December 10 2013 Latest news:
By George Lacey
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Tottenham blogger George Lacey discusses whether Andre Villas-Boas is getting the most out of £26million summer signing Roberto Soldado.
Since arriving from Valencia for £26million in the summer, Roberto Soldado has scored four goals in seven games in all competitions for Spurs.
On paper you could look at that with real satisfaction. However, two of those goals came in the 5-0 rout away against Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League – the opposition were very poor – and the other two came from the penalty spot in the early 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Swansea. Regardless, Soldado has kept his place in the lone striker role, only being replaced by Jermain Defoe in cup games.
There are different ways of assessing Soldado’s situation. Defoe’s goal-scoring displays in the cups have raised the issue of who is more deserving of the lead role for Spurs. However, I believe it is a more complex issue as to why Soldado is yet to net from open play thus far in the Premier League.
Andre Villas-Boas’ 4-2-3-1 formation is adopted at most of Europe’s top clubs, and it is no different at White Hart Lane. It means that aside, from the lone striker, there are two inside forwards or wingers either side of Soldado, and in the last two league games that has been Gylfi Sigurdsson on the left and Andros Townsend on the right.
The way in which Soldado plays, when compared to the personnel AVB has used thus far, creates a small problem, and I believe it is a key reason why Spurs’ summer recruit isn’t firing on all cylinders.
It could be argued that the transition at Tottenham is still ongoing and that players are getting used to each other. But it is also worth noting that Townsend has a knack of cutting in onto his left foot rather than beating the full-back on the outside and delivering a cross. The same applies to Sigurdsson, who drifts infield more centrally where he obviously feels more comfortable – indeed he has scored three goals from that position so far this season.
As a result Soldado, who thrives on making runs to get on the end of crosses – as he did so successfully at Valencia – is not getting the service from wide areas that he craves. In short, the team is not set up to play the way that would suit the Spaniard
That said we are third in the league after six games, so why change something that’s not broken? Looking at the bigger picture, I do believe as soon as Soldado’s first goal from open play goes in, many more will follow. A player of his quality, with the creativity Spurs possess, should have no excuses.
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