Villas Boas showing methods work
Published: 16.10.12 / Written by: David Gold
Andre Villas Boas is illustrating that he is not such a bad manager after all.
Having been written off by those who have a loyalty to the Chelsea players the Portuguese alienated last season, Villas Boas is back. Tottenham are the main beneficiaries of Roman Abramovich's notoriously short patience, it would seem. Unlike Chelsea, they had to pay nothing to install him as their manager, other than his wages.
And they are getting much more from him than Chelsea did. A team more naturally suited to his methods, Tottenham appear to be open and receptive, which must be refreshing after a year at Stamford Bridge for Villas Boas.
Team selections have been bold as well as fair, with Jermain Defoe, Brad Friedel and Steven Caulker winning regular starting spots on form, rather than reputation. Emmanuel Adebayor and Hugo Lloris, two of the big signings, have had to wait.
In midfield, Sandro has emerged as a real force and a star of this new Tottenham team, fitting in well with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Moussa Dembele, a trio which will cause problems for many this season. Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe may not be the biggest front three in the league, but they are certainly one of the most lethal and direct, not to mention pacy.
Questions were asked after a slow start, defeat to Newcastle followed by home draws with Norwich and WBA. But a victory over Queen's Park Rangers after having been behind has sparked the run of four straight wins that has catapulted Tottenham towards the top of the league. With Chelsea far from the finished article, both Manchester sides showing fallibility, they may along with Arsenal make a surprise bid for this season's title. Having mounted a spirited fight for half of last season, Tottenham's title hopes faded, yet with a year's more experience, and the tactical acumen of Villas Boas, this year they may stand a better chance.
Next up is Chelsea. How that will be sweet for Villas Boas if he can lead Tottenham to victory over his old charges. He will understand the weaknesses of Chelsea, but will ironically find himself up against a team who are playing the kind of football he was trying to get them to produce all along. Last year Tottenham outplayed Chelsea for much of the two league games they played, and somehow not beat them on either occasion. This year, they may be able to finally beat their London rivals. Having defeated Manchester United at Old Trafford at last, confidence and belief will flow through White Hart Lane, and the visit of Chelsea will not be timely for the league leaders.They were fortunate to capitalise on two bad Arsenal errors on their last visit to North London, but Spurs may not be as generous as their rivals.
This new team Villas Boas is crafting is all about possession, movement and pace. Similarly to the Porto side he won the treble with, they can overwhelm opponents with this combination, as they did to Manchester United at Old Trafford at the end of last month. It all goes to show what can be done with a bit of patience and faith in a bright young reformer.