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Emmanuel Adebayor: Statistically playing the best football of his life

Saturday 22nd July 2017
Emmanuel Adebayor from Togo is a Premier League icon. He's been at Arsenal, Manchester City and Spurs. Although he's statistically playing his best football now at 33, in the Turkish Süper Lig with İstanbul Başakşehir F.K.

The veteran forward from Togo has seemingly been around forever. After all, his career has been public interest for 10+ years, known for his goal tally and his twisting transfer stories. It's the numbers behind his tenures at clubs which make for exceptionally interesting reading.

After an unemployed stint, he joined Turkish top tier side, İstanbul Başakşehir F.K. Who has recently emerged as a top side who are chasing for the title. It's this stint that has provided the stimulus for this very article. Adebayor made nine appearances since joining the side on January 31st and scored six goals. A very good ratio for any forward. Boiled down, it's 0.667 goals recurring every game he plays for this club.
Footage of Adebayor in the last game of the season, showing us what he can still do.

Inspecting the same data for his other spells, he's statistically playing the best football of his life. The only other time he's scored anything near this would be his initial loan spell at Tottenham Hotspur when he was still officially on the books at Manchester City; he scored 0.5151 recurring goals every game.

The only problem is that Emmanuel never gets to see the job through. He was on loan away from Manchester City when they won the league and the emergence of money, Harry Kane and Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane saw him out of a job. Giving fuel to the fire that, Adebayor, is a gateway striker. He can do a job for you but you can't trust him as far as you can throw him and you should be looking to flog him as soon as you get someone better in. The trust elements of course coming from his notoriety, all those celebrations against former clubs haven't helped people's opinion of him.
The gateway argument has never been more truly applied to him given his last few tenures of employment. His contract expired at Tottenham before the 15/16 season and he was without a club until January 2016. He joined Crystal Palace on a short deal until the end of the season, but statistically played his worst patch of football in terms of goals and games. Just 12 appearances for the Eagles and a mere lone goal ensured that the deal was short. The stats again don't lie, it worked out at 0.0833 recurring goals per game. His poorest across any of his stints across his entire career. Again, he found himself out of work at the end of the season.

So why now at 33-years-old in Istanbul has he found a purple patch of form? Let's, first of all, consider Adebayor and his list of accomplishments. Despite playing with Arsenal, Real Madrid and Manchester City, he's not actually won that much. His honours are limited to a Champions League runner up medal from his days in Monaco and a Copa del Rey win from his loan at Los Blancos back in the 2010/11 season. That's the one trophy in his cabinet. Joining this side will give him a lot of drive and gusto to land his first ever league trophy. İstanbul Başakşehir has asserted themselves into the Süper Lig title picture. He joined the Turkish outfit on the last day of the winter transfer window and would have had real optimism to be part of a potential title-winning team. In the end, they came second to Beşiktaş but they did qualify for the Champions League in the process.

Whilst he can't consider himself first choice striker at this club, he's been knocking on the door since making his debut for the club in April. It took him awhile to embed himself in the squad, but since then has made a real difference to the side. Notably scoring a hat-trick in a game against Galatasaray on the last day of the season.

He's still under contract with the side until the end of the 17/18 so is evidently cherished more there than he was at Crystal Palace. Despite his age, this longer contract suggests that Abdullah Avcı, sees a future for him, at least next season. Going back to the start of this article, he's playing the best football of his career even if he made few appearances. You'd think with a full summer of playing with the team he'd be able to replicate his performances in the clubs' colours – and continue to chase glory with this Turkish club.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 


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