Saturday, 25 August 2012

"Spur"ring on AVB


Andre-Vilas Boas. So appropriate that a man whose acronym is “AVB” has been placed in charge of a club whose condition is AVB- Already Very Bad. Tottenham Hostspur went from being title contenders in December, to playing Europa League in May. And they did it quite effortlessly. And the quintessence of that effortless free-fall seems to have been retained in its entirety, as they look set to embark on a campaign with no good defenders, no good mid-fielders and no strikers (good or otherwise).

So how did it all go wrong? Well, logic and rationality would suggest it should never have gone right in the first place. Harry Redknapp placed little faith on any of his existing players (especially his strikers), signing players by the dozen on loan. Not to mention all the dough he washed away on sub-par players like Ryan Nelsen and Roman Pavlyuchecko. These players, he evidently didn’t realize, would either ultimately return to their parent clubs (ala Adebayor) or would end up retired or in another wastrel joint poised for ruin (ala Ryan Nelsen at QPR). The players who would then finally remain at Spurs were the ones who were never played (ala Jermain Defoe).

Now this had never been a problem previously with Harry. He’d just mosey on up to Levy and ask for more dough. Sadly for him though, there was no more dough. And he had to go. (See what I did there?) Harry Redknapp’s sacking was a self-inflicted nail in an already bolted coffin. Now whoever took up the mantle next would have the astronomical task of getting new players in, handling Luka Modric’s time of the (transfer) month and convincing Ledley King not to retire since they can barely defend even with him in the team.

This unenviable chore fell to the beard-endowed, raspy-voiced Bradley Cooper look-alike Andre-Vilas Boas. Much like Bradley, AVB has a pretty bad “Hangover” now trying to deal with aftermath of Redknapp. Not only did they lose Ledley King (arguably their ONLY proper centre back), they couldn’t get back Adebayor, they’re set to lose Luka Modric and they still have William Gallas. All ingredients in a delectable recipe for seventh place. They signed Sigurdsson and Vertonghen. Now they want Sahin. Unfortunately AVB, he’s just not that into you. (See what I did again?)

Jan Vertonghen’s a solid player. So is Gylfi Sigurdsson. But in my mind both are more suited to a team which can pass the ball. Ajax do it very well in the Eridivisie and Arsenal (Yes, Arsenal fans- don’t groan. He just wasn’t that into you) and Swansea did it best last season in the Premier League. I’m not sure this Spurs side with Sandro, Livermore, Gallas (Yes, they still play him. I don’t get it either) and Defoe down the spine can play that kind of game. It’s a bit like when AVB tried to make Terry, Lampard and Drogba play that way. Poor lad was under the impression they had talent.

The more pressing issue is the transparent lack of an attack. Jermain Defoe is Spurs’ only known striker and I suppose there is some merit to the argument that he wasn’t given much of a chance under Harry. Now with due respect to Jermain, there was a reason for that. In fact, multiple reasons. He’s injury-prone, he’s inconsistent and he contributes in no way to the team other than by scoring goals. He’s like a less productive Darren Bent. One need only ponder how productive Darren Bent is to see why Spurs have a problem here. They simply must sign a striker. I hear Man United are having a garage-sale, maybe go back for their former star Dimitar?

There are some positives though. They managed to get Gareth Bale to sign an extension on his contract. Maybe they could use whatever they used on him on Modric? And Sahin maybe? It might not be a bad option. It might well be the only option. Either way, the Spurs side that played Newcastle on opening day are not a side that can finish in the top 4. That’s about as likely as a manager lasting more than 2 years at Chelsea. Or any game being played for the correct amount of added time at Old Trafford. Or Stewart Downing contributing in any positive way to anything Liverpool do (Wait, no. That’s far less likely. Sorry, Spurs fans). This might well be AVB’s last chance to shine in this League so let’s hope he won’t be ruing another “Spur”ned opportunity. 

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