The Long Dark Night of AVB’s Soul

The dank days and chilly evenings of winter are already with us but right now there is nowhere colder than the chilled marrow of Andre Villas-Boas’s bones. The clocks have long since gone back but for him the long dark night of the soul is fast approaching.

The six goal shambles of defeat against Manchester City violently sucked all meaning and purpose not just from shell-shocked, traumatised players but from everything our manager holds dear. Shape, tactics, motivation, the principles of team-work, the very existence of AVB’s Spurs rendered meaningless and empty. We thought there were solid foundations even if we have not been playing well. In reality, nothing beneath our feet except fresh air. The players had no idea what they were supposed to be doing and neither did their boss.

It started badly, could not have started worse even by Tottenham standards. We kicked off, they scored after 14 seconds. Barely possible but the laws of time and motion shifted just enough for Lloris to fluff a clearance under no pressure, short and straight to an opponent. He saved the shot but Navas curled in the rebound. From then on, the collapse continued, unhindered and without boundaries, the team imploding on itself until like a burnt out star in a far-off galaxy, our performance became a pinprick of the most dense and unresponsive matter in the universe.

The defining period of AVB’s reign has begun. Successive matches versus the Manchester giants were never likely to be profitable but the manner in which he deals with the games between now and the New Year will dictate the outcome of Tottenham’s season and beyond. His methods, challenged by our weakness in attack, will have to withstand the battering of outraged fans and sections of the braying media scenting blood. That’s not to mention the questioning looks from his players.

Faced with massive problems, players and manager seemed incapable of an adequate response. I’m not talking about the subs – the game was lost by the time they appeared – but a fatal lack of recognition that there were any problems. The midfield, flaccid and incoherent from first to last, offered no protection to the back four save for a couple of Sandro tackles. City like to get the ball wide – in Navas they play a genuine winger. yet it never for a moment occurred to anyone to drop back to protect our full-backs. As a result City took full advantage of the wide-open plains down our flanks like lions hunting antelope in the Serengeti.

Many of us want to see Lamela given a chance. Today we saw why Villas-Boas has been cautious. While his free role gave him scope to cut in and appear in unexpected positions, his team-mates did not know what to expect either. He watched and reacted too late when City created a two on one down our left and the cross was turned in. Welcome to the Premier League.

On Sky Hoddle was banging on about shutting the front door, meaning Kaboul should have dropped a yard closer to the six yard box at the near post, but that was shutting the door, front or back, after the horse has bolted. You have to cover – Lennon wasn’t much more use on the other side – and you have to keep the ball. Yet time and again we gave it away, most dangerously when the side had shifted into positions to mount an attack thus leaving us bare and exposed. City took full advantage, with Lloris, our best player this season by far, again the culprit. It wasn’t as if City were playing particularly well. They didn’t have to.

This blog tries to be fair, balanced and consistent. Annoying I know but it’s how I am and as I approach my sixties I’m too old change. So let’s be fair – I was happy with this starting line-up. Lennon for Townsend was brave, given the furore around Andros’s England performances, but the right choice. I was pleased to see Lamela – we have to give him a chance. I would have preferred both Holtby and Dembele, the latter in the advanced midfield role that suits him best, so that leaves only one wide man because City are so strong in midfield. Kaboul back, definitely, and Sandro of course. But not so different from AVB’s choice.

It’s what they did that was so poor. Wandering wide men gave the flanks no protection. Paulinho and Holtby were too far forward too often. Neither contributed a thing to this match. Paulinho’s starting position should have been deeper. You have to defend against City by denying them space and he’s able to get forward when the moment is right. He and Sandro could make a fine partnership but he was too far forward. If he stays back, there’s time and manpower to move across and cover, i.e. to provide the very platform that Lamela and Lennon need to be at their best.

