Are Tottenham the new (old) Arsenal?
The league table doesn’t lie. A quarter of the season in and Tottenham are sitting comfortably in fourth place following today’s 0-0 stalemate with Everton at Goodison Park. Nevertheless there are rumblings of discontent coming from the Spurs faithful as an identity crisis threatens the club.
Only Southampton have conceded less this season, it’s scoring that’s the problem. A return of less than a goal a game with a third of those coming from the penalty spot has been the catalyst for a new look and not particularly welcome Spurs team under Andre Villas Boas.
So is this a temporary issue? A settling in period for the wealth of talent that Spurs suddenly find at their disposal? Or are we witnessing a change of philosophy at White Hart Lane, could the Portuguese coach be drawing his influences from George Graham era Arsenal? (Perish the thought).
The free flowing attacking style of football implemented by the likes of Ardiles and Villa, Hoddle and Waddle carried forward by Klinsmann and Ginola to the Modric and Bale era has appeared at times to have been sacrificed for a new pragmatic approach favoured by AVB. As the protégé of Jose Mourinho this is hardly surprising yet with all the talent at his disposal Spurs’ lack of attacking football not to mention goals is a growing concern for the fans.
So much so that, following last week’s lacklustre 1-0 victory over Hull AVB criticised sections of the supporters for their negative reaction. It should be noted, however that they responded in fine voice for Wednesday nights struggle to overcome the same opposition on penalties in the Capital Cup.
On paper Spurs’ squad is as strong as it has been for years. They are also adjusting to life without Bale, the focal point of their attack in recent seasons. Add to that the fact that they have the most possession on average and had more shots on goal than any other league side before today’s match and the answer should be clear.
Spurs are going through a transformational period, both on and off the pitch. The fans’ identity has been called into question following the Y word row. The team is struggling to adjust to new colleagues on the pitch while AVB strives to find the right balance. To be sitting in a Champions League spot, with their best ever points haul at this stage of a Premier League season is no small achievement.
Football fans are impatient by nature, but this is one manager who deserves the chance to succeed.
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