On December 15th 2013, Tottenham looked on the brink of disaster. A hammering at home to the hands of a notable top four rival in the form of Liverpool meant that the White Hart Lane residents were in a terrible state of affairs with the 5-0 thumping leaving them in seventh place and 6 points from Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool. At the time, Spurs fans were angry at the continued poor showing from their team and with AVB’s position at the club still secure despite previous heaving defeats (the 6-0 defeat at Manchester City an example), the Portuguese manager remained in control despite correct calls for his exit. Tottenham were performing far below par and the class within their ranks was failing to produce anything of real speciality. Fortunately, the madness was concluded with his sacking just a day later.
Since then, Spurs have enjoyed a mesmerising period of form with Tim Sherwood unbeaten in the Premier League since his permanent appointment. Is this down to Sherwood himself or are the players we have accumulated finally settled and under a less tactical-orientated system are allowing for football to flow and therefore class prevail? I believe it’s a bit of both. The beating of Manchester United highlighted strength within the squad but I argue that this strength and this level of performance was already in their makeup and the gentle push of Tim was enough to show what they could really do. Under AVB, the system used was too dense. Villas-Boas set teams out to not lose, not to win, but just not to lose. You can argue that every team does so, after all who wants to lose a game of football? But the typical definition of going out not to lose was to out-score your opponent (thus winning the game), Andre didn’t do as such and made his team selection overly defensive to counteract the force of the opponent, therefore his aim was simply not to lose and hopefully produce a counter-attack capable of nicking the game. This proved much more effective with Gareth Bale in the ranks it seems.
The first point of argument is that the new found form is purely down to Mr Sherwood. Who could deny that he is the key formula? Without his careful balance of praise for Emmanuel Adebayor and faith in him, we would not be looking at the in-form goal machine we currently have the pleasure of watching. On top of that, Sherwood has produced the age-old theory of strategy over tactics. The famous Sir Bobby Robson once said: “at the end of the day, if a team is sent out with job after job to do before a game, their heads are going to explode.” Sherwood has made it his priority to make sure that the players are enjoying their football, is that giving them freedom? Maybe when isolating the role of Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli against Swansea who both had the freedom to roam the Liberty Stadium how they wished. Sherwood’s record at Spurs stands alone. Having not lost in the Premier League in 2014 and acquiring a much more comfortable position of fifth (level on points with the title contending Liverpool), Sherwood has brought the best from a player that wouldn’t have even been in contention under Andre Villas-Boas and therefore when arguing whether the class of the players is getting Tottenham out of their funk or if Tim deserves the praise, it’s possible the plaudits should go to the man in charge.
The other side of the argument is that Tottenham’s summer spending has actually made an impact and after a period (an extended one at that) of settling down and getting used to the Premier League, the class we have signed is finally making an impact. Of course, some players are not working out, we all can name those of which aren’t living up to their price tags. But those such as Christian Eriksen and Vlad Chiriches are now first team regulars and it doesn’t take a genius to see that Eriksen has become an outstanding talent – for a bargain price at that. So are these players simply coming into their element under Sherwood because of the new man in charge, or would the recent form have appeared even under the control of AVB, purely because they are talented players?
By Sean Cook (@TalkingTHFC)
So what’s the answer. Is class prevailing or has Daniel Levy found a magician to make the most of these players who just so happened to be in control of his under-21 team? Or is it both? We’ve argued both points above and would love your opinion. Let us know in the comments by simply saying either: “Class players,” “Timmy,” or “both.” Leave us your views on the article also. COYS!