HomeFeatured ArticlesTottenham Hotspur: Their Season So Far | Stats

Tottenham Hotspur: Their Season So Far | Stats

As we begin 2014 Tottenham have already had an eventful season, unfortunately for their fans most of it has happened off the pitch.

Another change of manager, the seventh since the turn of the century, has seen Tim Sherwood promoted to the first team after a successful spell as Under-19 manager. Firstly though, we’ll have a look at the shortcomings of Andre Villas-Boas, which led to his dismissal despite having the best record by any Tottenham manager in the Premier League era – a win rate of 55%.


Uncontrolled Expectations

After a summer transfer window that saw claims that Tottenham were in the frame to challenge for the title, despite the sale of Gareth Bale, the expectations were always going to haunt AVB to some level this season. The additions, a number of who arrived after the season had started, of players from 6 different countries was always going to be problematic both from a cultural and playing aspect, as time would be needed for the new players to adapt and gel to the Premier League and their new team mates; so a slow and underwhelming start, despite good results, was always on the cards.

Problems with the Press

The tabloid press have often been referred to as Harry Redknapp’s mates, but Villas Boas’ frosty relationship with the press left him an isolated man near the end of his tenure. The cause of the increased scrutiny came earlier in the season when Hugo Lloris suffered a knock to the head at Goodison Park and against the recommendations of the medical staff AVB decided to keep Lloris on the pitch. The comments made afterwards were just another shot in the foot by Villas-Boas after criticising the fans for a lack of atmosphere after the difficult 1-0 victory over Hull City.

“A couple of people insult my integrity, my human values, my professionalism … insult the success that I have achieved in other clubs and I don’t think it’s fair. I think it’s a lack of respect and an attack on a person’s integrity.” – Andre Villas-Boas after their 2-2 draw against Manchester United.

A public spat with Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail in a post-match press conference, after the journalist wrote a column the previous week, saw Villas-Boas become frustrated and demanding respect – the final nails knocked into the coffin.

Attacking Problems

The lack of goals has been troubling Tottenham all season as they have continuously struggled to break teams down – a problem that was present near the end of last season was papered over by the brilliance of Gareth Bale. 24 goals scored in the league after 20 games is not the record you expect of a team with aspirations at the top of the league, but 9 of those have come in the last 4 games since, coincidentally, Villas Boas was sacked. With a goal conversion rate of 10%, up from 4% in November,  improvements are taking place as Soldado is looking more comfortable in the team and Sherwood sets up with more attacking line-ups – the formation at Southampton could have been seen as 4-0-6 with Eriksen being employed as a centre midfielder.

The slow build up play allowed teams to sit deep and defend with ease to prevent clear cut chances in the box meaning Tottenham attempted shots from long range on a consistent basis – look at how many goals Bale scored from outside of the box – unfortunately for Spurs though, the highest shot-taker from the wing this season has been Andros Townsend.

The return of Adebayor

The return of Adebayor has seen an upturn in the attacking performances of Tottenham, but whether it will be seen as an inspired decision to involve the Togolese striker will tell at the end of the season. Everyone knows the quality of performances Adebayor can produce – it is a reason why Manchester City paid £25 million for him – the problem is his attitude when he has nothing to prove, a reason why he dropped out of contention under AVB.  He does offer a better option than Defoe, however, being able come deeper and offering a creative edge that will help Soldado reach the heights that were expected of him. Since his return, Adebayor has scored 3 goals in 4 games and created 8 chances with 1 resulting in an assist.

Adebayor's return

Tim Sherwood

Finally onto Tim Sherwood’s appointment as first team coach and there is reason for Spurs to be worried. The results since his arrival have been good, 3 victories and a draw in the league, but in the cup competitions defeats to a poor West Ham side and Arsenal have raised concerns – the derby defeat most of all. Playing the same tactic and formation, a 4-4-2, in all of his matches in charge, Sherwood will need to learn to be able to adapt to the opposition to be competitive; playing 2 centre midfielders – one making the first start of his professional career – was never going to work against a 3-man Arsenal midfield who have given the majority of the Premier League nightmares this season as they get through with ease. This tactical naivety could haunt Tottenham during the bigger games – they were fortunate Manchester United are currently so poor in this area – left in the rest of the season and defeats in these will likely see the North London team, yet again, fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Halfway Grade Mark – C

The decision to give up on the ‘project’ that was mentioned at the time of Villas-Boas’ arrival, after only 18 months, due to teething problems could cost the future aspirations for Spurs as the makeover is currently taking place at the top of league with last summer’s large amount of change. This season will likely continue in the same manner and the meaning of ‘The Tottenham Way’ mentioned by fans is finally evident – build up the hope of fans, before cruelly snatching the hope away and finishing outside of the top 4.

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