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AVB’s plans coming to fruition for Spurs
What a difference a week makes. From a barren spell of one win in five, that coming in the Europa League against Maribor, to three Premier League wins on the bounce. Joint third with Chelsea, six places above Arsenal, André Villas-Boas must be wondering what all the fuss was about.
Away trips to the Etihad and Emirates were always tough prospects but the tepid loss to Wigan at White Hart Lane was a big setback. It now appears those results helped kick the team on a step.
Clint Dempsey has finally found his feet, Hugo Lloris has secured the No1 jersey, while Jermain Defoe is banging them in upfront.
What will most please the manager is that not only are his methods getting through to the players, but he has also shown flexibility with his tactics that have helped produce more from his squad. Dempsey is a prime example of this. Moved from a classic No10 role that AVB initially set up with, a spot performed so well by former Tottenham man Rafael van der Vaart, the United States international has been pushed further forward. Now Dempsey finds himself in more goal scoring positions, as well as areas between the opposition’s midfield and defence where he can play penetrating passes, as shown in his assists for Bale’s goal against West Ham, and Defoe’s second against Fulham on Saturday.
Spurs will expect to progress to the knock out stages of the Europa League, requiring only a draw at home to Panathinaikos, before a tricky trip to Goodison Park to play Everton. They are likely to miss Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson for that match, and with the hectic Christmas and New Year period coming up it will be interesting to see how Villas-Boas manages his troops.
Arguably one of the reasons Tottenham’s season collapsed under Harry Redknapp last term was because a core 11 were used too often, and the replacements used too sparingly, and the side was either fatigued or undercooked. With ambitions in Europe as well as a top-four finish, Villas-Boas will demand more from his side, but looks prepared to use his squad more than his predecessor.
If Tottenham can keep this winning run going then it will be a merry Christmas in the AVB household.
Posted by Tottenham fan Alan Frost
Follow Alan on Twitter at @AlanFrost_HT