Fact is, he is knackered and bewildered, worn out after his exertions coming straight to the under pressure Tottenham midfield after the Confederations Cup. He needs a rest. Send him back to Brazil for a couple of weeks, he’s no use to us now and we’ll need him fresh in the New Year.

Soldado got barely a sniff. It seemed to me that in the few moments in the first half when we approximated a football team he was moving more, both deeper and laterally. Or maybe that was hope playing tricks on my eyes. He depends on being the given the ball. If AVB is trying to find the right formation for him and the team, that is worthy of some patience. What worries me is something worse, that he sanctioned the purchase in the conviction that he knew how to play to his strengths and that what we have seen so far this season is the failure of that plan. Which begs the question, what the hell is he going to do now? And that’s why I’m worried, not just a striker failing to spark but a squad composed of players who do not do the job they were bought to do.

And so to the back four. Kaboul, my first choice but rusty. Dawson a fine warrior but all at sea today. Stranded in midfield for City’s fourth goal as a simple one two with a runner from midfield took him out of the game, worse was to come when he simply left his man unmarked. Standing near him, he did nothing. Vertonghen, unhinged by what was going on around him, nearly got himself sent off for a reckless sliding challenge. His mind was gone long before his weak and inept challenge let Navas in for the sixth. Was it just the defeat playing on his mind, as he’s a serious, proud professional, or was he wondering why the best centre half in the Premier League is playing at full-back?

George Graham’s classic drill for the back four was to get them to imagine they were tied together by a piece of rope. In Spurs’ case, it’s elastic. They wandered as if strangers on a ramble, occasionally surprised but pleased as they bumped into each other, but mostly going their own sweet way. Negredo and the fabulously lethal Aguerro don’t need the help we gave them but they revelled in the gaps between our defenders.

I have no desire to kick a man when he’s down but this was AVB’s worst effort as manager. City have a four man midfield and yet we allowed them to outnumber us and paid dearly for the consequences. My sympathy to the loyal Spurs who went that far for this stinking detritus, and if it is any consolation we could hear you singing loud and clear until the end.

If things could possibly be worse, consider one final thought. Last season, Villas-Boas succeeded in getting his message and methods through to the players. Motivation has been good, team-spirit similarly. That will be called in question after this, not just by fans or media but inside the club itself. Heads went down. I’ve already mentioned how the players did not know how to react. This is why this defeat will gnaw away at confidence and belief. Like I said, tonight will be a long dark night for our Andre.

61 thoughts on “The Long Dark Night of AVB’s Soul

  1. i agree, we really need to find some better ways of scoruing but today our back 4 was like the back 2 and even with the fullbacks so far up we somehow still got trounced in midfield, AVB is a good manager but he needs to stop being so stubborn with his methods. Its broke, so fix it

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    • Hold your deep breath spuddiest. I think your lovely white axx team will spend entire season only to gel for each other. This is the logical consequences of overhauling your regular basis, and so this defeated might not be the last for you.
      Since AVB seemed didn’t know how to make full use of Ade, here a secret recipe for him that we often feeded at Arsenal: 1% sugar,1% fat,10% alcohol, and 88% bananas. O, and don’t forget to feed him some fresh leaves as appetizer. Guarantee you Daniel Levy won’t regret any ex-Arsenal scum he was bought in . Long live for white dead pale out fit, bastards.

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      • Thats what happens when they closed the mental institutions. Some sick bastards like you are free to be a danger to society.
        Take your medication and calm down you thick shit racist bastardo.

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      • All the effort I put into writing this blog, you’d think even the racists would have the decency to be coherent. You do your club a great disservice, sir, they like this blog and Spurs fans fight against racists, so you have no place to go.

