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Jermain Defoe: Key to Spurs’ top-four bid

687   //    10 Dec 2012, 22:17 IST

With bitter rivals Arsenal on the slide and in danger of missing out on an annual Champions League spot, Tottenham Hotspur have the perfect opportunity to retain their top-four spot.

Of course, Harry Redknapp’s Spurs finished last season in a Champions League place, only to suffer the agony of missing out on a seat at Europe’s top table by virtue of Chelsea’s stunning triumph in the competition showpiece in Munich.

Tottenham looked certain to finish third in the Premier League before a late-season collapse, which coincided with Redknapp being linked with the England job. The experienced boss paid for the slump with his job.

Andre Villas-Boas took the reins at White Hart Lane and inherited a squad full of talent. The Portuguese added to his pool of players with a number of eye-catching summer signings, including Hugo Lloris, Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele. However, it is one of the club’s all-time leading goalscorers who has stolen the headlines in the opening months of the campaign.

Jermain Defoe has always had a keen eye for goal and is considered one of the deadliest finishers in the country. However, this season has the potential to be the most fruitful of his goal-laden career.

Spurs have struggled to find consistency at the start of the Premier League term – Sunday’s heartbreaking defeat at Everton was their sixth in 16 games.

The Toffees leapfrogged Spurs into fourth place, but Villas-Boas’ men remain in a strong position. They are just three points behind third-placed Chelsea and have a solid foundation for the rest of the campaign.

Defoe has led the line on his own in most games, a thankless task for a striker of his size. The former West Ham United and Portsmouth frontman has, however, relished the role, scoring 13 times in all competitions. He could yet form a deadly partnership with Emmanuel Adebayor, who recently returned from a three-match ban.

Defoe’s pace and movement has tormented Premier League defences, while his finishing has been as sharp as ever. The England international has benefited from playing in front of a talented midfield and will profit further as the new-look side continues to gel.

If Spurs are to bounce back from last season’s disappointment and reach the Champions League for only the second time, Defoe will need to maintain his impressive early-season form. The prolific striker has the quality to fire Spurs to glory.

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