4 min read
The Honeymoon is Over for AVB

As Tottenham succumbed to their third Premier League defeat in four games I had to ask myself:

“Why am I in IKEA instead of watching Spurs’ best laid plans unravel at the Etihad?”

The truth is that reality sometimes calls, life or moving house takes precedence over everything, even football.

Reality usually turns up when you least expect it and more often than not is a little sound (in some cases though it can be pure silence) accompanied by a girlfriend/partner/wife putting their hands on their hips and staring.

If you’ve heard that sound or seen that posture then generally you know what I am talking about, if not don’t worry it’s on its way.

As I drove back round the North Circular on Sunday evening laden with flat packs, I wondered if that sound had come to visit Andres Villas Boas.

Has AVB been given his dose of reality?

The Portuguese manager has been a favourite of mine since his FC Porto team dazzled in the Europa League. Spearheaded by Radamel Falcao and guided by Freddy Guarin in centre mid, my Colombian buddies repeatedly told me to: “Keep an eye on this team and manager!”

Therefore when AVB took the Chelsea job, I was disappointed, but highly curious to see how it panned out. As we are reminded every minute, it was Christian Gross-esque.

When Harry Redknapp’s reign of capitulations and self proclamations came to end and AVB waltzed in to Tottenham all dapper and saying the right things, I rejoiced. Here was a hungry talanted young manager, who had made mistakes, admitted them (as far as a manager does) and hopefully learnt from them.

This morning as Spurs lay behind the West Brom, Everton and even West Ham my rejoicing has taken a serious knock, but I still have faith, not an unlimited amount but enough to keep me going.

Tottenham’s season so far has been defined by their 3-2 win away at Manchester United. This memorable and incredible result was meant to signal the start of AVB’s reign, but instead it has taken on a completely different complexion. In an ocean of mediocre performances, our 45 minutes at Old Trafford is a rubber ring we are all desperately trying to cling on to.

These three points earned after a masterful first half has so far overshadowed the fact that Man United are the only non-relegation threatened team Spurs have beaten this season.


Villas Boas has collected away wins at Southampton, Reading, Man United, but lost away to Newcastle and now Man City. At home meanwhile we have only beaten QPR and Villa. Chelsea, Wigan, Norwich and West Brom have all collected points at White Hart Lane. Spurs have lost points from winning positions four times already this season.For a manager who wants to challenege for titles, this figure can’t make for easy reading.

Meanwhile the competition which thrust AVB into our consciousness, the Europa League, has also failed to offer him some much needed rest bite. One win and three draws is hardly the form of team ready to mix it with the dropouts from the Champions League after the winter break.

Reality has come, stamped its foot, poked AVB in the eye and set up residence at Casa Villas Boas.

I refuse to run around screaming that the end of the world is here because of a set of results, but if AVB thought the pressure was on in August, then he is about to get a surprise.

Time is the most precious of substances for managers and continued failure will only make it slip away faster.

Tottenham are set to face, after another meaningless international friendly. Arsenal away and Lazio away, followed by the home visit of West Ham, defeat in any of these games would be unacceptable. That’s the cold hearted truth.

Arsenal are no longer the swash buckling team of the early 2000’s, and as Reading and Fulham have demonstrated in spells, they are very beatable.

Lazio meanwhile are a long way from the free spending semi-galaticos of the Sven Goran Eriksson team that summed up the pay-now-think-later 90’s directors in Serie A. Whilst a home fixture against a newly promoted West Ham team, should setting aside all arrogance, be a home banker.

How many points Villas Boas can get out of the next 6 Premier League and 3 Europa League points on offer will unfortunately decide his fate. This is the curse of the results (financial as well as PL) at all costs based modern day football.

Rather like the first time you pass wind in front of your girlfriend, the honeymoon is over; we are now knee deep in a relationship.

[author name=”ARLombardi” avatar=”https://twimg0-a.akamaihd.net/profile_images/1344407697/soccer.jpg” twitter=”ARLombardi” website=”arlombardi.com” tag=”ARLombardi”]


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Published on 13th November 2012

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19 Responses to The Honeymoon is Over for AVB

  1. Chris 13/11/2012 at 7:15 pm #

    How can you not mention te injuries we have sustained along with not buying moutinho at the very close of the window? Without them our midfield is rudderless. Thudd is too slow to so anything for us (besides his assist for bale), gallas is past it and Dawson is too damn slow to play a high line. I will not be happy if he is sacked before the next window

    • JAMES 13/11/2012 at 7:37 pm #

      chris even with injuries the fact is the man is a buffoon, he gets a lead with a team playing well the ORDERS them to sit back and pray the other team only score a few.. also NO human would keep playing dempsey as he is ****! drops defoe after a hatrick, keeps livermore on the pitch and takes off Sandro (worst thing of all) as for playing naughton in midfield against city when we had gallas as a right back? (criminal) we have been very lucky this season with our results,, i:e west brom, norwich, united, southampton, QPR, and every one of them games is because of his bad selections either with his formation or his subs and trying to cling on to a lead when we are clearly on top!

