André Villas Boas was given a new lease of life when we gave the Portuguese manager the job at White Hart Lane. AVB had big boots to fill, Harry Redknapp had done a wonderful job for us, getting us top four twice and having a wonderful run in the Champions League in 2010/11. The sacking came as a shock to most, and the appointment of AVB was maybe more of a shock, the bookies favourite being the now Manchester United manager David Moyes.
André had a bad start, and the questions about his future were already being shouted around, ‘sacked by Christmas’ being the general feel. Draws at home to Norwich and West Brom being the worst moments in a hard month for AVB. We weren’t really clicking together as a team, and AVB’s tactics and methods didn’t seem to be taken upon by the players. A difficult start.
Our form seemed to change a lot when we picked up our first win at Reading, and then what is now one of the moments of the season, the win at Old Trafford. Opinions on AVB were starting to change, the ‘wonder boy’ from Portugal was back. We hit a streak of wins, nobody was questioning AVB anymore. The tactics he had to beat teams were precise, and specific to the team we were playing, it was all about getting points, game by game, and as a fan, it was a joy to watch.
Top four, the ultimate aim, we were dreaming of an awesome finish, but we got a little carried away, if you looked back to the start of the season, we lost some of our best players, Modric, Van Der Vaart and losing our captain Ledley King through retirement, was always going to be hard. The fact that we are still in with a shout with 2 games to go is extremely good, and it’s down to André, he has been superb.
Injuries also hit us very hard, Kaboul who was my personal player of the season last year, has been out all season, and this is a massive blow, defensively he is our key player. Also, Sandro has been out for half of this season, the best CDM in the Premier League in the first half of the season, and a candidate for player of the season, out for the rest of the season. Scott Parker came in as a replacement, and he hasn’t been the same as last year, so it’s been a huge blow. I miss the beast. We missed Mousa Dembélé for 6 weeks, and Aaron Lennon has been missing in quite a few games, so the fact we are even close to top four is nothing short of a miracle.
If we get into the top four, and I still believe we can, as a club we will go very very far, but if we fail to achieve that goal, I don’t think it would set us back too far with Bale staying no matter what, and according to AVB, funds are available for the transfer window. André has been at the heart of our success this season, and finishing above teams that are of a very good standard in Everton and Liverpool and we are looking likely to beat the amount of points we got last season, this season has been a success, no matter how it finishes now. Keep the faith in the lads, it’s still possible. COYS, and Believe in André Villas Boas.