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Is AVB being stubborn or shrewd?

With 12 league matches completed we sit mid-table with our usual roller-coaster of highs and lows transporting us through the season.

As many predicted we are struggling and suffering at the moment. AVB is finding his feet at the club and the players are trying to adapt to his particular approach to the game. There are as many opinions of who is to blame for our current malaise as there are rats under London so I don't want to go into that particular viper's nest in this article. What I want to discuss is whether AVB is being stubborn or shrewd in his apparent unbending determination to get us to play a certain way - his way.

It has been plain to see that the players have (and continue) to struggle to change their games to fit into the pattern of play AVB prefers. We need only look at the performances of our full backs and central defenders to see that they are struggling. They are not alone and the whole squad is performing below our levels of expectation. Yet AVB presses on with his project. Is this purely stubborn folly or is there something more sensible behind it? I can hear the screams of stubbornness rolling in from miles around but I beg to differ. I actually think AVB is being stubborn because he has to be.

We all know how Daniel Levy likes to operate - do it late, do it cheap or don't do it at all if it really isn't absolutely necessary. AVB has previous experience with headstrong owners/chairmen so the likes of Daniel Levy won't be a surprise to him. AVB was hired by Levy to hopefully fulfil the much vaunted 'project' we have heard mentioned since AVB arrived in the UK. I'm certain when AVB was hired by Levy it was done with the promise of support in the transfer market to ensure he has the tools at his disposal to at least give his 'project' a fighting chance.

As usual the promised funds for new talent weren't made available and we sit here in November with a playing squad significantly reduced in quality through the departures of real world class talent and a growing list of injuries. So what to do? AVB has two choices. Either he changes his approach so that he makes the best use of the mediocre players he currently has at his disposal. The likes of Friedel, Gallas, Dawson, Dempsey, Walker, Naughton, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson and company aren't going to make us challengers in any competition. However used in a system with which they are familiar and comfortable they may deliver us top-half of the table mediocrity.

The danger with that is Levy would see that as a sign that we're back on the right track and that would be all he needs to firmly clamp his wallet shut in January. Alternatively AVB continues to do what he is doing now. He continues to play the mediocre players in his preferred system and we continue to suffer. Maybe this is the only way he can emphasise to Levy how important proper investment in January is.

This is a very high risk strategy though. With Levy's track record there is no guarantee that AVB will still be in charge when the January transfer window opens. I praise AVB's stubbornness as I believe it puts the ball firmly in Levy's court in January. However challenging Levy like this is a very high risk game of chicken.

Written by SpuriousLife




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The journalist

Writer: SpuriousLife Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday November 22 2012

