made seven assists which helped Spurs finish in the ‘top 4’ which makes many believe “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but in football it is a false notion to have. You must be pro-active and read a situation before it unfolds, a goal record like Crouch’s is one that only a player of his style could get away with. Another season with him as a starter will make Spurs incredibly predictable.
‘Super Pav’ showed true professionalism for giving his all when called upon after many months of being frozen out of the team. Spurs’ number 9 is a good finisher and comes alive in the box but does not have what it takes to play week in, week out. His inability to think quickly combined with his, at times, slack touch and lack of creativity make him unsuitable to compliment Defoe’s style.
Giovani dos Santos
After a dazzling World Cup performance followed by an impressive pre-season, Spurs fans have finally seen what all the fuss was about with whiz kid Giovani . The boy has the ability to become one of the best players in the world and as his boss recently said; “if he gets his head together” there is no reason why he can’t. He is a talent that should be weaned into the line-up; an incredible dribbler, good passer and extremely skillful, he would be ideal to have as a second striker, if not now then definitely in the near future.
And lastly, the forgotten man, Robbie Keane. A Spurs legend until his unsuccessful move to Liverpool in the summer of 2008 and it is clear that many fans still hold a grudge with him because of it. However, the team is a lot more fluent with the Irishman in the team, as he showed at the beginning of last season in the thrashings of Hull (2-5 away) where he made three assists and against Burnley (5-0 home), scoring four. It was those small teams that Tottenham struggled to pick off since Crouch broke into the first team versus Stoke in late October last year. His ability to be a creative force and a goal scorer in addition to his influence and enthusiasm are what make Robbie Keane the most suitable partner for Jermain Defoe
Written By Andrew Vou