2017 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL HOTELS, CARDIFF June 3RD & KIEV 2018 - CLICK HERE to BOOK HOTELS PACKAGES Are Tottenham more suited to AVB’s style than Chelsea were

Are Tottenham more suited to AVB’s style than Chelsea were

Are Tottenham more suited to AVB’s style than Chelsea were

From  Dolce-Gabbana suits to track pants and polo shirts a lot has changed for Andre Villas Boas since he was sacked from Chelsea during the start of the year to the time he has joined London rivals Tottenham Hotspurs. But the question is has he changed as a manager? From being touted as the next Jose Mourinho after he went unbeaten at Porto to being laughed off at Chelsea, the job at Tottenham could be the make or break point for Villas Boas’s career.

When AVB joined Chelsea he had a bunch of players that did not suit his system tactically. Villas Boas and Roman both wanted free flowing, quick football. Something similar to what Pep Guardiola was doing at Barcelona in Spain. Pep certainly had the players who could quite easily do what he wanted out of them, but at Chelsea things were different. Chelsea were quite used to playing the old fashioned football what Mourinho had instated at that club during his tenure. The plan was simple clear heads while defending and long balls while attacking. Villas Boas tried to change all this a bit too early. He tried to put forward a system the players were not used to, certainly pleasing to watch but if the players can’t adjust then things can go a bit ugly an that’s what happened at Chelsea. The High Line in the defense and the quick passing was something the players were not used to.

But for all his failures at Chelsea he has bagged himself a good long term project at Spurs. Knowing that his predecessor finished 4th in the league and still got sacked, Villas Boas has taken over another high profile and tough job but this time it looks like he certainly has the owners backing for a long term project.

So what is so different at Spurs that AVB can succeed here?
In Harry’s 4-4-1-1 he made sure that Spurs were not outplayed in the midfield with Lennon and Bale providing good attacking options from the flanks with their pace and trickery. The only problem Harry faced at times was VdV’s lack of involvement when he ran out of stamina, but Harry was quick to change things using his subs wisely. Harry’s downfall at Spurs came when he was “reportedly” linked to England’s job. With Harry’s mind more focused at what lied ahead rather than what he had Spurs parted ways with him.
On came the enthusiastic Andre Villas Boas. Premier League had already seen a bit of AVB during his time at Chelsea but has he saved his best for Spurs?
AVB was quick to make changes at Spurs. Harry’s 4-4-1-1 was changed to 4-2-3-1 something similar to what he was using at Chelsea. But did he have the players this time around?
 Assessing the transfer window-
1. Gylfi Sigurdsson- One of the main problems Harry faced last season was Van Der Vaart’s lack of link up play later on in the game due, Villas Boas was quick to replace him with one of last season’s break out player Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson is 7 yrs younger than VdV and offers more offensively as well as defensively to this Spurs side. The Icelandic was phenomenal last season for Swansea and was a decent buy considering the fact he settled in well in Swansea’s high line tactics last season something AVB was used to playing.
2. Adebayor- Adebayor was signed by Spurs after completing his loan spell at the club last season. The Togolese striker who was reluctant to take a wage drop finally agreed to move from Man City where he was surplus to requirements at the club. The Togolese striker was immense for Spurs last season and with shortage in attacking options Adebayor could be a top signing.
3. Dembele- One of the most sought after young talents finally decided to move to Spurs. After “rumored” interest from the likes of Madrid,Chelsea,Liverpool Dembele found Spurs as his ideal location considering the fact the amount of game time he could get in that team now that Modric had left the club.
4. Lloris- With Brad Friedel not getting any younger, Villas Boas  decided to break the bank for French international Hugo Lloris. The highly experienced goalkeeper not only provides another decent option in the goal but also a long term replacement for Friedel whose days of retirement are edging closer.
5. Dempsey- Another deadline day signing was Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. After being tracked by Liverpool throughout the summer window quite surprisingly Dempsey decided to move to Sours seeing Liverpool unable to match Fulham’s demands. Dempsey provides another quality option in the attacking third.
6. Jan Verthongen- Following Ledley King’s retirement and Kaboul’s injury issues, Villas Boas finally decided to complete the move for long term target Jan Verthongen from Ajax. The Belgian fits in the high line tactic comfortably for Spurs. With age by his side and decent speed he was without doubt one of AVB’s best signing in this window.
So how do the following players fit in the AVB system?
Well Villas Boas came with one idea in mind when he joined Spurs, that was to change the whole complexion of the team. With the side losing 2 of its standout players in King, Modric and VdV, Villas Boas knew he had to fill some big holes in that side. Unlike Chelsea, he high line tactic at Spurs could be a big hit, here is why- At Chelsea Villas Boas faced the problem of having slow sluggish defenders who were not only ready to settle in the new tactic but were not the kind of players who could actually do well in that role. At Spurs Villas Boas has quick full backs in Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Walker and with Verthongen’s addition in the CB role the whole idea of playing the high line just got better. Although yes one might argue that Gallas might not be the most s
uitable pair alongside Verthongen but I guess once Kaboul comes back that defense will look much better.
Now the second major point worth discussing- the emergence of younger talents rather than a group of players dominating the dressing room. Villas Boas situation at Chelsea was something similar to what Brian Clough had at Leeds with most of the players against him, not ready to settle in with his tactics, stubborn. Yet unlike Clough, Villas Boas was not going to bow down to them. He benched many of the “old guards” more than often that led to even more issues between the manager and the players. This can certainly be avoided at Spurs. With the likes of Modric, VdV and King leaving the club, Villas Boas has brought in players that he wanted at the club, the players that could fit in this system of his. Although there are talks of Lloris being unhappy at the club but I guess that might be solved as the season progresses.
At Chelsea another major problem he faced was that the players were not suited to the style of football both the owner and he wanted. The owner demanded fast free flowing football and Chelsea players were not used to playing deep and digging out results. At Spurs he has the creative flair of Bale and Lennon from the wings and with Dempsey,Dembele,Defoe supporting the attack Villas Boas ideology of playing the free flowing football can finally work.
Although one might argue that Villas Boas has not learnt from his mistakes at Chelsea by selling off key players like Modric and VdV but to be fair it is better to keep players with clear minds rather than having unsettled players at the clubs. Though the club will miss the creative flair of Modric but Dembele who looks like his replacement in that team certainly has the potential and just like the manager the players will need time to settle in.
Although it will be unfair to judge Villas Boas after just 1-2 seasons, but if Levy can keep tabs on that sack button unlike his compatriot Roman then the emergence of Spurs into a real powerhouse could get real.
Villas Boas message to the club is simple: Give me time, and I can change things around.

Shikharr Chandra (@ShikharrC)

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