After a matter of forty matches and nine months in charge of his previous club, Chelsea, Andre Villas-Boas was replaced at Stamford Bridge and into the new season he’s found himself back in London, this time coaching Tottenham Hotspur following the successful reign of Harry Redknapp.
AVB attempted to revolutionise Chelsea when he was at the Bridge by flogging some old and dead wood which wasn’t roundly well received by the players and supporters in West London. It seems that the Portuguese manager who achieved a treble for Porto a mere two seasons ago has reverted to his old tactics now he’s switched the Bridge for the Lane.
With his first departure made for himself in Ledley King’s replacement but the first team exodus was ready to begin when Villas-Boas was announced as manager on July 12th. Pienaar, Bassong, Modric, Van Der Vaart and Dos Santos all left the Spurs lodge throughout his reign whilst he was quick to replace the departed with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Moussa Dembele, Hugo Lloris and Clint Dempsey whilst re-signing the loanee Emmanuel Adebayor.
A loss away at St. James’ Park followed by two disappointing draws at White Hart Lane to both West Brom and Norwich have hardly allowed AVB a smooth re-birth into the Premier League following a torrid first crack with Chelsea.
In a recent interview with Benoit Assou-Ekotto in The Sun, he described AVB as “an okay manager”, highlighting that he hasn’t really set the world alight even with his new playing staff.
Villas-Boas continuing trend of ejecting familiar faces, instead of attempting to create a slow revolution at these clubs, AVB on both counts has tried to achieve an overnight success with what he believes is his own collection of players. Both Chelsea and Tottenham have been successful in the past so why does Villas-Boas constantly feel the need to make wholesale changes?
Spurs equalled their best finish in a Premier League and their best finish in the top flight since 1990 last season whilst Villas-Boas effectively sunk Chelsea down to sixth place last season whilst they had recorded top two finishes in seven of the past eight seasons before his calamitous reign.
The long standing feuds with Alex, Nicholas Anelka and especially the well documented feud with Frank Lampard didn’t stand AVB in good stead for a good career in West London after repeatedly leaving his star player in Lampard warming his seat on the bench for large periods of the season.
Yes, the 60 million spent by AVB at Chelsea is eclipsed by Roberto di Matteo’s spending this summer for the primary reason of Chelsea’s recovery from di Matteo’s predecessor. However on the face of it, the signings of Oriol Romeu, Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata, Raul Meireles and Gary Cahill looked to be successful in the opening season, only for two of those (Lukaku and Meireles) to have moved on in di Matteo’s reign.
The signings made by Di Matteo, especially Eden Hazard, have proven an instant success with the likes of Oscar, Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses still awaiting their chance to perform for Chelsea.
Whilst AVB makes wholesale changes you can’t fault the players he’s brought into both Spurs and Chelsea. One niggling doubt at the back of Spurs’ fans mind and that will be his negotiating skills as they weren’t able to bring Joao Moutinho to White Hart Lane despite his close friendship with the manager in the proposed 22 million pound deal on the transfer deadline day.
What is left in store for AVB’s Tottenham career? Will he be able to overcome to blip and survive longer than his previous nine-month tenure in London?