Andre Villas-Boas “gets” the Premier League
Villas-Boas may have lost to his former club at the weekend, but the work he did to get Spurs back into the game demonstrates the influence he has amongst the players and the understanding he has of the flow of the game. The team’s performance at the start of the second half was superb, and but for individual errors ceding the momentum back to Chelsea, could have carried Spurs to one or three points they looked nowhere near getting in the first 45 minutes. Villas-Boas has spoken about the passion of the league many times, and he instilled it in his team at half-time. The full backing of Bale’s rush to be at the birth of his child also indicates his good relationship with the players.
Depth is king
Whilst few teams would be fine when losing arguably their two best players for a key match, from the moment the Spurs’ team sheet was released without Dembele and Bale there was an inevitability about the loss. There could be arguments that Spurs need to sign a striker more than a midfielder in January, but playing the 4-2-3-1 system means that more cover is needed on the wings and in the centre of midfield. Dempsey and Sigurdsson both looked uncomfortable covering for Bale on the left, and Tom Huddlestone looked bereft at times as Mata, Hazard and Oscar ran riot.
Spurs will need time to compete
Of the two sides sent out yesterday, in only one position did Spurs have a player who had cost the club more than the Chelsea counterpart in terms of transfer fee. Even then the fee for Ashley Cole was only less than Jan Vertonghen’s because Chelsea added Gallas to the deal to take him from Arsenal. Spurs are looking to build the club up, with a new training complex complete, and a new stadium in the works. This will take time, but is the only way to compete with clubs like Chelsea in the long term.
It’s becoming a tired old tune, but the Frenchman has to start in the league. Friedel is still a good keeper, but Lloris is world class. The French captain is faster off his line, comes to claim more crosses and through balls, and communicates better with his defence. Friedel again made no glaring errors yesterday but his lack of an impact at corners and crosses means that the Spurs defence have more pressure placed on them, and leads to errors like Gallas’ clearances. Home goals conceded against Norwich and West Brom have also come from corners inadequately cleared. Whilst AVB’s commitment has been somewhat admirable, it now has to be time for Lloris.
Walker is an excellent right back who, at 22, is still improving and learning. His mistake yesterday was unfortunate, but moments before he had almost leveled the game with a long range striker reminiscent of the one that beat Arsenal at White Hart Lane last year. The abuse he has received from some Spurs fans is shameful and wholly undeserved.
image: © Zweifüssler