Might this be the best Premier League season ever? I’m not talking about the football but the compelling psychological drama surrounding the fortunes of the managers. Seven days ago David Moyes was being heralded a genius after Manchester United had demolished Leverkusen 5-0 in the Champions League while Andre Villas Boas was waking up in the Arctic Circle to confident media predictions of his demise as he prepared for a Europa League game that would precede a weekend showdown with the champions.
A week might be a long time in politics but it’s an aeon in football. This morning Moyes and AVB woke up in very different moods following Spurs’ win at Fulham and United’s defeat to Everton at Old Trafford.
Driving home from Craven Cottage last night I chuckled along to an impassioned and well constructed diatribe from a United fan who claimed that Moyes had been clueless from the day one of his reign and needed to be sacked as soon as possible.
And yet it could all have been so different. Watching Match of the Day later it became obvious that United could very easily have won and were undone by an unlikely late winner from Everton.
Earlier I’d stood in the cold at the Cottage sharing a palpable sense of dread with the Spurs faithful as defeat stared us in the face. Tottenham looked ragged and incoherent when Chirches took a 25 yard pot shot from a poor corner and the ball snuck inside the post to suddenly hand the momentum to AVB’s men with 18 minutes to go. Another goal from outside the area - that’s four out of four - gave Spurs the win, Lewis Holtby doing his best Gareth Bale impression by finding a late wonder-strike to nick the points.
Many will say AVB deserved his luck after the victimisation he’s been subjected to recently. But a sizeable chunk of the Spurs support will argue otherwise citing amongst other things another puzzling team selection. Once again Townshend was ignored with Lamela - not deemed worthy of a sub’s birth on Sunday - preferred to the England man. Despite Fulham’s atrocious form, Capoue was selected alongside Sandro to form the most defensive midfield line up of the season so far and Soldado was summarily dropped for Defoe.
But strange selections, incoherent play, over-reliance on the brilliance of the goalkeeper - who cares? We won! The heat is off AVB and it’s back on Moyes. In between times it was on Brendan Rogers following Liverpool’s ignominious defeat at Hull. Last night Rogers slept easy because one man, Luis Suarez, dismantled Norwich City.
AVB’s problem is that his stock of goodwill with the press and the board is smaller than his rivals’. The perception is that two defeats in a row could now be enough to see him gone. But if he can build on this new momentum to get the team playing with confidence and fluency he might start to mend these relationships. In the meantime, if the team can’t be good he’ll have to pray that it continues to be lucky.
@theodelaney is a writer and film director with @hotspur_argyle, a director of @fantasistaart and a regular contributor to the @spursshow