Time: 9:55AM

Your Comments

Possibly both
thfan
Who's this bloke 'company?'.....I haven't seen him yet and he's already being written off! AVB has a plan, and he's trying to stick to it, but there comes a pong where you have to decide whether to modify or abandon it....and the next 3 games will tell us what he needs to do, unless of course we lose all three, because if that happens he will be history anyway!
Spursex
It takes both to be a good manager. As AVB is going to show us!
Tactically Challenge
I hear there has been some trouble over in Rome, hope the fans stay safe. Italians always seem to be looking for a fight.
Metal Spurs
A pong indeed SexySpurHHXX
Horny Helen
It is the facist element as per usual.
Horny Helen
If I understand your argument, you're saying AVB is playing a system that causes us to lose - rather than one that will make us win, I imagine - because he wants Levy to spend more on better players who will help us win. Um, yes, that makes a lot of sense.
Shannon
Oops, should have read 'point' !
Spursex
making changes takes time and we have to be patient. it is clear that AVB is trying to develop a system with a few players that dont quite fit in and I can see one or two players moved on in the next window or two, perhaps one or two that might even surprise us
oxfordspur
Andre Villas-Boas really doesn’t make it easy on himself, does he? A tactical visionary and a precocious managerial talent, he has developed a worrying flair for babbling himself into more trouble than he deserves. There is an argument that football management shouldn’t be about public relations, but it’s a weak and outdated one. These days, myth matters and image is everything. For all of his undoubted abilities, Villas-Boas is going to talk himself right out of his job if he doesn’t wise up. His natural flair for self-harm is extraordinary. On Saturday afternoon, most journalists trotted into Arsenal’s vast press auditorium with unusual feelings of warmth towards the young Portuguese. Yes, Tottenham had shipped five goals to their arch-enemies, but it wasn’t really Villas-Boas’ fault. His bold decision to play with two strikers was vindicated by the 18 minute battering his team gave the Gunners, but when Emmanuel Adebayor’s last remaining brain cells meandered off to pastures new, the game was over. Even if Tottenham had dropped deep and tight for 72 minutes, they wouldn’t have survived. But Villas-Boas didn’t go deep and tight. He hauled off his full-backs and allowed a three man defence to push themselves up against the halfway line like fat kids at the window of a sweet shop. Arsenal, like a school bully who suddenly takes a glancing blow on the nose from the captain of the chess club, were startled. They could have easily have toppled over. As it happens, the captain of the chess club ended up with his pants pulled up over his nipples and his head in a toilet cistern, but at least he went down with a bit of pride. Some journalists have been unnecessarily mean to Villas-Boas since he replaced Harry Redknapp at Spurs, but even they would have been prepared to give him a relatively soft write-up. Alas, it was not to be. You can understand why Villas-Boas might be reluctant to blame Adebayor for the defeat, given the way that his former Chelsea charges reacted to his authoritarian efforts, but there are ways of doing things. He could have smiled wryly, accepted that Adebayor’s challenge was stupid, that it changed the game, that he’d learned an important lesson and then finished by pointing to his ‘passion’ and his ‘desire to win the ball’. Instead, he refused to apportion any blame and instead seemed to hint that Santi Cazorla had brought it on himself. “Cazorla was quick, he reacted. He took the ball away before Ade’s feet met his foot and the ref has to make a decision and he decided for the red card.” Of course he decided for the red card! Adebayor hit him like a giant swinging log, hoisted into position and released by vengeful Ewoks. If Cazorla hadn’t lifted his foot, Adebayor would have snapped him like a Subutteo player. Villas-Boas’ claim that Tottenham, “controlled the game from the first minute to the last,” was even more extraordinary. Around the room, journalists looked at each other in confusion. One respected scribe just stood and stared, agape, his eyes so wide that I was worried they might actually fall out. Tottenham didn’t look like they were controlling much when Arsenal slid three past them in quick succession in the first half. Villas-Boas couldn’t have turned the press against him any quicker without pulling the plug on the wireless router five minutes before their copy deadline. I like Villas-Boas. He looks like a German submariner five weeks into a voyage and he has a voice like an industrial accident. He’s intelligent, innovative and brave. He’s inspirational proof that anyone, regardless of their background, can rise to the top of their profession through nothing more than desire and determination. But, by thunder, if he doesn’t get to grips with press conferences soon, he’ll be laughed out of England by Christmas.
Moscovite
Hasn't AVB already shown that he's not as stubborn as all that be switching to 4-4-2 when it seemed the best way forward? Dropping Dempsey and Sigurdsson against Arsenal also shows that he's not stubbornly playing the same players. We've all been surprised at how poor those two have been, but AVB has shown the right amount of patience with them, giving them time to bed in, but not being afraid to drop them when necessary. Given that nowadays most teams play with a packed midfield and one up front, I expect us to play in a similar fashion, or risk getting overrun in midfield. The problem is that we've been hit by injury to the point where we've had to depend on Huddlestone who has only just started managing to kick a ball in anger again. AVB has had to make do whilst Dembele is injured. It shows we need reinforcements, but I don't think he's deliberately playing a certain way to highlight that fact to Levy.
MSpanner
So much nonsense is written about "the system". I've always believed that the available players should be used in a system that suits them, not that square pegs should be forced into round holes, meaning the holy "system" should not be shoved down the throats of players who are not suited to it, or don't like playing in a particular way. Even little kids play this game. Football is not rocket science, though some managers, including ours, seem to think it is. Good players who are encouraged to express themselves and be disciplined and work as a team and - importantly - enjoy themselves will always do well, regardless of the "system".
