Tottenham qualified for the next round of the Europa League after finishing second in their group, remaining undefeated in the competition so far. The side have also continued to build upon this momentum, cementing three consecutive Premier League victories to climb to fourth in the table.
The 1-0 home defeat to Wigan was certainly a notable low, for example. But was it as bad as originally felt?
Last season Harry Redknapp managed to do the double over Wigan. But the current QPR manager failed to beat Norwich at home, losing the game 2-1. Considering the run of results which followed for Chris Hughton’s side, including a 1-0 home victory to the current Premier League leaders Manchester United, it shows the quality in the Norwich side.
It’s obvious that so far this season Albion have been a surprise package. Clarke’s side are currently fifth in the Premier League, following home victories to Sunderland and Chelsea. So reflecting back on this result, this also looks like it could be one point gained rather than two points lost.
But the main focal point for Tottenham fans would be the late goals which they continue to concede. Tottenham have conceded goals in the last 15 minutes of a game in ten Premier League games this season, costing the side 11 points so far.
However, when focusing on the changes from last season’s team to the current Tottenham squad, the obvious defensive mistakes and lack of fluidity are perhaps to be expected.
Last season at this stage, Tottenham conceded 18 goals in contrast to 23 goals this season. However, the back four from last season is almost incomparable. Kyle Walker has been the only recognisable face for Tottenham, with Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, William Gallas and Steven Caulker filling the holes left by Redknapp’s former squad.
As well as this, the side scored 31 goals last season, a small difference in comparison to the current 28. But yet again the midfield and attack is almost entirely different. With Luka Modric, Rafael Van der Vaart and Scott Parker not featuring in Villas-Boas’ team due to moving onto new clubs, or injury for Parker, only Lennon and Bale have been the recurrent faces linking the two teams. As well as this, Jermain Defoe has been preferred ahead of Adebayor, and has thanked his manager in return for doing so. The Englishman has scored 9 goals and assisted 2 in 14 starts for Tottenham this season.
This contrast in attackers has been hugely successful for AVB so far. The Portuguese manager has fielded Defoe 14 times, already three more times than Redknapp in the whole of last season.
Realistically, with the club selling arguably their two best players in Rafael Van der Vaart and Luka Modric, the club have been forced to adapt to a transition period. Thus, the change in manager has allowed the team to be rebuilt with heavy investment – Dembele being the pick of the buys.
However, with Walker, Bale and Lennon being the only regulars from Redknapp’s reign and staying key players under Villas-Boas, his work is undeniably successful.
As the team looks to cement their status as a top-four club, and Villas-Boas looking to make his mark on English football, the side look very close to re-establishing the world-class form which was displayed last season.
So overall, with a little investment from the board to buy Joao Moutinho whom Villas-Boas wants to claim desperately, this managerial gamble could be a smart-move for chairman Daniel Levy if the North London side continue to build on their early season form.
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