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  2. It was just waiting to happen, you can stop goals but you also have to score them, i am sorry but AVB seems content on a system that doesn`t work here, not only the system but the players are unsure as well. Back to the drawing board for AVB because if this continues then he may well be gone by Christmas. We have wide players to attack, two forwards and attacking full backs, its all there just waiting for the right tactics, i just hope that AVB can admit defeat and change to something that does work

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  3. Well written and I am afraid your conclusion is all too true. There had better be some real soul-searching on the part of AVB to figure out the right system for the group of players that we have because right now his preferred 4-2-3-1 is not suiting the current squad. I believe he has to go back to a 4-4-2 formation (which both Liverpool and Man City by the way have been very successful with this season). Most importantly he needs to re-instill belief in his players and make them come together as a team again and that he knows the path forward to get back to winning ways. Right now the edifice is crumbling. Does he have the chops to set it right again? Will his players have the belief in him to set things right? The string of games between now and year-end will say a lot about the character of this coach and this squad of players. It’s all too easy for a season to unravel after a string of performances such as this. Let’s hope it does not come to that. Otherwise, Daniel Levy will have no option but to consider a change in the managerial ranks in the new year, at which point we can kiss the season and perhaps this current-look 100 million squad goodbye.

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    • Thanks. I think it is less the 4-2-3-1, which he has varied lately, and more the idea of playing two wingers both of whom come inside. Too many providers, no one to give it to. Plus playing men out of position, which I have been saying for several weeks.

      Cheers, Alan

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  4. 1. I’m sick of people saying Soldado ‘doesn’t get the service’. He has had service and he has had chances. But the guy is too slow for the prem, he bottles every challenge, and is about as lethal as a vampire without fangs!

    2. What club in Europe smashes their transfer record & spends £30m on a player who might come good in 18months? Lamella is a joke, a million miles from being in the prem, a poor mans David Bentley! Levy is now so obsessed with the fee he got for Bale he thinks he can run the club by getting monster fees like he has done in recent years with Berbatov & Modric. He thinks Lamellar will become a world beater and sell him in 3 years for £100m. If we tried to sell him tnrw we wouldn’t get £15m for him.

    3. AVB – when you buy Capoue, Paulinho, Dembele, to go with Sandro, you effectively have 4 players who are carbon copies of each other – can hold, can win the ball, but have about as much creativity in them as Parker had with a bag on his head. Appalling midfield balance. Your tactical buying strategy is ludicrous.

    4. We’re still in a false position at 9th. We must not forget we’ve had 3 wins with 3 dodgy undeserved penalty and 94th minute winner against Cardiff. That’s extra 12pts that now make AVB look average at best. He should be lower and exposed for why he is – a Mourinho wannabe with a fraction of the talent or charisma.

    5. And finally, AVB will be sacked in the summer.

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    • I am no apologist for AVB and my faith in him has sorely been tested this season. And yes, I do think that Bale bailed him out last season. But let’s go over your points one by one:

      1. Excuse me but what service did Soldado get in today’s game, except for a single cross from Walker in the first half that had some potential? In fact you can count the number of crosses that he has received from our wingers or from the midfield on two hands in the past 12 PL games.
      2. I think Lamela has the ability and talent to succeed in the PL. What he doesn’t have is the upper body strength and stamina at the moment (which can be developed), nor does he have a good understanding of his role and positional play in the team, because AVB does not know what is the best system right now suited for his current squad of players. (I do agree that he and Baldini have misspent over the summer, to your point).
      3. I agree with regards to Sandro/Capoue/Paulinho but not with regards to Dembele, who has the dribbling guile to be a lot more attacking in his play and the ability to link up with the forward players but he has been out of sorts this season and again I pin that to a lack of understanding of his role.
      4. What we did seem to have earlier in the season is a strong back line with holding midfield players that made it a lot harder for opponents to score on us (7/11 clean sheets and 1-0 losses in 3 of the other games and the 3 conceded against West Ham in one game). So while I somewhat agree with the point you are making, we could still bank on a solid defensive performance to earn points and grind out results. The loss to West Ham at home and certainly the loss to Man City in the manner that we have lost starts to question that defensive solidity.
      5. I think AVB will be sacked a lot sooner if he does not turn things around between now and year-end.