      • Matt 13/11/2012 at 10:47 pm #

        It’s fairly simple – he went to 3 at the back, with Gallas, Dawson & Verts , then 2 wing backs in Bale & Naughton to counter how City had changed their structure..

        It didn’t work out for us, on another day it might have. But we defended poorly handing them their goals after looking solid. City held the ball much better than us second half and in the end that was telling.

        Have to agree with Chris – you cant lose the players we lost in the summer, then lose the rest we have to injury and expect us to be firing on all cylinders. Only last week I was thinking how well we had done to be 4th considering everything that had happened last summer.

        We really miss Dembele. Along with Sandro and / or Parker they will really boss midfields. 4 wins from 4 starts from him says it all. Once he returns, hopefully some of the new players will be more settled and it will start to gel. It needs time anyway and then we can judge

  2. Bob 13/11/2012 at 7:35 pm #

    All managers get injuries. Excuses don’t make points. Caulker has stepped up to the plate to negate Kabouls injury, Verts is a better left back than Benny and i like Benny, Sandro is a better player than Parker.

    The only player we are actually missing is Dembele. He is the only one who makes the system we are playing work, without him it doesn’t.

    Who we buy and how quick they gel into the side will determine if we get Champions League football which is essential to keep Bale another year, or he’ll be off. Man U rebuild and stay in the top 4, we have to.

    • Stoney 13/11/2012 at 7:56 pm #

      Wouldn’t you say that if you haven’t got the players to play the system you want, with dembele injured, you change the system to suit the players that you do have at your disposal? He still continues with the same system/tactics though. It’s completely inept. How this guy has got this far in football I find absolutely bewildering. His winning of the UEFA was a complete aberration or more likely down to the truly world class trio of hulk, falcao and moutinho.

  3. Stoney 13/11/2012 at 7:41 pm #

    His tactics are totally inept and the win over united, as fantastic as it was, only papered over the cracks. Can anybody really take this guy seriously with his team selection and substitutions? He’s lost us more games than he’s won with his habit of taking off attackers and putting on defenders still with time on the clock. He’s hasn’t learnt anything from the screw up he made at Chelsea. I really don’t get this guy, he sees football totally differently from just about everybody I know.

  4. paul 13/11/2012 at 7:56 pm #

    The injury argument is starting to sound like an excuse. Mostly we have adequate cover as Bob explains above. Dembele is a loss but remember Modric broke his leg a couple of years ago and we still finished 4th. Even average managers cope with injuries. Celtic beat Barcelona last week without either their team captain or their top goalscorer.
    But even if you accept that injuries have hit us what about decisions AVB has made. Nobody forces him to always putting on defensive subs which just gives a green light to opponents. Any football manager that plays one tiny lone striker at home to poor teams is not using his resources well to put it mildly. Also what is with the fielding of many of the first XI against Europa pub teams? Starting to think that tournament is his priority.
    It took 10 years to make us a top 4 side. AVB needs to show that he is the man to continue that progression. He has not done it yet.

    • Nick 13/11/2012 at 11:17 pm #

      You realize that for the majority of this season we have been without HALF or first choice 11… HALF!!! BAE, Kaboul, Parker, Dembele, Ade… any team that loses half of there starting 11 is going to struggle. not to mention we lost VDV and Modric.. you lose those caliber of players you are going to struggle if you cant replace them.

  5. Gary Fox 13/11/2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Injuries retirement and sales have cost us 7 of last seasons first team. Under Harry we usually played one up front but the difference is the quality behind them. We are not a negative team as we have Bale and Lennon out wide so if we play two up front that leaves two in central midfield….competing against 4 or 5 players in teams that play a modern formation. Get off AVBs back ffs. ….Remember that he did BETTER in the league than de matteo did, who got lucky in the champions league. Remember who sold our best players and failed to sign quality replacements. Look at our injury list. Look at the tactics used by the top teams. And ask yourself who in our current fit squad would have enabled us to beat Chelsea or man city if selected. In Poker terms Harry had a winning hand and failed to win within…AVB was dealt a pair of threes and some throwaways. Lets see what happens when he has a full fit and replenished squad.

