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The curious case of Roberto Soldado; What’s gone wrong?

Feb 13, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

Roberto Soldado, Geoff Cameron AP

Following the five-nil home shellacking by Liverpool on December 15th, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy promptly told Andre Villas-Boas to pack his bags.

The players were mentally depleted and out of ideas, no doubt the result of Villas-Boas’ penchant for deep cerebral probing.

Cue Tim Sherwood and suddenly White Hart Lane was overflowing with adventurous, uninhibited football. Spurs went on to win seven of their next 10 Premier League matches, losing only once. Cloud lifted.

From all accounts, Spurs are once again a happy group. Except maybe for one man: Roberto Soldado.

After starting, scoring and playing the full 90 against Stoke on December 22nd, Soldado was substituted in his next two matches, the 2-0 win over Manchester United and the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Since then the striker has been relegated to the roll of unused substitute in three of the last five matches.

This doesn’t bode well for Bobby Soldier. So what exactly has gone wrong?

The simple answer, he doesn’t score goals. No striker can expect to maintain his place in a side when he’s only scored five goals in 21 Premier League matches. Especially when four of those strikes were penalties. Shite return for the £26m Spurs reportedly dropped to acquire his services.

Emmanuel Adebayor is another major factor. The Togolese striker has been on fire since being called back into the team. A Sherwood special, Ade has hit eight goals in 11 contests. Impressive stuff from the guy who was a dead man walking under Villas-Boas. Barring an injury, Ade’s the top striker at Spurs.

Finally, the club’s formation hurts Soldado. Despite deploying a 4-4-2 in his first five league matches, Sherwood has since wised up and changed to a 4-2-3-1, leaving Soldado the odd man out. In the future Sherwood could return to the 4-4-2 but as the season winds down and Spurs inch closer to a Top 4 finish doing so feels like an unnecessary risk.

Anyone who watched Soldado at Valencia, Getafe and/or Real Madrid knows he’s a lethal poacher. But it’s feeling less and less likely that we’ll see him doing that in a Spain shirt come this June.

  1. chunkala - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    Q: Why isn’t he scoring goals?
    A: He’s playing in England now.

    He doesn’t have the skill to succeed in EPL. Seriously, looks like Spurs really wasted their Bale lottery winnings.
    Adebayor should not have been relegated to bench early on either.

    • thfc54 - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:16 PM

      You are correct. He doesn’t have the physical prowess to be a number 9 especially in the EPL. The 4-3-3 we used at Newcastle seemed more effective where a 9 is not really needed. The high line defense still scares me though.

    • Jenna - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      You forget that Ade was completely out of fitness at the beginning of the season, and a lot of the time wasn’t even in the country. He’s scoring now, yes, but only because he wants a new contract. I will still take it, but let’s not fool ourselves that Ade was some victim of injustice.

  2. Sonny - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Real question is why Aaron Lennon still plays! Anyone else seen a guy kick the ball into the defenders legs more than his guy?!

  3. Jenna - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    My Spurs friends and I like to play “Where’s Soldado?” when he’s playing. It’s like “Where’s Waldo”, but harder…

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