There is no doubt in saying Harry was all but untouchable on December 22nd 2011, Tottenham Hotspur had just gone on an 11 game unbeaten run 10 of which they won and were sitting 3rd in the Premier League two points above Chelsea. They had no major injuries, the senior players were full of energy and looking sharp largely due to the fact senior players were rested during European nights whereas their top four rivals could not afford this luxury. Things were perfect; Spurs who many had expected to finish behind Liverpool were challenging for the title.
At this same time in West London, Andre Villas-Boas was fighting to keep his job at Chelsea. His senior players were beginning to grumble about his team selections as they slowly adapted to his tactics, his frustrations were showing as he began losing his cool with the press and on top of all that competing in The FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League had his aging squad stretched to the limit. However; Chelsea were still sitting a mere two points behind high flying Spurs with a win rate average only 0.24 points lower per game. Despite being less than one win away from overtaking a side that had won 10 in their last 11 Chelsea deemed him a failure and sacked him shortly after; can someone please explain how this can be described as a ‘Disaster’? Especially when you consider he was using a largely inherited squad with pressures to play Roman Abramovich’s new toy Fernando Torres.
Spurs’ form was not to last much longer though, on February 26th they were about to gain what can only be described as a ‘pathetic’ five points from their next nine games.
Now before this slump, Villas-Boas had been sacked while Chelsea lay two points behind Spurs, after this slump at the end of the season Chelsea were five points behind Tottenham playing a style of football described by many as ‘Anti-Football’ and yet the young tactician is seen as the failure. If Chelsea had stuck with him and they had kept up their win ratio in the Premier League Chelsea would have finished over six points above Spurs in 3rd.
I don’t want to take much away from Chelsea; the grit they showed in their Champions League campaign was admirable and it did wonders in protecting the Premier Leagues reputation after awful performances from Manchester United and City in Europe. However, let’s face it; it’s not often Lionel Messi misses a match-winning penalty like he did against Chelsea in the Champions League or the efficient Bayern Munich miss 42 of their 43 goal-attempts. The Champions League win of Chelsea’s did nothing but pave over the cracks in a thin layer of plaster. If you look under this layer and imagine if Bayern had scored one more of their 43 goal attempts would Roberto Di Matteo still be a success and Villas-Boas a ‘Disaster’, as described by Mr Durham on talkSPORT.
Can we just step back and remember Villa- Boas finished his FC Porto campaign unbeaten picking up almost every trophy possible on the way at 32 years old.
There is no denying he made mistakes at Chelsea, especially when you look at his high defensive which simply did not fit the defenders and the mess he made in front of the media. However at 34-years-old should Chelsea not have stuck with him and at least let him have a true stint in the transfer window? Given him a chance to ‘build’ a squad and ship out much of the dead wood Chelsea are now replacing anyway or will be in the very near future?
I know last season felt a disaster to many Spurs fans and now some look at the appointment of Villas-Boas as another ‘Ramos Revolution’. But I ask you this, which I hope, shows you how far the club has progressed:
Five years ago, if someone had said players would begin signing for Spurs over Liverpool and a nearly world class centre-back would turn down Champions League football at Arsenal to join the North London side they would have been mocked.
Well I say…
Welcome Mr Sigurdsson and Mr Vertonghen.
The future is bright, the future is Lilywhite.
This article originally appeared on Football Speak
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