It took Soldado until 20th October to score his next goal, and this time it was from open play! Before that goal I was starting the get quite impatient, which is usually unlike me. To be fair the man, the whole team was not having the best of times, with the summer seven still trying to settle in. In recent weeks leading up to that game, I had been heavily criticising the AVB style of play, the slow build up, the slow passing and the unwillingness to attempt the killer pass. So it was possibly the system that wasn’t helping Soldado. But what could AVB do to change it to suit Soldado?
Soldado continued his poor run of form after his goal against Villa, despite his converted penalty kick the next week in the 1-0 win over Hull (a rather dubious penalty I thought). He continued to be a rather ineffective player. Just before a key match away to Manchester City, AVB hinted in a press conference that he would change his formation to 4-4-2 rather than his preferred 4-2-3-1 possibly after the Man City game. That would definitely have suited Soldado, having a supporting striker staying up top to thread crucial balls through for Robbie to finish off. This was the change that we all wanted.
As predicted, AVB played his favoured 4-2-3-1. And guess what! We were thrashed 6-0. Those plans that AVB had to change formation to 4-4-2 were quickly abandoned. Soldado showed promise in our next game against Manchester United. He started to make intelligent runs, one leading to a good chance in which he shot over the bar, but the Spurs faithful appreciated his efforts, giving him applause for his effort. I thought that Soldado was turning the corner in our next game, which happened to be in the Europa League against Anzhi. I was at WHL to witness a Soldado hat trick , where he looked good for his three goals. Just three days after that game, we were humiliated 5-0 by a free scoring Liverpool side. The day after AVB was sacked by Daniel Levy, and shortly after Tim Sherwood was appointed as head coach.
Soldado again shows some quality as he delivers a peach perfect cross for Adebayor to volley in to make it 1-1. He also plays well throughout the game against Southampton. The 4-4-2 formation working for Soldado? It seemed to then, but not much after that.
Many crucial chances were missed by Soldado after the performance at St. Mary’s. Although his overall play had been good, he just could not provide the finishing touches. Apart from 1 penalty against Stoke just after Christmas, there was nothing in the goals department up until March. I started to ask myself, we have given him the formation and system that suits him, but why no goals? ‘That’s a very good question’ I hear you say.
We next saw Soldado net at home to Cardiff on 2nd March, and once again we thought that he had turned at corner, but once again he failed to deliver in future matches. Nothing much really happened for the rest of the season as he was on the bench for the most part of it. That concludes the story of Soldado’s season. Now onto the question. I though about this for a long time, and came up with this answer.
Just imagine you are Soldado just for a moment. You arrive In a new country, you can’t speak the language and the climate and lifestyle is completely different. I know that it is hard to imagine this as many of you reading this will not have done the same as Soldado. And top everything else off, you arrive with a whopping £26m price tag to prove and Champions League football to deliver. Tough eh! And the English media being constantly on your back all the time can’t help either! That is my opinion on what went wrong for Soldado, that he simply could not adapt, not to just just things on the pitch, but off it as well. Hopefully over the summer, Soldado can adapt better to the English lifestyle, and maybe he will have a very successful season with us.
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