Shannon
Yeah, "Italians always seem to be looking for a fight"?! Oh wait, no, that's completely rubbish. The ultras aren't representitive of the Italian population. We're just missing one or two players. That third CM to partner Dembele and Sandro will turn things around. It's alright, Pritchard will be ready in a couple of years.
SamParadise
I hear you Moscovite but the press especially in England are just****s. They write crap about anyone and everyone, AVB vs Harry in the media is a losing battle. The sooner Harry gets a job where the press can write about him the better. The good news for us is Chelsea sacking Di Matteo and Mancini under pressure at Citeh, this will take the spotlight off of AVB for a while.
yiddyboy
Moscovite - If you're going to post at least use your own words rather than stealing quotes from media articles.
Hot_Spur
I was referring to the fans, not the Italian population.
Metal Spurs
Another waste of time... Ox really this trash should never be published
Mix26
I'd be a lot more impressed by AVB if he began his revolution / evolution or whatever you want to call it by creating what all consistently successful teams have -a strong defence. I've followed this game all my life and although I don't claim to be a coach or master-tactician I do know that most really good teams are built on a solid defence. 'You get 3 we'll get 4' is the most stupid, fatuous philosopy in the game. In recent games our defence has been ripped apart by simple angled passes behind the defenders. We're so bad that every team we play fancies their chances of scoring against us - and they're right. We're much too easy to beat, a soft touch. So I'd have more faith in AVB if he noticed the obvious and f***ing well did something about it. Whether the players aren't good enough, or the defensive tactics aren't good enough, or a bit of both, it's down to our extremely well-paid manager to get it sorted out. Making your team hard to score against and hard to beat doesn't guarantee trophies but you sure won't win any without that. AVB - the defence sucks and it's losing us loads of points SO START FIXING IT.
willmacb
Hot_Spur, this post was about the content not authors' rights. Read it again and if you have got something to comment on then please do. If you don't (and it looks like you've got nothing meaningful to contribute) then just keep "your own lack of words" to yourself.
Moscovite
I think the reason things have gone this way, is because the players got lazy under HR, lack of proper training, lack of set piece practice, lacl of tactical training, etc, so when a manager comes in who does all these things, the players have got so used to HR's OK lads just go out fu(king run around a bit t5hat they don't know how to do it properly any more. So not only has AVB got to get them to think his way, he has to re-motivate them to train and teach them how to play a tactical game again. Also he has to win over the WHOLE squad, including the disaffected ones who want/ed out. In other words everyone who was not a HR favourite. A huge task made even more difficult for him especially as he seems to have been lied to and then hung out to dry by the likes of Levy and co.
chrishove123
So why are dempsey and Gylfi not AVB's players? these 'mediocre' players were bought under him...along with Lloris and Dembele...so are you saying he has no control over players signings? no player veto? that's not very shrewd is it? nor would it be very shrewd to deliberately play a system that could get you sacked before the next window...so he's not being shrewd...what was the other option again???
shedboy2
You can't be 4real chrishove 123!!!
Ossie
To the title perhaps we should add struggling. Incidently I find it mildly amusing that the poor signings ie. Sigurdson ad Dempsey are not "AVB Signings" whereas when we signed Saha and Nelson to "push us into the CL" they were blamed on HR, when in fact all 4 have Levy's finger prints all over them, they fulfill his criteria to a tee, cheap, cheerful, and crap. That's what you get with a genious DOF.
Frank
Ossie Why not? Under HR they got mentally and physically fat   and lazy. Now they have to start to do some REAL work, they   are not up to or for it. It's like not using a muscle, it loses it's power. That's what's happened to our players. They got soft underHR and now it's time for them to put some real effort in.
chrishove123
Ossie The other thing I'm saying is that you inherit a squad where most of the players don't feel wanted or regarded as surplice to requirement you are going to have a lot of unhappy players on your books. What them? You can't sell them on cz no one wants them, you can't sack them cz they're under contract, loans are pointless cz they're still on your books as your player. You can't do anything with them apart from win them over and tell them it is a meritocracy not a dictatorship now. At least they'll feel they may have a chance of playing now. Happier players happier dressing room, team, players, manager, supporters, because the results are starting to come. All down to a bit of psycology, which is these days an even bigger part of management than ever.
chrishove123
Chrishove123, whether wanted or not, the squad that AVB inherited had finished in the top 5 for 4 seasons (before somebody mentions Modric, we managed almost a complete season without him during that run). Most managers take over a club in crisis, because the previous manager has presided over on field chaos, or complete disaster. This guy has had 2 jobs in England, and in both cases he has followed in behind a successful regime, I hope THIS time he can push onwards and upwards.
Frank
the clue is in the word....MANAGEr...
shedboy2
I just think AVB doesn't want to slate any player off in front of the press and his philosophy is 'positivity' believing in the players even if they are not performing, not slating them putting them under more pressure. I prefer AVB press conferences than HR boy did he talk a load of crap, entertained the media to get them on his side which was clever for HR but bloody awful for the club and fans.
thfan
 

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