Tottenham: Andre Villas-Boas’ dismissal is nonsense

I know the Lilywhites have only managed 15 goals in the Premier League this season. I am also aware that 107 Million Pounds was pumped into player purchases in the summer. But what I don’t know and can’t be convinced about is why Andre Villas Boas was shown the door just four months into a new project. I can never be part of the school of thought who believe that sacking managers midway through an ongoing season is rational. Daniel Levy has once again, made the wrong decision.

It is obvious that loyalty long died in football and what obtains now is instant results or you are thrown out like dirty water, but considering the treatment the Portuguese got in West London, I thought North London would be more lenient and patient. It is a sad development that managers are ever so often relieved of their appointments as soon as one or two negative results surface.

If Arsenal had been so quick to act, Wenger would have long departed the Emirates. The French manager might be the most successful manager in Arsenal’s long and proud history, but he hasn’t won a thing since 2005. In this day and age, that is totally unacceptable. Whatever be the case, he remains manager and for a long time yet.

Sacked again by a London side

AVB probably didn’t help himself with the number of signings he made. A squad revamp most times, does more harm than good initially, but pays off in the end, depending on how fast the new guys clique and bond.

For Spurs, they got the RS9 brand from Valencia, thinking they had secured a great striker whose immediate impact would be felt. It hasn’t gone as planned and that is infuriating. 26 Million Pounds just for scoring penalties is hardly a good investment. However, most of the players the young manager wanted were not pursued as well as the ones who came.

The likes of Leandro Damiao, David Villa and Joao Moutinho were highly sought after by AVB, but Levy couldn’t land any of them and was mulling over a 500,000 Pound(s) difference in the Moutinho transfer saga. The midfield pearl was required to replace Luka Modric. that deal fell through and instead, Dembele was recruited later on. The Belgian is anything but Modric or Moutinho.

Together with Baldini, Villas Boas also brought in the likes of Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and Vlad Chiriches to bolster the squad after the sale of Gareth Bale. They thought, like most of us, that the new boys will help fill the vacuum the Bale transfer had left. So far, it has not been the case. Naturally, the manager is to blame.

Coupled with the inability of the new players to cope with the pace and power of the Premier League, some devastating results have also come Spurs way. A 3-0 loss to toothless, striker-less West Ham was perhaps the most painful. Manchester City robbed salt with a 6-0 demolition of the North Londoners and the last straw was the weekend’s 5-0 humbling by Liverpool in a match that was largely dominated by a side that hadn’t won there since 2008.

Even Jon Flanagan was having a field day against overrated England right back, Kyle Walker. Paulinho’s rash and idiotic challenge on Luis Suarez was even more crushing than the defeat itself and it left the manager wondering what next.

The Brazilian midfielder might need a break as he has been playing competitive football since the turn of the year with Corinthians, Brazil and now Spurs. AVB didn’t see the need to rest him as he plays in every competition because of his reliability and strength.


Shocking Decision

All said and done, the news of AVB’s departure was shocking, considering the fact that he lies just five points behind 4th place with another 22 matches to play. Spurs may be 7th now, but there’s room for improvement and Sunday’s 5-0 loss was largely because of a makeshift defence that had Naughton at leftback and Capoue in the centre.

With Vertonghen and Kaboul on the sidelines, there’s little or nothing the manager could do. Sandro also had to leave the fray in the first half and that weakened the midfield. All these may be seen as flimsy excuses, but they are not. If the transfer kitty was in the excess of 107 million and many players came in, then enough time should have been given to the coach to find the right balance and team. We are only in December for crying the bucket.

Only 19 months into a 3 year contract with a bright future ahead of the dude and the team and he has been sent away. Not a good sign for whoever is going to replace him. I hear names like Murat Yakin, Mauricio Pochettino who will take some convincing, not only because it depends on him alone.

Southampton Chairman, Nicola Cortese is an ambitious man and will certainly put up a fight. Fabio Capello has thrown his hat in the ring too because of his friendship with DOF, Franco Baldini. Guus Hiddink takes over from LVG after the World Cup, so he’s ruled out. Interim manager, Tim Sherwood, also has a chance to be considered on a permanent basis. Swansea’s Micheal Laudrup is also among the possibilities being looked out. That is likely to happen.



The question Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy should ask themselves is- What is the guarantee that the new manager will find the balance between now and the end of the season? How many available managers can achieve the goal of reaching the Champions League with the present crop of players? Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton will take some stopping this season and relieving AVB of his duties will not change anything.