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    • For every Bale, Berbatov we buy – we buy a Bentley, Hutton and a Lamela (he is a dud). If you play 1 out and out striker especially at home – we don’t deserve anything. AVB has no plan B and is proving to be tactically inept. What’s the point of Dembele? We will be lucky if we get double figures from midfield all season.

      As mentioned above, history tell you the levy will get rid of him if no CL. Man U will prove too good for us and Fulham will start their revival against us if we don’t play 4-4-2. I would like to see Vlad and Jan play together as centre backs. Dawson not good enough for me.

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    • Soldado doesn’t get the quantity or type of passes he thrived on in Spain.

      Paying that cash on Lamela is a risk but will pay off if he is given the time to blossom. This was never a short-term plan – he needs time and we should be patient.

      We need midfield strength in depth to have a go at 4 competitions. To my mind Dembele and Paulinho different styles, and different from the other two.

      Holding midfielders were needed away at City. Different formations and emphasis in other games. Hence the choice.

      Regards, Alan

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  5. Spurs moved quickly to hire Harry in 2008, to replace Ramos.
    They need to take decisive action again, finding someone who can organise and motivate a pretty talented squad, and with perhaps a couple of signings in January in priority positions.

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  6. Today has been coming for sometime , I am now worried that vertonghen might do the off at christmas , and that will leave us with 3 centre backs one of which is Dawson who is miles too slow and has been left for dead a few times tis season

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  7. just goes to show what the tactics are, the ball goes all the way back to the keeper from the kick off! The players are getting fed up with getting all the stick from AVB/s poor tactics, i think like me they have had enough of him.Levy must take the blame,this all started with Bales departure, as soon as the real rumours started he said nothing, just let the manager hang. Then we got the “bale wanted to go” line, what about suarez and rooney, well, their clubs held onto them! Lewis & levy couldn’t wait to get their grubby little hands on the money and all you lot were fooled because they spent big on a lot of average players to replace a superstar. Jamie Redknapp was right we are just a selling club! Its not just AVB that should go but the reluctant billionaire as well!
    WE the long suffering fans are the one’s that are humiliated, not the shit on the field, we are the one’s that have to suffer.Is there any wonder we are short on patience get rid of the fucking lot including that useless little cunt levy!!!!!!!

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    • Is AVB a good manager??? i am not convinced one bit..We will be playing millwall next season at this rate..Terrible performance and it was AVB at fault,,The wheels have come off and its been plain to see from the very start of the season.

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    • AVB over-achieved last season, without Levy’s backing. This time, Levy supported him so it’s down to the manager. It’s not working at the moment but the purchases are for the emdium to long term, mostly younger men on the up. need time to gel. AVB has chosen the wrong set-up. If Levy sacks him now, he should be ashamed of himself and his poor judgement.

      Regards, Alan

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  8. Ronny your bang on about Levy 1 Fucking trophy on his watch and don’t get me going about the new stadium how many more years we gotta wait for that to be built

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  9. Without incredibly accurate passing the High line is a suicidal killer.
    We have felt its wrath.
    One bad pass offers gold to players that have any sense of space as the high line negates serious marking.
    Maybe it works in Portugal but it doesnt work in the PL where strong defences and the counter are historically a serious part of a game.
    It seems AVB has one idea.That makes him an ideologue and I thought he was a thinker

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    • Nicely put. It might work if we had a quicker centre back pairing and full-backs who were more alert. And to be fair, I don’t like it for exactly the reason you name, it only takes a single pass to undo 90 minutes hard work, but it has worked so far this season. Back four all over the place.

      Regards, Alan

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  10. Please do not be too hard on AVB. I enjoyed wonderful entertainment, watching the six goals go in, and it’s entertainment that really matters most. I am sure that without AVB’s input, the game would have seen fewer goals and would have been less of a succulent Sunday goal-feast for the millions watching live on worldwide television. The success of the Premier League relies on good humiliations like this to put smiles on viewers’ faces. AVB has done the game a lot of good by helping to provide such glee and mirth to an international audience. Long may he remain as Tottenham manager!

