ON SHERWOOD'S TASK AND AVB'S LEGACY
Strangely I can't bring myself to blame Tim Sherwood for this shocking result and appalling performance. The reason why? Quite simply there's too much of Andre Villas-Boas' legacy to overcome.
It took months for the players to understand AVB's game plan and tactics, and it will probably take that long for Timmo to get the players to un-understand them all over again.
He is also restricted by injuries to a lot of key players. Wingers Lennon and Townsend are out which leaves a barely performing Nacer Chadli and a very slowly coming up to speed Erik Lamela. The latter will hopefully blossom into a top, top player and he needs to be given the time and support to do so.
A great goal by Christian Eriksen was immediately cancelled out when West Brom scored from a free kick carelessly given away by the same player. Discipline and cool heads are one of many things Sherwood knows he has to work on.
Centre backs Kaboul and Vertonghen will make a difference when they are back. Vlad Chiriches was so out of his depth today that is he is simply not yet ready for the Premier League. And as much as we all love Michael Dawson, it's as if a switch has been flicked and the wonder player of a few seasons ago is now just too slow. He gets repeatedly turned inside out by forwards who know what they're doing, and also left for dead when a killer through ball sails past him. Occasionally he'll produce an amazing tackle but now it's not enough.
Younes Kaboul is a worry though. Too often he gets injured and is sorely missed for far too long now. So Sherwood needs to invest in a new centre back to go alongside Vertonghen in the next transfer window.
The midfield is also a major concern. Too almost identical players in Holtby and Eriksen played together for most of the game I think for the first time. Holtby occasionally came back to get the ball and start the move going but neither can play a killer pass to the forwards. Dawson's attempts at this go astray and Danny Rose nearly pulls it off, but the only player in the whole club that has this as part of his game is Tom Carroll, and he's on loan at QPR. So should Spurs also invest in a good, passing midfielder?
At last we are seeing two up front, but they need support and service which is slowly getting there but will probably only really get better when the wingers come back.
Perhaps the only two players who aren't a problem are the full backs, Rose and Walker. Danny Rose is a much better player after his loan spell at Sunderland, and Kyle Walker is quite simply the most important player we currently have. Losing him to suspension for the Stoke game will be a big loss. Hopefully Ryan Fredericks can come in and a do a good job.
It is good to see other young players starting to come through. French midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has played for Spurs at under 21 level and is starting to break into the first team. And young Swiss defender Milos Veljkovic appeared on the bench for the first time today.
Sherwood has to work with an unbalanced squad featuring seven new players that have barely woken up. We are spoilt, or were, remembering Jurgen Klinsmann coming out of the traps at a hundred miles an hour for his Spurs debut at Sheffield Wednesday all those years ago. That is the standard we probably judge all new players by at White Hart Lane.
If today's performance runs and runs, Sherwood won't last. But I think he can and will do better. He beat a better Southampton team a few days ago and can do it again. Tougher games may prove beyond him, but AVB didn't win any against the top teams either this season. At the same time though Sherwood has to get the players playing the proper way again. I believe he can and despite today's poor showing, I am fully supportive of him.
So good luck Tim and Come on You Spurs.
Follow me on Twitter at @BruceEJLewis
Copyright Bruce Lewis, 2013.
Copyright Bruce Lewis, 2013.
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