  6. Dessy 13/11/2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Spot on Mr Fox I 100% agree with you and praise the lord as am fed up of the dreamers who keep blaming AVB, he aint dong bad with a poor squad not helped by the injuries we have had, we need to get to January and back him better than we did in the summer.

  7. Ian 13/11/2012 at 9:48 pm #

    What a load of Crap the “champ Man” generation is sprouting. Wake up and smell the shit you truely believe. AVB is the man to take us further, but probably as you have only been on the Spurs band wagon since we were briefly in the CL? Who are you to give an opinion? None of the previous managers have had a depleted squad to the tune of 8 players effectively out and only 2 of any quality in, Incase you struggle with that, thats 6 players down and no matter how you look at it, you cant make a silk purse out of etc…. Levy has basically shafted AVB on the players side of things and ended up with 2 totally crap panic buys! End of!

    • geoff 13/11/2012 at 11:18 pm #

      And who are you to give your opinion pal?

      Who made the decision to bring only 2 of quality in?
      Who made the decision to stick with 40yr old in goal and alienate the French No.1?
      Who made the decision to play with one up front and have two holding midfielders at home?
      Who made the decision to take Defoe off when losing 1-0 at home to Wigan?
      Who made the decision to try and sell Dawson and Huddlestone?
      All you AVB idiots will eat your words by Xmas.
      Actually, you probably will eat your words by 2pm on Saturday when we get turned over by the scum.
      It is an absolute DISGRACE that we appointed a turd of a flop at Chavsea as out manager! It is the equivalent of them putting Juande Ramos as their manager after we sacked him!

      You reap what you sow, Levy!

  8. Ian 13/11/2012 at 9:53 pm #

    its taken 10 years to make us a top 4 side…Explain that please you nonce??? AVB not done that yet?? Half a season?? what a twat you are..

  9. Steve 13/11/2012 at 10:07 pm #

    This far in to the PL season it is now clear that Levy has blown it. By not closing any of the needed deals at the start of the season (Moutino, Willian, Damaio .. anyone of quality really) and sufferring unfortunate but hardly unexpected injuries to key players (Dembele, Parker, Kaboul, AEB ..) we see the lack of depth in quality at Spurs and points slipping away alarmingly.

    OK we had a win at Old Trafford .. but many seem to forget (delude themselves) that the 2nd half did not happen. That was a miracle of surviving the onslaught, but papered over the thinness of the quality in Spurs team and squad. I see excuses for Siggy and Dempsey about needing time to fit in. We don’t have that time. Look at Chelsea .. did Oscar and Hazard need months to find their feet?

    Look at the strikers at Man U .. they have more quality on the bench not getting games than we have when our 2 (just 2) strikers are actually fit at the same time .. and even then AVB will not use them together at the same time.

    Our defence .. how can Gallas keep playing after handing so many goals to the opposition. I think he is still playing for Chelsea. Vert must go back in the middle with Caulker. Put anyone in at LB as it won’t make much difference.

    Midfield .. give Little Tom a go. He is the only one with an ounce of ambition in the MF and can feed the wide guys and JD / Ade.

    To AVB .. OK he needed time to prove himself but he has disappointed. His tactics have backfired. He should spend more time coaching the defencders how to stop conceding late goals, often in identical fashion to the last time, rather than throwing another clueless defender into the breach who is off the pace and doesn’t know what he should be doing. We can’t defend well at the moment so give both strikers a go, put Carroll in to distribute and bring Gareth and Aaron into the game. maybe we will win something 4-3 rather than losing 2-1 or clutching a 1-1 from the jaws of a a 1-0 win.

    So why did I say Levy has blown it? Because we could / should have had a much better team challenging for the top 3, not looking certain to struggle for even a Europa place next year. By the January window we will be so far down the table, after dropping points to a couple of London rivals, that no-one of quality will want to come to Spurs as there is nothing on offer for next year.

    Sad isn’t it .. Mr Levy, you get what you pay for unfortunately and you have sold all Spurs supporters very short. I hope you are happy settling for mid table mediocrity once again. Goodbye Gareth, I’m sure you will end up somewhere with a bit more ambition and nous than you find yourself at the moment.