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  11. I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up in the morning and find that AVB has been given the boot. My main gripe is levy, he constantly under minds the managers we have that do well I.e. Redcrapp (I hate redcrapp and his son) big boy jol etc and then sacks them and replaces them with inept fools. The buck starts and stops with levy, he IS responsible at the end of the day so he needs to be held to account.
    What a waste of money… What a sad lot to replace a good first 11 with.

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  12. I think your article was fair, AVB needs to take this team back to basic, boss the middle, old fashion wingers whose one objective for 90 minutes is to get to the byeline and cross it into the box where at least 2 strikers are waiting backed up by a active midfield. We have the pace, the skill but lack the resilience and do or die fighting spirt of the true fighting cockerel. Sorry but Daw’s is too slow and needs to step down and let someone else boss the back line. We have a great shot stopper. We have all the elements of a winning team if played in the right position. We need the Perryman fighting spirit, the Martin Chivers strength up front, the deft touch of Alan Gilzean, the passing of Glen Hoddle, the dominance in our 6 yard box of Pat Jennings and the goal scoring power of Jimmy Greaves. Simple lol, showing my age I think, a Spurs fan from “61”
    COYS

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  13. The ‘immovable object’ has finally given up the ghost.
    Torn apart by the ‘irresistible’ force which was City!
    It was only a matter of time. The DMs and defenders in our top heavy and unbalanced team can only keep out goals for so long. Ultimately, them not seeing goals scored at the other end, or even meaningful chances being created, has sucked the confidence out of them. A powerhouse defensive midfield and so-called reinforced defense (as I’ve been saying since the season started) has never been the answer to our real problem of replacing Modric and Bale. The signs were there against Arsenal, even ..boring other sides to death since, who soak up everything we throw at them i(n slow motion) then cut us with quick counters. Them, and every team since, have read our attacks as easily as a headline in The Sun. Eriksen was an after-thought for Pete’s sake. If not him, was Holtby supposed to be our Iniesta or Xavi? Because Paulinho, Dembele, Sandro and Capoue aren’t! Even Ozil (who we could have got while playing the Bale hand) would have been a far better option than going for Chadli/Lamela/Capoue combined at £70m+. For that I blame Baldini and Levy.
    But this inflexible and unimaginative manager, too often out-thought by lesser teams’ managers, has to wake up very quickly now and bring his team with him.
    We have an ineffectual striker ..in the wrong place at the wrong time (forget how he would have benefited with Modric, VDV and Bale/Lennon’s wing play a few seasons back) he is now a dud. While Lamela looks like a boy trying to upgrade from our youth team. £60m right there!!! Holtby, creatively out of his depth. Dembele, a shadow of the Fulham player he was and the guy who first arrived at Spurs. Paulinho, a confused player ..neither certain anymore of his defensive or attacking duties, and link-ups thereof. Kabul, a player visibly affected by the effects of long term injuries. Daws, too slow for whatever the system AVB is trying to employ. No left back cover (BAE could have made the difference in Rose’s absence). Result, a useless, slow left flank (compare it with a few years ago when our left side was the envy of the PL). Oh ..I give up. Not on being a Spurs fan (50 years) but on seeing for the past 5 years a CL squad of players (in everything but reality) being continually wasted! When we find the final piece to a jigsaw, the jigsaw itself has changed and it’s other pieces that need finding again.

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  14. Hi Alan,
    I must admire your ability to remain so measured directly after such a performance.
    I say performance because this wasn’t a 4 goals in the last 10 minutes result, where one team sacrifices all to chase a lost cause.
    This was 90 minutes of shocking indicision and timidity.
    These players don’t look motivated, worse still they look confused, bewildered even.
    Somebody should drop by London underground’s lost property depot as some honest soul may have handed in a lost Spurs dressing room.