I can’t remember the last time TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR sacked a manger when above MANCHESTER UNITED on the table. That and a lot of things best explain why Levy and Lewis have made probably the worst decision. Managers should be given more time. Boards should take a cue from Manchester United and Arsenal. Success isn’t easy to achieve. it takes some people a longer time, others, shorter and short lived at the same time. Stability is a prerequisite for success.

For Andre Villas-Boas, it is a case of what next for the rather unfortunate guy. London seems to be a nightmare place for him in just two years. Awful and a big slight on his young and growing managerial resume. It has been rumoured that Valencia may be his next port of call after Miroslav Djukic suffered the same fate at the weekend. Whatever happens, he wouldn’t set foot on English soil for the foreseeable future



Written by Ohireime Eboreime

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Tottenham: Could the lack of strikers available ruin AVB’s renaissance

One of the more pleasing stories of this season is the developing success of Andre-Villas Boas at Tottenham upon his return to English football after a disastrous spell at Chelsea.

The likeable Portuguese has been his stylish, calm and cheerful self as he has guided Spurs to fourth place after 23 games, four points behind his former club and four points ahead of bitter north London rivals Arsenal as the race for the promised land of the Champions League begins to heat up.

Villas-Boas was his stylish, calm and cheerful self at Elland Road on Sunday as he witnessed his side go out of the FA Cup to Leeds. He stood typically relaxed for the most-part, right up until John Obika’s glaring miss in the dying minutes which, with the score line at 2-1, ensured a replay eclipsed the Londoners to which Villas-Boas reacted to with a fit of frustration.

The coach, characteristically media friendly, managed to simmer down in time for the post-match interview where he coolly denied the need for Spurs to enter the transfer market for a striker.

The 22 year old Obika, whose only previous experience in a Spurs shirt was a fifteen minute cameo in a League Cup tie at Carlisle back in September, was only called upon for the last half hour at Leeds as Villas-Boas finds his attacking unit stripped to the bare bones.

With Jermain Defoe rested and Emmanuel Adebayor permitted to play with Togo at the African Cup of Nations, Spurs started their fourth round tie with Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson, both attacking midfielders by trade, as centre-forwards. What followed was a limp display which Leeds exposed with some heavy pressing and quick-counter attacking.

When queried about his dearth of strikers however, Villas-Boas remained defiant, “we are happy with what we have, but injuries have put us in a difficult place” he said, “it’s a risk we are willing to take”.

This was bizarre when it is considered Defoe, Spurs’ top scorer this season with 16, has been battling with a pelvic injury in the last couple of weeks and had been due to miss last week’s draw with Manchester United until he declared his desire to play.

There is a growing concern that Defoe will eventually need an injection to get over the pain, highlighting the folly of a refusal to enter the market as it counts down to its Thursday deadline.

Defoe.... Tottenham's top scorer this season.

Defoe…. Tottenham’s top scorer this season.

Adebayor is hardly proving an able deputy with a return of just 3 goals in 18 appearances after Villas-Boas initially appeared reluctant to sign him back in the summer. The duo have just one goal each in their last eight games as they become increasingly reliant on Gareth Bale to fire them along.

The talented left-winger has eleven goals for the campaign and provided at Elland Road for Dempsey, who now has eight. Underneath those two in the White Hart Lane goal-scoring charts lie Adebayor and Sigurdsson, the latter has just two.

It is a similar position to that of Chelsea who also only possess two strikers, yet in support of them they have Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Frank Lampard and Oscar who have accounted for a combined total of 41 goals this season at Stamford Bridge.

How Villas-Boas must cast envious glances towards his old employers, or even Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City who have all tallied more than Spurs this season and are all littered with goalscoring threats.

With the likely prospect of Adebayor returning to the international scene to play for Togo in South Africa, it did not take a great deal of foresight to predict that Spurs would have been left short up-front for this month, however despite an increasingly obvious need for address, especially palpable as they drew a blank at bottom club QPR, they have only delved into the winter market to sign left-back Ezekiel Fryers from Standard Liege and Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby for reduced fees.

Interest in Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo has been mentioned but it does seem as if Villas-Boas was being honest as he stood in the tunnel at Leeds and Spurs will see out the last days of the transfer window without signing the forward they seem to require.

Problems in attack hasn’t seemed to stall momentum too much as Spurs have lost just one in their last twelve league games while Defoe will be back to take the field against Norwich on Tuesday night.

But there has to be a great deal of concern in the way Spurs seem willing to gamble with their top scorer against the threat if his underlying injury purely because they have no other choice, it is something a team harbouring true aspirations of top four finish would not usually do and Villas-Boas may end up finding that out the hard way.


Written by Adam Gray

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