Tottenham: Who is to blame for Roberto Soldado’s poor form? 8

Will Quinn discusses the causes of Roberto Soldado’s adjustment difficulties at White Hart Lane…

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Of all of Spurs’ summer signings, Robert Soldado was perhaps the most widely acclaimed. He just ticked all the boxes: he had scored lots of goals in a very competitive league, he was nearing his peak, and he addressed a clear weakness in the squad. Given the incredible number of successful imports from La Liga over the past few years, Soldado seemed almost certain to have a big impact.

Having only scored once from open play in his first 11 Premier League games, it hasn’t yet worked out quite as Spurs fans had hoped. Fingers are beginning to be pointed. Some argue that his team-mates are selfish, or simply lack the creative ability to provide the chances Soldado was used to at Valencia. Others blame AVB’s use of inverted wingers for stifling his supply of crosses, particularly from the right flank, where Andros Townsend takes an absurd number of shots. Some are blaming Soldado himself, calling for the return of Emmanuel Adebayor from exile.

The first thing to say is that the issue shouldn’t be overstated. New players, and especially strikers, often take a full season to settle. There’s no need to panic because Soldado isn’t scoring goals after 11 games.

The true reason for his poor form is probably a combination of a lot of the aforementioned factors. But even allowing for the adjustment period, I feel that Soldado himself has got off a bit lightly. The team’s creative players could do a better job, but his own movement is often somewhat sluggish. It’s not a case of the striker making excellent runs only to be ignored or the pass misplaced. All in all he’s not finding space in good positions very often. His link-up play hasn’t been especially impressive either, and his team-mates could rightly ask why he’s made so few chances for them either. Some might say that it’s only his “job” to finish, but that’s only because his interpretation of the striking role is so limited. You can’t use a player’s own lack of creativity to defend him.

A lot is working against him at the moment: he’s adjusting to a new team and a new country, his team-mates aren’t creating much, and his manager’s system doesn’t seem to get the best out of him. But ultimately, the buck has to stop with the striker himself. It’s starting to look like Spurs have very little to lose by bringing Adebayor back into the fold- he couldn’t do an awful lot worse.

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