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    • Agreed. I think that the players games are restricted by the manager’s tactics and if it goes wrong they are unable to change them, this is where a good manager comes in, remember the first half against Chelsea, we were all over them, they changed the focus of the centre of their midfield and by the end of the second half we were hanging on.
      He must be able to see what’s going wrong and should change it as soon as possible, not hang on till it’s too late.
      The indecision and timidity of the players I believe starts with the manager and as the game goes on spreads throughout the team.

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  15. Tell me please Alan. Is Lamela a right sided player that was played as an inverted winger on the left. If so, then AVB again has not learned his lesson. Should have played Andros/ Chadli and Lennon/ Lamela on the right, in order to give service to Soldado from both flanks.
    Again AVB takes too long to change a game, why does it have to be the 2nd half to change things, when the warning signs were clearly there after the 2nd goal.
    Another day tomorrow to face up to the P taking from colleagues and customers for flips sake 😦

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    • AVB should be out.

      You will never ever win a single thing with a team of defenders. Soldado is bad but I do believe it is through a lack of attacking intent. Call that service if you want, but it is the problem.

      Simply we have no pace, no urgency, no creativity, no player who can take on responsibility in tight positions, no true attacking threat, and no adaptability.

      The best way I could sum it up. It’s like watching England at a World Cup.

      What you need to remember is we will be heavily in debt soon when we build our stadium and won’t be able to afford anyone proven & decent. We won’t have the Premier League to help us out (like Arsenal etc) and we’ll need guile, creativity, passion, et al to get through that period and all done with little money spent on cheap players.

      And I am 1000% convinced AVB is not the man for the job.

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  16. AVB needs to get things to work. This sideways, keep the ball stuff is working if once in a while there comes a genuin run once in a while with a proper thru-pass to follow. Its all to much ..god damn slowlinezzzzz.
    There is masses of supporters that have seen this for ages. Whats AVB doing about it?
    We cant get thru defenses with this kind of play. Today the team gave up on 2-0 about 30 out.. Between goal 1 and goal 2 we had plenty of possession – in and around the midfield ..and a little bit back to the defense. Yaaay. Nowhere near a threat on the opponent. Something we should at least try to be.
    So after 2-0 we gave up. Vertonghen more frustrated than ever for playing a role hes been out in the media several times TELLING andreVB -“dont play me there! I dont like it!” Sandro unusually out of rhythm, Kaboul rusty as the thinman, Paulinho getting out of steam long before break, Walker TOTALLY out of position several times and at least one goal deserves to be credited him alone, Lamela looked like he was comming from the kindergarden and suddenly found himself in a football match, -“what am I doing here?!..” kind of stuff ..it was just awfull! AWFULL I tell you!
    A million people have talked about the high offensive line. In many cases its totally fine to have it, against one of the best offensive teams in europe (at their home) – it probably could be an idea to consider other options, but no ….no nono no no. We dont. What do you take us for? …-“My name is Dawson and Im not slow at all!”

    As long as Ade is there, put him on the bench. Get BAE back (why & why & why did he go?) Seriously, two seasons ago he where among the best leftBacks in the league and hes now ..29? He cant be crap over night. Xpect you all to remember horiffic display at Anfield, but hello…

    Today it would have been better to play Kaboul on right, Walker over on left, gotten Verts in the middle, a normal line of defense, blablabla…. its not that hard to put it right AVB 🙂 Just do it!!!!!

