Andre Villas-Boas has had a difficult time with Tottenham over the last few weeks but his team’s 3 – 1 win over West Ham United at White Hart Lane will have given him some seeds of encouragement. The win lifts Spurs above West Ham United and level on points with Arsenal. Spurs are in 7th position with another home match against Liverpool on Wednesday evening. A manager can take positives and negatives from every game but on this occasion the pluses greatly outnumber the minuses.
As he expressed in his post match press statements, Villas-Boas was pleased with the Spurs’ display.
“It was a good 90-minute performance, very solid, and we kept creating. It’s difficult to defend long balls and crosses into box, but the boys did extremely well to handle the situation.”
- Villas-Boas’ team selection coped comfortably with the known threat and expected style of play brought by West Ham.
- Michael Dawson returned and was a strength to the team at the back when faced with the aerial challenge from Andy Carroll.
- Hugo Lloris is making himself the undisputed number one in goal – which is hard on Brad Friedel who has done nothing wrong but Lloris is the long-term future for Spurs.
- Clint Dempsey who has taken some time to settle into the team had his best game for Spurs since joining from Fulham in the summer. He hit the bar and provided the assist for Gareth Bale’s goal and was also involved in the build up to Jermain Defoe’s second goal.
- Jermain Defoe continues to maintain his scoring form with the first goal which settled the nerves at White Hart Lane being such a special individual effort. It’s fortunate for Spurs that Defoe has found this rich vein of form especially with him having been the only available striker for so much of the season so far.
- Kyle Walker has had a difficult season, unable to find the same level of performance that so impressed everyone last year. Against West Ham, however, like Dempsey, he had his best match of the season. He was efficient in defence and looked more confident going forward.
- Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon again showed how much of a threat they can be to opponents when they are provided with the ball.
- Mousa Dembele continued his return to fitness with a ten minute run out.
- The win over West Ham halted the three game run of defeats in Premier League matches.
- It also ended the losing run at home in the League following defeats to Chelsea and Wigan Athletic.
- The 3 – 1 win was Tottenham’s home best performance of the season.
- The team played with a high tempo for much of the game, belying the fact that they had been involved in a high pressured game in Rome on Thursday evening.
- The players responded to the threat presented by West Ham – a defensive approach which invited Spurs to attack and then looked to counter attack. In the past Spurs have been frustrated by such tactics from visiting teams at White Hart Lane but they showed the patience that Villas-Boas so frequently talks about and found a way to break it down.
- The biggest disappointment for Villas-Boas will have been the inability to keep a clean sheet. Again, a lack of concentration late in the game led to West Ham scoring a consolation goal. If Villas-Boas is disappointed, Lloris was furious as it was a goal that should never have been conceded. A lack of communication between the goalkeeper and Steven Caulker presented Andy Carroll with the opportunity for his first goal for the Hammers.