When Emmanuel Adebayor was alienated from the Tottenham Hotspur first team by Andre Villas-Boas earlier this season, few could have predicted the striker's resurgence which has seen him score five goals in the seven games he has played since Tim Sherwood replaced his former boss.
The Togolese striker became an outcast under Villas-Boas and did not make a single appearance in the Premier League this season in the 15 matches which the Portuguese oversaw; however, Sherwood's promotion to the manager's office at White Hart Lane has also seen Adebayor advanced to first choice striker at the North London club.
The trust the English coach has invested into his forward was repaid once more on Sunday afternoon against Swansea, as Adebayor performed excellently once more.
Attaining a performance score of 51, Adebayor was Squawka's Man of the Match as he lead the line for Tottenham and proved highly influential in a dynamic counter-attacking performance which saw Spurs have just 44% of the possession.
The Togolese striker scored twice, one a header and one a one-on-one which he coolly pushed past Gerhard Tremmel to ensure that Sherwood became the first Spurs manager to win five successive away matches since 1960.
Both were typically ruthless finishes, the type which look simple but are, in reality, easier to miss than they appear:
Playing as a lone striker, Adebayor dropped deep in order to avoid becoming isolated and connected midfield and attack well; as is evident from his pass graph below, the Togolese striker withdrew into a more conservative role before giving the ball to his wingers and making his way into the penalty area.
Consequently, Adebayor reduced the risk of finding himself stranded at one end of the pitch and as such made Spurs' counterattacks much more dangerous because of this; he acted as a kind of pivot as his team-mates gave the attacker the ball and revolved around him as they surged forward.
As well as performing well in attack, Adebayor demonstrated a willingness to press his opponents in defence as Spurs attempted to win the ball back high up the pitch and quickly break.
Football is becoming more and more about closing down and forcing mistakes, rather than tackling opponents directly, and for this reason Adebayor's role as the first line of defence was particularly important – he was a statement of intent, demonstrating Spurs' defensive strategy against Swansea's patient passing game.
Indeed, Adebayor was prepared to drop closer towards his own defence in order to achieve this, as is demonstrated from the striker's heat map against the Swans.
Adebayor was energetic in both attack and defence and as such caused Michael Laudrup's Swansea side problems in each discipline.
The striker continued his impressive form under Tim Sherwood and, if he continues in the same vein, the Togolese man's resurgence could be more important than any of the numerous signings which Tottenham made in the summer.
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- Emmanuel Adebayor
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- Tottenham Hotspur
- Andre Villas-Boas