Rejoice, revel and praise the Hodge: the Jermain Defoe three-month goal famine has finally ended and by God, didn’t he just end it in style.
A well taken brace against a bunch of part-timers in the guise of San Marino the other night is hardly going to bag our JD a Ballon d’Or, but regardless of how pony the opposition were, we shouldn’t underestimate the confidence that might now start flowing for the wee man.
Because regardless of the small injury lay off Defoe endured following the West Brom game, the brutal truth is that the 30-year old has been about as much use as Roman Abramovich’s PR staff since the turn of the year and however you want to frame it, one goal in his past 15 games leading up to last Friday was a pretty dire spell of form.
Now in breaking the mould between those who seem perpetually blinded by loyalty when it comes to throwing some critique Defoe’s way and those with some bizarre, tactical disdain for him – presumably born out of a refusal to admit he can score goals in the Villas-Boas system – The Hotspur Way wants to create a new way of viewing Defoe’s presence in this team.
Our standpoint? The simple, “love him or hate him, we need someone in this team to score goals because the other 50% of our strike force is shite and our season is going to capitulate if he doesn’t,” camp. Rolls off the tongue well, we hope you agree.
Because the fact is, it doesn’t matter if he might theoretically get frozen out of the team next year. It doesn’t matter if he isn’t the long-term answer up front. In fact, it doesn’t even matter how many goals Defoe’s knocked in for us over the years. Because none of the aforementioned have any bearing on the fact that much of our hopes upon whether we avoid blowing Champions League football or not for the second season running, now rest on his shoulders.
Drama? Hype? Overzealousness? Perhaps. Defoe hasn’t had even a third of the impact that Gareth Bale has had on our season and the list of those that have contributed more than the former-West Ham man, is getting longer by the week.
But the fact is we simply cannot continue to function much longer with such an impotent frontline.
We can’t do anything about the ‘one-team team’ jibes that have seeped into popular culture and even if Jan Vertonghen makes it into the PFA Team of the Year, the Armchair Andys are still going to be unable to look past Gareth Bale. But the fact is, from a goalscoring perspective, there really hasn’t been anyone else of late.
In fact, you have to go all the way back to December to find a league game that we took all three points in, that didn’t have Bale’s name down on the score sheet. Yet while that 3-1 win over Reading might not have carried Defoe’s name either, it was around more or less the same sort of time that the Englishman’s goal drought begun.
Bale’s outrageous form in front of goal did to a large extent, sweep the dire form of our striker’s under the carpet. But beneath the Bale-mania, we’ve looked desperately shorn of a goal threat and with eight games to go, it’s about time one of our strikers pulled their fingers out.
A bunch of part-time electricians or not, a goal remains a goal and we’ve seen in the past what even the scrappiest of efforts can do to boost Defoe’s confidence. And oh how desperately we must hope his efforts in an England shirt wield a positive influence when he dons a Tottenham one against Swansea this weekend.