It seems like a long time since our last win anywhere – yet can it really only be ten days since we beat Anzhi and qualified top of our group and unbeaten in the Europa League? Prior to that we enjoyed back to back away wins in the Premiership yet the events of the past week have made us forget what went before.
The humiliating defeat at home to Liverpool, the sacking of AVB and his Portuguese cohorts (along with the inevitable media circus as to who would replace him) and then the loss in the CapOne Cup to WetSpam. If a week in politics is a long time – think what it´s like in footballing terms.
Yet now – all of a sudden – it is almost as if none of this ever happened. One win and three goals secured the points which put us back in seventh and still only six points of current top spot.
Southampton did their best to thwart us, but to their credit – and their manager Pochettino – they tried to play good football. Rarely this season has the opposition enjoyed more possession or more shots on goal than us – even at the Etihad we had more of the ball and about the same number of attempts – yet statistically the Saints were ahead of us in all areas – bar one. Alas, for them, they could only score twice to our three – and three is certainly unusual for us – the first time we have got that many in the Premiership this season.
Crucial to that win, and the goals, was the performance of Emmanual Adebayor – someone who I have frequently berated for his lack of enthusiasm and application.
We all know that he has the talent, the pace and the power, his first touch isn´t always that great but when he puts his mind to it, he can be devastating. And yesterday he certainly put his mind to it. If he was trying to make a point – be it to the fans, his newly appointed interim Manager, whoever the next Manager might be – that point was made, over and over again.
In addition to two fine strikes he was a constant threat, whether coming from deep or attacking the ball in the box. On the ground, in the air, he was simply fantastic. If he continues playing like this he can drive us all the way to the top.
But that, of course, is the problem.
We have seen flashes of his brilliance before, all too fleeting in the opinion of many of us, but if he can play like that week in week out I, for one, will be willing to take back everything ever written and said against him.
All of which begs the inevitable question – why wasn´t he selected earlier in the season?
Under AVB he was obviously ostracised, playing just 45 minutes in that second half debacle at the Etihad, yet he must have been training and showing what he could do. Had he been fit and playing would we have lost at home to Newcastle and WetSpam? Would we have come away from Goodison with just a point? Would he have made a difference against the likes of Chelski and ManUre – all games where that extra spark, that goalscoring magic, could have resulted in a win instead of a draw?
We will never know but what is certain is that if we had an extra 6 points and were sitting first, second or third in the League there is no way that AVB would have been sacked even if we lost at home as we did last weekend.
The resurrection of Adebayor has been a long time coming – let us hope it is not another false dawn and he can continue as he has started.