With the signings of AVB, as the manager, Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen, with Adebayor soon to follow, Spurs genuine top 4 contenders...
26th February, 2012. It’s the 34th minute of the North London derby. Adebayor starts his run-up to take the penalty. Goal! Adebayor scores from the spot to give Spurs a 2-0 lead. If the score stays the same, Spurs would be 13 points above their eternal rivals, Arsenal. Almost everyone is genuinely starting to believe that this is Spurs’ season – they are finally going to finish above Arsenal.
If only the score-line remained the same.
Arsenal came back to score 5 goals without reply as the game finished 5-2 in favour of the Gunners. The architect of that win was Rosicky – the little Mozart made the ball his keyboard and played a tune so fine that it made everyone, apart from Spurs fans, love not only him, but also Football.
Rosicky, however, was also the destroyer – the vicissitude causer – of Spurs’ season.
That performance from Rosicky hurt Spurs so bad that they gave away the 10 point lead they had over Arsenal before that North London derby, and ended up one place below Arsenal when the season ended.
This didn’t please Daniel Levy as he sacked Harry Redknapp – the guy who brought Spurs out of mid-table mediocrity and made them a team who consistently fought for the top 4 spots.
Daniel Levy was probably right to sack him. After all, it was Harry Redknapp’s ineptness as a tactician and failure to understand how important rotating a squad is in modern times, where a team plays at least 50 games a season, which cost Spurs the third spot. Also, Harry’s flirting with the England job somewhat affected Spurs as he looked more concerned about getting the England job than finishing strongly with Spurs.
Now, Daniel Levy has brought in Andre Villas-Boas – the man who got sacked at Chelsea for a completely different reason altogether.
Harry got the sack because he couldn’t finish 3rd with Spurs; it was a result of his lack of tactical knowledge and his inability to successfully rotate the players he had – things in which AVB is excellent at. On the other hand, Villas-Boas got the sack because of his terrible run in the League; that was a result of his awful man-management – the most lethal weapon in Harry’s arsenal (no pun intended) – at Chelsea.
However, at Spurs, Villas-Boas has a completely different environment to the one he had at Chelsea. And this one is an environment which suits AVB.
At Chelsea, he had the likes of John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard – who are influential figures in the Chelsea dressing room – to handle. These 3 have been in the Club for so long that it is almost impossible for one to totally stamp his authority at the Club and that is what AVB tried to do….and failed.
At Spurs, he doesn’t have to face anything like he did at Chelsea as the most influential figure in Spurs’ dressing room, Ledley King, will most likely retire before the season starts. But even if he doesn’t, he won’t start a mutiny against AVB, if AVB doesn’t play him regularly, given the model professional he is; same could be said for the other 2 influential figures in Michael Dawson and Scott Parker.
So with the whole dressing room under his control, AVB would definitely not face the problem that he did at Chelsea and that would only help Spurs in getting better as they would now have a manager whose tactical knowledge is brilliant – something from which Spurs were deprived from when Harry was the manager.
Another problem AVB faced at Chelsea was playing style. Chelsea, under Ancelotti, were known for their defensive solidity rather than attacking fluidity. In contrast, AVB likes to play an attractive brand of attacking Football – something which wasn’t possible with the players Chelsea had.
Spurs, however, not only have the players to play that kind of Football, they are already accustomed to playing attractive and attacking pass-and-move Football. The main reason why Spurs could play that kind of Football was Luka Modric – the heart-beat of Spurs’ playing style – and he might leave for Real Madrid, but that won’t hurt AVB too much as the reported money from his sale, which is around 40mE, is more than enough to buy a suitable replacement.
Spurs have already confirmed the signings of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen. Reports also claim that Adebayor will permanently sign for Spurs. Adebayor and Jan Vertonghen have already proven their quality and their addition makes Spurs a much stronger force.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had a fantastic half-season at Swansea, scoring 7 goals and assisting thrice in 17 Premier League games. Whether he can do it on a consistent basis for a top team, however, is yet to be seen.
Vertonghen and Adebayor, on the other side of the coin, have already proven their qualities. Vertonghen, under Frank de Boer, has improved leaps and bounds – his commanding performance for Ajax week-in and week-out is a testament to that fact. He is also known for his skills with the ball at his feet. He is not your no-nonsense defender, he is a defender who likes to go forward and impose himself as a goal-scoring, and creating, threat.
Adebayor may have had a spell to forget at Manchester City, but he has already proven his goal-scoring ability at Arsenal and at Spurs last season – scoring 18 goals and assisting 12 times in the 32 games he played for the North London Club. That’s directly contributing to 30 goals in just 32 games. He was one of the most crucial reasons to Spurs’ fourth-place finish. His hold-up play and ability to bring his team-mates into the game is going to offer AVB a huge repertoire of tactical ploys to use.
Spurs may as well lose a couple of their crucial players, but Spurs fans can still be sanguine about their team’s top 4 hopes as the money they will get from the sales will surely suffice for them to buy suitable replacements – that is the crux; using the money from the sales.
With the additions of Andre Villas-Boas, Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson, Spurs are looking like a force which can’t be neglected. Doing so would be a mistake. They are still not title-challengers, however, but they definitely have the quality to mount a challenge for the top 4 spots – a top 4 finish, for Spurs fans, would be as pleasant and satisfying as petrichor is for people who live in the deserts.
Watch out, Premier League – take Spurs seriously or else there could be regrets.