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  17. I can’t even console myself by hoping that this result will be a blessing in disguise in provoking a rethink of tactics and selection. Things are so evidently rotten that it’ll take much, much more than harsh words by the manager to get them in shape and equipped for the next test in a week’s time. I thought the result was a combination of failed team selection and irresponsible performances by just about everyone. It was so bad that I wonder if we are approaching the “manager loses the dressing room” discussion. Team selection: City are rampant at home and we needed an experienced and committed defence, starting with our attackers. Lamela is clearly not premier league ready, and Soldado is isolated, unhappy, and underperforming. (50 million quid on a couple of duds!).So we are two players down from the start. Adebayour showed enough to convince us that we need more of a physical presence upfront from the start, and Siggy would have surely given a more convincing defensive commitment than the youngster. To give a goal away after 14 secs when you even have the kick off takes some doing, but we managed it. No harm, no foul, plenty of time to dig in and scratch out a result. But we are so collectively fragile in resolve, that fighting back seems a bad joke, after West Ham, Newcastle and now this rubbish. Now we have a defence that collectively choked, supporting an attack that’s been DOA since the start of the season. You put your finger on it early on in your suicide note: the players had no idea what they were meant to be doing, and neither did the manager. Hopefully the team will find something extra against United, but we waited for that “something extra” from the first minute today and it didn’t come.

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  18. I was there….painful and embarrassing.…..and very demanding on time and money spent. AVB, hope he heard us singing despite desperate. I am afraid he is munching more he could eat….I LL do like chelsea did and change before Christmas. Risky but I say no light at the end of AVB’s tunnel

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  19. If, as is rumoured, Daniel Levy’s aides are scouting for a replacement coach, then surely they need look no further than Atlético Madrid’s Diego Simeone. On the weekend that Spurs lost by a margin of six, Simeone’s Atlético beat Getafe by seven – a thirteen goal differential! Nor has Simeone had the resources of say Barcelona or Real. Could Simeone be tempted to the EPL? I don’t know. But with the Barcelona coaches’ position seemingly settled for the next few years, and with difficulties associated with a move across Madrid, and the only big club job in England that may come up soon (other than Spurs) being dependent on our good friends from Drayton Park tiring of their Frenchman, it is a possibility. Simeone’s style is a mixture of the old Spanish “Furia” – fast passing and aggressive tackling coupled with a high pressing game and maintaining possession. Something more English in style than the pure “tiki-taka” of Barcelona which so frustrates English fans. My suspicion is that if the right approaches (and cash inducements) were made, he might be available in the summer. Why should we look at replacing AVB? Simples! He has been in England for two and a half years now (albeit some of that time spent mowing the lawn and doing up his garden) and has yet to define a style. With Lloris playing “keeper-sweeper” then it makes sense to play a high line, but with Dawson’s poor first touch and lack of movement across the back four it means that too often the ball is sent back to Lloris and he is reduced to booting the ball seventy yards for the midfield/Soldado to scrap for – more Championship than Champion’s league. Then there is his tactical selections – he picked the wrong team to start against Newcastle (not for the first time), only making the obvious changes at half time, and then went to City and played two wingers (one of whom hadn’t even started a game for us in the Prem league this season) and played a patently not-yet-fit centre-half, leaving us horribly exposed to the best home attack in the division. By the bye, to those who have criticised Soldado’s performances, ask yourself this, if Agüero and Soldado had swapped sides, would the scoreline have been any different? AVB seems to have no idea what his best XI is, nor even what style he wants the team to play. If he wants us to play the ball out of defence then he probably needs his first choice centre-half pairing to be Chiricheș and Vertongen, but he needs at least one link player to drop to facilitate this. If he wants to play it early and long then he needs players to support Soldado and probably should look at going 4-4-2. To return to my earlier point, AVB is neither creating “La Furia-Tottenham” nor “Tiki-taka-Tottenham” nor even “4-4-f***ing-2 Tottenham” to paraphrase the immortal Mike Bassett. I thought you might make it André, but my gut feeling is you’re about to exit English football for the second, and possibly last, time.

