Spurs: Indefensible, Players Uninspired By Rigidity, AVB Has No Excuse

Inferior in every department, this Spurs capitulation was even more worrying than the 6-0 loss to City; will AVB get yet another chance to start afresh?
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Inferior in every department, this Spurs capitulation was even more worrying than the 6-0 loss to City; will AVB get yet another chance to start afresh?

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Every other defeat for Spurs this season - each one hard to take - was in some way defensible. The nil-one to Newcastle? Their goalie played so well he broke records! The West Ham nil-three? We were the better team for an hour, then they get two quick goals from lucky ricochets. The one-nil loss in Goontown? We had 57% possession - they were hanging on at home. The six nil at City? Teams just get thrashed at City.

But today... Today you looked around for anything to cling on to, any straw to clutch and there was nothing. Spurs were outfought, outplayed, out-thought and outclassed. From start to finish.

Nobody saw this coming. We’ve spent the last few weeks rebuilding our faith in AVB since the Manchester mauling. Some of the more snide press comments aimed his way galvanised his support among the Spurs faithful and the all too plausible tales of his unpopularity in  THFC boardroom also led many fans to leap to his defence. ‘Give the guy a break’ we said, ‘we’re still up there with the leading pack - he needs time to bed in the newcomers’ etc. Even his cheeky dig at the home fans for being too quiet earlier in the season had been largely forgiven.

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But as I write this on Sunday evening, no one is completely confident that he’ll survive the night such was the comprehensiveness of today’s abasement. If we’d had inferior players we’d have accepted being outplayed, but we didn’t. Even then, on our own ground we’d expect to match the opposition for commitment and drive. We did not.

Not that the players were lazy and lackadaisical exactly. They just didn’t seem to be unified around a clear plan. All season AVB has stuck rigidly to a kind of 4-2-3-1 formation but he’s rotated the personnel sometimes almost dizzyingly. Yesterday the players seemed unstimulated, as if they couldn’t find any more inspiration in the same old template. Against lesser opposition it might not have mattered but Liverpool came out the tunnel brimming with the very zest and ambition that was so conspicuously absent in the home team. The consequence seemed inevitable from the start. Tottenham didn’t even muster one shot on target throughout the game.

You might point to Paulinho’s arguably harsh red card when the score was just 2-0, but even AVB’s most ardent defenders probably won’t be bothered. When you lose 5-0 at home, you only compound the humiliation by looking for excuses. If he survives this result, he’s got West Ham back at the Lane on Wednesday and Southampton away on Sunday to to bounce back. It’ll feel like he’s starting all over again. Again.

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