Saturday, December 29, 2012

‘Exclusive’: Villas-Boas has 133 games to save his job

There was no malice in Sunderland, but more seasonal joy as Spurs overshadowed the home side at the Stadium of Light to secure a second victory in three days. Temporarily, at least, Tottenham sit in third place and it is fair to say that, despite the misgivings of some mischievous individuals in the national media, Andre Villa-Boas has more than three games to save his job. More like 133.

Stalemates at Villa and Sunderland were viewed by some observers as the roots of last season’s ‘failure’ to secure a Champions League spot. Yet within three days, Spurs have emerged triumphant at both grounds as the players begin to flourish following the AVB blueprint. Since that misleading 2-5 reverse at Arsenal, Spurs have won seven and drawn two of ten games in all competitions. This purple patch was sparked by the return of the talismanic Mousa Dembele who has yet to be on the pitch when Spurs have lost a match.

A recent conversation with a Spurs insider made pleasant and encouraging listening. The Portuguese is an extremely popular figure among the squad and his man management and personal skills seem to have been significantly underestimated. He is also gracious in defeat unlike so many of his Premier League counterparts. The likes of Alan Pardew and Brendan Rodgers do themselves few favours with their post-match justifications. Martin O’Neill’s claim that Spurs had not had many chances was stuck in a odd place between delusion and comedy.

But for some alert goalkeeping and the agonising profligacy of Emmanuel Adebayor, in particular, the outcome would have been decided long before a traditionally edgy five minutes of injury time. Michael Dawson had been slow to react when Sunderland capitalised on some slack defending to take the lead through ‘Peter Kay’ but was a key figure as the Spurs’ backline withstood an inevitable bombardment in the closing stages. O’Neill’s decision to withdraw Sebastian Larsson, one of the best deadball takers in the game, was curious but certainly beneficial to the away cause. In goal, the alertness and handling of Hugo Lloris was, again, exemplary. The Frenchman looks every inch a world class goalkeeper.

The machine-like Sandro bossed the midfield areas, allowing speed demons Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon the freedom to take on the Sunderland rearguard. Lennon has been in sparkling form this season and the record of Spurs never losing a game when he has been on the scoresheet continued. Shortly after half-time, a Carlos Cuellar own goal gave Spurs parity before Lennon delightfully flicked the ball past Kay and Matthew Kilgallon to collect his own pass in the area and coolly shoot Tottenham into a lead they would never relinquish.

Martin Atkinson, who clearly shares an optician with O’Neill, once more found his eyesight under scrutiny. The referee who infamously awarded Chelsea an FA Cup semi-final goal despite the ball not crossing the line became the latest official to book Bale for diving. Instinct and replays suggested that the Welshman had been impeded. The decision was quite ironic given Jermain Defoe’s unconvincing ‘stumble’ in the first half and Stephane Sessegnon spending much of the game lying on the deck with a mouthful of grass. Spurs have yet to ‘earn’ a penalty in the 2012/13 Premier League campaign in stark contrast to rivals Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal who have received more than one gift this season. We’d probably miss it anyway. But under AVB Spurs have ended 2012 firing on all cylinders.

*** A happy and healthy New Year to all readers of this blog. May your hopes and dreams be realised in 2013. We may share one or two of them ;).

11 comments:

simon bradley said...

Great end to the year. Really looking forward to the Reading game.

Happy New year to you and yours LD

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks mate. Very promising signs for 2013 and the future. Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Great take on the game as usual. Very un-Spurs to win this one and at Villa, when everyone expected us to. We have a horrid record lately at the Stadium of light.

Thank you for sharing that inside source's take on AVB. Very happy to hear it.

I wish you and the family a new year as happy as Steffen Freund celebrating an own goal (slightly calmer though).

//jaxonville99

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks Jax. Very unlike Spurs to win these type of games. Especially pleasing from a losing position. The old Spurs might have crumbled. Ha ha. I will be celebrating 2013 in the manner of an own goal loving Steffen Freund! Happy New Year!

wkdalebout said...

If fist pumps indicate anything about coaching quality, AVB is surely among the best. All joking aside, he really seems to be handling things well at the moment and is getting results.

Great post. Keep em' coming!

-Bill

John said...

Happy New Year to you Mark ...and your dad...

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Happy New Year LD,

I, too, was heartened on reading the inside track on AVB. As a personality I like him a great deal and think he comes across very well, in the main.

Each week, win lose or draw, he shows up his media foes (who seem to be engaged in a one-way and self-delusional war of attrition with him).

The cohesion, quality and adventure of play is coming on leaps and bounds too.

I still think it'll take a big effort to finish in a CL spot this season, but feel the next 2-3 years under him will be fruitful. At least he may get a fair crack of the whip.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Bill. Interesting to read that AVB currently has the highest win percentage of Spurs managers since 1908. Long may it continue...

'Lust Doctor' said...

Many thanks, John. Happy New Year to you and the family. Hopefully, Spurs can get us off to a flying start.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Happy New Year, IKAG. I also think qualifying for the CL will be tough this season, but the signs are that we will be competing for a spot in the years to come. It is easy to forget that Spurs were stuck between 9th and 14th for so many Premier League seasons so I appreciate every moment.

Villas for Rent in France said...

I read your whole post and want to say It is really informative thanks for all the effort which you did for us.