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  20. Guys guys guys, we all need to take a deep breath. A hammering at City is awful but this is the same City who spanked Utd at home and have basically thrashed everyone on their own patch. We’ve basically got a new team with the additions in the summer and no-one that has been bought replaces the Bale style – pace and power. AVB clearly is still trying to sort out his best 11 or 14 however you want to look at it. He needs to review his tactics for sure and give a settled 11 a few games to gel. We all have our opinions of what players should be selected / tactics chosen. I personally think Vertonghen should be rested as should Pauliniho and these are things that AVB would have probably done without the injuries to Rose and Capoue. A change in formation should also be made – give Defoe and Ade a run together. From what I’ve seen and the 2 games people are referring to – home to WHU and Newcastle – we battered the latter and on another day would have won by 2 or 3 and the West Ham game was a fluke. Same as Aston Villa winning at the Goons and City losing at Sunderland. We are still only 4 points off 2nd. It’s a funny season this year and where I cannot disagree that we haven’t played well I still think AVB is the right man and we’ll come good. We don’t want to sound like those mugs down the road calling for Wengers head after the Villa defeat – look where they are now !
    COYS !!!

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    • Cheers Ossie’s Dream for some sanity and level-headedness! This Blog is sounding exactly the same as it was two years ago when it started going sour for ‘Arry after our tonking of Newcastle 4-0 — remember the “we want you to stay” serenade. The same is happening all over again to AVB — lol, taking the Spurs job may well be a poisoned chalice. We’ve had 14 managers or so (including Pleat 3x as caretaker) since Wenger took over and Sir Red Nose was their only manager during that same period. Stadium-wise, revenue-wise, etc. we are not a top-4 team — expectations are over-blown. Sure we’d like to win the title sometime this century but we’ve won only Cups during my 40-plus years as a Spurs fan and only 3 of those in the last 30 years. Personally, I have no investment in AVB or ‘Arry or anyone else who manages us — they are awfully well paid. But this cycle of hiring/firing/hiring has to stop. Otherwise, we continue to look like the mugs that our rivals like Man U and L’Arse are not. It is a funny old game and thanks for the use of the hall, Alan.

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      • As sharp as ever, Ashley. As I wrote I thought how similiar this post was to many from the Redknapp era. Agree we can’t keep chopping and changing – cue gritting rather than gnashing of teeth, let’s make changes on the pitch not off it and see what happens.

        Regards, Alan

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  21. AVB did the same at Chelsea. He played players out of position, kept tinkering with formations and bafflingly left a fit Drogba on the bench for a vital Champions League game. Hence he lost the faith of the dressing room and had to go. It was said that Spurs sold Elvis (Bale) to buy the Beatles. Unfortunately the new expensive signings play more like the Bay City Rollers.

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  22. I think a little perspective is required.. Spurs didn’t play particularly well but it’s not the first time they’ve copped a flogging from City in recent years and it’s not the first hammering City have handed out to a decent Premier League team in that time either.. what did they beat United by a couple of seasons ago?

    That said Tottenham obviously has problems.. and the manager should bear the blame.. both for his tactics and his selections. The team plays with no width.. which is fine if you have the creativity to play through sides.. alas Spurs do not quite. The failure to address the gaping hole at left back in the squad since last year is a mystery.. the forced exit of Assou-Ekotto without replacement unfathomable.. as is the continued selection of Dawson. The lad may try hard but he simply is not good enough.. too slow, poor technique, a limited presence on set pieces and an assured liability against better opposition. When Spurs resigned him recently I could only shake my head.. he is fourth string at the club in my opinion.. fifth string had Caulker not been sold. Dembele’s continued absence is another complete head scratcher.. people can say what they like about his form this year but he is clearly a cut above Holtby or Sigurdsson.. his should be one of the first names picked.

    The two bright spots for me from the game were the appearances of Lamela and Adebayor.. Lamela may still need time to adjust but it is evident that the lad is class.. he should play every week.. and as for Adebayor? he will never be the world’s greatest finisher.. but he provides a presence and a distinct flair for linking up play.. I’m certainly not alone in thinking Soldado would be much better served playing off of him.

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