Whether it be from formation change or the form of teammates, Clint Dempsey’s not taking any challenge to his playing time lightly. Just as he’s done throughout his career, Dempsey’s responded almost immediately, his Saturday return to Spurs’ starting lineup producing two goals in Tottenham’s 3-0 FA Cup win over Coventry City.
Dempsey missed two games over the Christmas period with a groin injury. Since he’s return to health, he’s been featured off the bench, but with André Villas-Boas changing near-half his team for today’s game at White Hart Lane, Dempsey found himself back in Spurs’ starting XI.
Since the game wasn’t broadcast here in the States (and highlights are scarce, at this point), let’s trust the words of those on the scene. From The Guardian:
Tottenham’s opening goal arrived in the 14th minute – Gareth Bale rose highest at the near post to flick on Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick, and Clint Dempsey smashed the resulting opportunity into the roof of the net from five yards.
Sounds like a very typical Dempsey goal – right place, right time, right finish.
More, on Dempsey’s part in the next two goals:
Inevitably, though, Bale volleyed home from an acute angle after Dempsey’s shot had ballooned off-target in the 33rd minute. Dempsey then bagged another himself with a looping header from a corner four minutes later.
So he might get a lucky assist on the second. The third, however, sounds like Deuce’s work.
The two goals bring Dempsey’s all-competition goal total to six in 25 games this season, not bad considering his early adjustment period at White Hate Lane. While he’s not going to come close to the 23 he posted for Fulham last year, the goal rate is right in step with his typical Craven Cottage years, a strong showing given the increased competition for playing time.
Whether today’s performance helps Deuce continue getting regular time remains to be seen. Obviously, it won’t hurt, but it was an FA Cup home tie against a far inferior opponent. Spurs may still end up a 4-4-2 team without a clear spot for Dempsey, but just as he did at Fulham, Dempsey looks intent on forcing his way into the team.
At a minimum, today’s goals should give him a leg up in any Dempsey versus Gylfi Sigurdsson battle.
Later today, we’ll circle back and feature your feedback on that battle (or, “battle,” as some would phrase it).