It all started so positively, Andre Villas-Boas showed an immediate affinity with Tottenham and despite some reservations over his time at Stamford Bridge, most fans welcomed him to Spurs with a desire to see him bring success to the club and fulfill his ‘Tottenham project’.
There have been high points and lows during AVB’s time at White Hart Lane. His highs are ever so closely linked to the stunning season Gareth Bale had last year which ultimately led to his transfer to Real Madrid last summer. Unfortunately, the difficulties of this season and the heavy defeats and humiliating performances will stay long in supporters’ memories.
Journey Through The Highs and Lows of AVB at the Lane
- Booed After 3 Games
It didn’t start as well as we all had hoped. Defeat on the opening day at Newcastle followed by two disappointing home draws with WBA and Norwich who outplayed Spurs at the beginning of September and some fans showed their frustration with boos echoing around the stadium at the full-time whistle.
+ Victory at Old Trafford
Tottenham took United by surprise with their early pace and urgency to be two goals up after half an hour. The second half saw United make an immediate response but Clint Dempsey added a third and while United again replied Spurs showed the grit, endeavour and determination to hold on and win at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989.
- Defeat at the Emirates
Spurs started brightly and Emmanuel Adebayor gave them an early lead. His sending off changed the game but AVB failed to respond to the situation quickly enough as Spurs slipped to a second successive 5 – 2 defeat at Arsenal. It meant three disappointing league results in a row, having lost at home to Wigan and at City in the previous games.
+ Last Gasp Equaliser
Spurs were on an unbeaten run in the League which would stretch to 12 games, a record for Spurs in the Premier League era. The run looked to be coming to a premature end at a snowy White Hart Lane against a United team determined to avenge the defeat at Old Trafford. A goal down deep into additional time, Dempsey again produced the goal which frustrated Sir Alex Ferguson and earned Spurs a point.
- Cup Shock!
Spurs went to Leeds United in the FA Cup and were totally unprepared for the type of game everyone knew would come from Neil Warnock’s team. The home side battled away throughout the 90 minutes denying Spurs the time or space they wanted and thoroughly deserved their victory.
+ Excitement at Upton Park
As Bale’s influence and goals increased early in 2013, Spurs celebrated a last minute winner from their Welsh maestro. His second of the game was one of the most spectacular of a season with many outstanding goals as Spurs recovered from being behind with two goals in the last 14 minutes.
+ Record Breaking!
Twelve league games undefeated, a record for Spurs in the Premier League was achieved at White Hart Lane six days later against their north London neighbours. Two almost identically worked goals from Bale and Aaron Lennon within two first half minutes late in the half set Spurs up for victory over Arsenal.
+ Inter Overrun
A three goal cushion to take to Milan for the second leg of the Europa League tie with goals from Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen.
- More Disappointment in Liverpool
Spurs last league defeat had been at Goodison Park when they conceded two goals on 90 seconds in added time to lose 2 – 1 to Everton. At Anfield they recovered from being a goal down to score twice through Vertonghen either side of half-time. Comfortably in control, a mistake enabled Liverpool to equalise and then go on to win with a late penalty to end Spurs unbeaten run.
- Capitulation in Milan
With a three goal lead Spurs capitulated in the return game in Italy. With the score level after 90 minutes, in extra time Emmanuel Adebayor scored the goal which took Spurs into the quarter-finals on the away goals rule, Inter later scored a fourth.
- Defeat to Fulham
The season was tailing off with too many dropped points which were to prove costly come the end of the season. Dimitar Berbatov scored for the visitors and Spurs couldn’t break them down.
- Surprise Against City
Three goals in the final fifteen minutes revived Spurs who had been behind from the 5th minute of the game.
+/- Not Enough
A final day win over Sunderland with an 89th minute goal from Bale which would prove to be his last for Spurs. It took Spurs to 72 points, a record, but others results didn’t do them any favours and they were condemned to miss out on Champions League football on the last day of the season once again.
+ Roberto Soldado Debut Goal
Spurs opened the new season with an away win over Crystal Palace through a penalty from Roberto Soldado. It was a win which was a good start but there were worrying signs.
- Defeat at Arsenal
The single goal defeat at Arsenal showed the new players were not prepared for the intensity of a north London derby.
- Heavy Losses
No point on dwelling on the worst of the season. Performances were poor but they managed to scrape results. Heavy defeats to West Ham and Manchester City set alarm bells ringing about AVB’s tactics, team selection and even his relationship with the players and Chairman.
- Liverpool Has the last Say!
It was an opportunity for AVB’s team to stand up against a top side and demonstrate what they could do. The opening minutes at White Hart Lane set the tone for the game. Liverpool were committed, played as a team and scored five. Spurs weren’t and couldn’t handle the lively, hard-working Liverpool side with an eye for goal. In 90 minutes Spurs didn’t even manage a shot on target.
AVB’s time was up! A little over twelve hours after the final whistle, he was sacked.