After a slow start for Tottenham Hotspur, the team’s manager Andres Villas-Boas showed he can beat a grand team but he also should not get too excited.
The 3-2 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford was historic simply because it was the first one in 23 years, as BBC Sports reports. The Spurs’ problems are not limited to needing another striker because Clint Dempsey is not going to be enough.
Andre Villas-Boas’s attacking style has hardly paid off as the team holds the fifth spot on the Premier League table with six matches and 11 points. The team is not improving in terms of goal possession at all. The Spurs had the ball for longer than their opponent twice so far and even then it was not impressive – 58 percent against Reading (next to the last on the table) and 57 percent against Queens Park Rangers (who are at the bottom). The Spurs had the ball for barely 26 percent when they played Manchester United. Having the ball for a little over 23 minutes out of 90 against a title contender is certainly no reason for positivity at White Hart Lane.
AVB is famous of not worrying about possession and preferring his team to get the ball at the right moment. It is unlikely that a team like Chelsea, whom they play in two weeks, would give them too many of those right moments. The Spurs have the midfielder Villas-Boas needed to fit his style of game but he now lacks the striker.
Clint Dempsey is a striker. His job is primarily to score goals. In three matches, he has done his job once. Villas-Boas like to play wide so his team can give their opponent as little space as possible and pressure them. Dempsey, although a versatile player, does not really have the pace to fit that style. AVB is known to prefer the 4-2-3-1 formation. He is likely to switch to 4-3-3 and have Gareth Bale working together with Dempsey.
The Spurs’ manager may have gotten people off his back but it won’t be long before they resume the criticism if his defense doesn’t improve. After playing a strong first half, allowing an equalizer after a two-goal lead certainly shows shortcomings.
What works well for AVB in White Hart Lane is that the team seems to be united behind the manager. They trust each other. That was missing during his short stay as a manager of Chelsea and eventually led to his sacking as the team was not achieving results and were almost eliminated early on in the Champions League. The team seems to believe in AVB’s plan and system and they would give him the chance and time to show it.
They still need to do better against the better teams in the Premier League who they have yet to face. The win over currently not-at-their-best Man United will certainly give them a confidence boost they have to do better against Chelsea, Manchester City or Arsenal. If not, they will end up no higher than fifth.