Tottenham Hotspurs suffered their worst home defeat under Andre Villas-Boas on Sunday – losing 3-0 to London rivals West Ham United.
In the aftermath of the game, Villas-Boas called the defeat ‘a wake up call’ and urged his team to ‘bounce back’ following the international break. However, I believe AVB was at least partially responsible for this embarrassing derby performance.
Possession-wise Spurs dominated the game, but struggled to carve out any meaningful opportunities and eventually fell behind in the 66th minute after Winston Reid converted from a corner.
The home side piled men forward in an attempt to force their way back into the game, but fell further behind after Ricardo Vaz Te bundled the ball into the net in the 72nd minute.
The rout was completed just seven minutes later as Ravel Morrison scored a superb solo goal.
Spurs fans left in droves, many booing as the players left the pitch.
Whilst I usually disagree with this type of behaviour, I feel on this occasion the fans were justified in venting their frustrations after such an abject performance.
The main factor behind Spurs’ lack of cutting edge was Villas-Boas’ decision to drop striker Roberto Soldado in favour of the in-form Jermain Defoe.
Although many fans had been calling for Defoe to start, the decision to change a winning formula baffled me, especially considering the physical nature of the West Ham team.
Defoe lacks aerial presence and has not had the chance to build up any kind of understanding with new signing Christian Eriksen, meaning the side lacked any cohesion or chemistry in the final third.
If Villas-Boas had wanted to change the side to introduce Defoe, then he ought to have also started Lewis Holtby behind him, who has played more frequently alongside the Englishman.
However, this may have not been possible following Holtby’s exertions in the Europa League tie on Thursday night.
As it was, Spurs were abysmal and the introduction of Soldado after 74 minutes was unable to affect the outcome of the game.
Despite this loss, Andre Villas-Boas remains a highly talented young coach and the correct man to lead Spurs forward.
Defensively prior to Sunday, Spurs have been incredibly solid, and will only improve as the season continues.
Winger Andros Townsend can take heart from another excellent display, frightening defenders with his direct running, and carving out Spurs’ only real chances.
I hope Roy Hodgson decides to select him for the forthcoming international matches.