Who Should Tottenham Play Up Front?

Blessed with one of the finest striking lineups in the division, it is a surprise to see Tottenham Hotspur where they currently are in the table.

The trio of Robbie Keane, Dmitar Berbatov and Jermain Defoe scored more than sixty goals between them last year, and with the arrival of goal poacher Darren Bent from Charlton it seemed as if they could only score more.

Tottenham have struggled however, currently sitting fourth from bottom in the Premiership after recently being beaten by hated London rivals Arsenal; the promise of dozens of goals to come from this strike-force has barely started to be fulfilled.

Tottenham Hotspur has netted nine goals in their six games which on first look seems like a decent statistic. If you examine the games they scored them in however, four of those goals came against a mediocre Derby County side- meaning that Tottenham have averaged a goal a game in the rest. That would be adequate if their defense was on form; however as shown they have shot themselves in the foot too many times this season- conceding three goals against Fulham and Arsenal. Here I take a look at the four members that make up Tottenham’s attacking lineup, and will try and decide who their best two up front would be.

Dmitar Berbatov

The mercurial Bulgarian striker was one of the best players in the Premiership last season, proving that Martin Jol had unearthed a bargain at £10.9 million pounds. Berbatov scored more goals than any other Spurs player, getting 23 goals in all competitions on his way to being named one of the best strikers of the year in the PFA Awards. Berbatov came from Bayer Leverkusen as a largely unknown quantity in England- he soon showed his doubters that he could compete in the league. Possessing elegance, trickery and an astute football brain, Berbatov has been compared to the likes of Dennis Bergkamp by football fans and pundits.

Robbie Keane

Although Robbie Keane’s official position is up front, those watching him for the first time would probably mistake him for a central midfielder. Keane starts most matches as a striker, but covers almost every single blade of grass in the attacking third. The Irish player not just scores goals (he scored 22 goals last season), he creates them as well. Keane’s biggest plus point is his creativity- as he moves all around the pitch he is near impossible for opposition defenders to mark and this has caused confusion, often leading to chances for goals. Robbie Keane is probably second choice in the Spurs hierarchy of strikers, just behind Berbatov.

Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defore is one of the best goal poachers in the league; sadly for him he is very much fourth choice at Tottenham. Despite him showing that he is capable of getting goals as a substitute, manager Jol does not seem to have faith in the English striker- mainly giving him only substitute appearances. While Defoe may give you a few assists a season, it is clear what his role is in the beautiful game- to stick the ball in the back of the net. Defoe was linked with a move to Aston Villa in the summer, but he decided to stay at Tottenham and fight for his place in the side. With Tottenham’s current woes on the pitch, it is likely that he will be given a start sooner rather than later.

Darren Bent

Darren Bent came to Tottenham with a big reputation and lots to prove- his transfer fee was more than that of departing Arsenal striker Thierry Henry. Costing Tottenham £16.5 from relegated Charlton, Bent replaced Mido in the Tottenham squad to complete a formidable striking lineup. Like Defoe, Bent is a goal poacher, and most surmised when he joined that he could only score more in a better team after doing it year in, year out for Charlton. Bent scored his first goal for Tottenham in their resounding victory over Derby County- he will be looking to feature in the Premiership goal-scoring charts if he can get a run of form going.

Tottenham’s Best Two

In my opinion, you play the most skillful duo up front- meaning Dmitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane have to start most games. While this will mean Bent and Defoe may become unhappy -no football player likes to bide his time on the bench- they will know that they have to take their chances when offered if they want to regularly start.

I would have to disagree with Jol, however on his rating of Bent and Defoe- he seems to prefer the former. In my opinion Defoe should be third choice, looking to come on and score goals when Tottenham need him off the bench; Bent should only be preferred if he shows that he deserves it. While it will be difficult to keep four top level strikers happy, there will always be injuries and suspensions.

So, I’ve stated my choices… what’s your pick?

Relegation Candidates for 2007/2008 La Liga
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