  10. spur1950 13/11/2012 at 10:10 pm #

    so what games did we lose when taking off attackers ,we have had only 1 attacker most of the bloody season ADY HAS BEEN INJURED FOR MOST OF IT IDIOTS ,defoe for all the booing was crap against WIGAN ,when Sandro has gone off its been because of the tightness in his muscles ,we get some of you moaning about systems and some moaning its not the systems that dont exist 442 doesn’t work in premiership ask your mate redcrapp half you lot listen to much to the bollox of adrian dumarse and the media with the negativity since the start of the season on avb plus you have a team thats not half as good as last season and that is bloody obvious even to some of you idiots last season againest mancity no KABOUL.LEDDERS,MODDERS,RAFA,BENNY , SO where we going from here i havnt a crystal ball but we have sold KRANKS,BASSONG,DOS SANTOS,PAV,RAFA,MODDERS AND TO TOP IT INJURIES TO KABOUL,BENNY,ADY,DAWS,HUDD,SANDRO,DEMBELE,and at the same time expect us to be top 4 because u have been spoil t rotten and shows how much you know about football ,u should stop slagging him off an support the bloody team ,this would UNACCEPTABLE keeps cropping up from prats who defiantly dont know their football ,THIS WORD SEEMS TO REALLY REALLY PISS ME OFF
    WE ARE PLAYING THE ARSE,LAZIO,AND WHUTD what sort of supporter are you really ,because their is a team just down the road called the empty crates and you can take some of these so called knowledgeable football supporters with u!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Hamish 13/11/2012 at 10:21 pm #

    I can barely read half the nonsense written on this page. Levy blown it? Grow up. AVB clueless? Grow up. He may be taking a while to get to grips with the Premiership but for goodness sake get a sense of perspective. When we’ve got 5 first choice players out for a length of time and the jewel in our crown suddenly unavailable in the very last minutes of the transfer window you HAVE to take that into consideration.

    • Nick 13/11/2012 at 11:20 pm #

      I agree.. we’ve lost half of our starting 11 and lost 2 of our 3 best players over the summer. Add a new manager and you cant expect to be top of the table.

  12. Tom 13/11/2012 at 11:49 pm #

    What I see is the AVB fanclub getting more and more defensive (oh the irony) and resorting to name calling. He deserves time and support. He’s been unlucky with injuries and the club’s transfer activities haven’t exactly helped. In many regards Daniel Levy has worked wonders for the club but he certainly makes mistakes from time to time – he is human after all (I think.) At the time I felt letting VDV go was a mistake but none of us know the true circumstances behind the deal. It looks suspiciously like a business first deal to me but as I say, none of us knows the details. Dempsey and Siggy never, ever looked like Spurs players to me but again they deserve a little longer before final judgements should be passed. The same is true of AVB himself. I do find some of his decisions a little baffling and I don’t have the blind faith of some that he is going to come good. I don’t think Harry was an untouchable and understand the reasons for getting rid of him but personally I would have taken another few seasons of him at the helm. Ultimately, he would have stifled youth development and we all know he cares more about his own reputation than the interests of the club, but I think we could have had another couple of years of swashbuckling Champions League challenging football. Currently it feels as though we have gone backwards, even taking into account the 2nd half of last season. Perhaps we have had to go backwards to go forwards. Only time will tell and the fact is we are only 1 point worse off than last season so it’s all still to play for. We have to hope for the best and support the team to achieve the all that it can. Surely that is what we all want. What does annoy me though is the attitude of some fans who refuse to criticise AVB even when he makes mistakes. Even when the same fans used to berate Harry for far less. Sometimes I wonder if some groups of our support are easily seduced by exotic sounding names or performances on Championship manager or Fifa. I’m thinking about the clamour for Gio when anyone who’d actually seen him play a game in the Premier League knew that although immensely talented, he wasn’t up to the pace and physicality. I guess what I’m trying to say at tedious length is that we need to back the team and manager but shouldn’t be afraid to point out the problems as we see them.

  13. rospur 14/11/2012 at 8:58 am #

    A decent performance at some stage would be nice. We have been incredibly lucky to get the points we have this season and as for the weakness of our squad,Levy and AVB had plenty of time to sort the job out, we’re Tottenham not Blackpool and to sell our best players and not replace them is unforgivable. We had plenty of injuries under Redknapp but still managed to play decent winning football but AVB seems unable to cope if things don’t go to plan, sounds familiar doesn’t it? The high line with no pressure on the ball is a basic no no in any coaching manual and if the teams we’ve played had finished their chances we would be a hell of a lot worse off. AVB is just franking the form he showed at Chelsea but I reckon we’re going to have to put up with it so we might as well get behind the lads and hope for the best, but i wouldn’t bother renewing your passport.

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