The beginning of season 2013/2014 was one of great hope for North London giants Tottenham Hotspur. They finished the previous season in 5th place, just a mere 1 point behind their big rivals Arsenal. They may have lost their star player, Gareth Bale, to Real Madrid during the summer but after an investment of over £100 million in 7 new players and a dynamic manager in André Villas-Boas, the future was bright. Fast forward 4 months and following a 5-0 mauling at the hands of Liverpool, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy wielded the axe on the reign of the Portuguese man. Almost instantly, first team coach Tim Sherwood was appointed as interim boss and a few weeks later he was given a contract until the end of the 2014/2015 season. Whilst no one could begrudge Sherwood his chance, the treatment of Villas-Boas was viewed upon poorly by members of the football family.
It is nothing new for the manager to pay the price for the poor performance on the pitch by the players as club owners and chairpersons act in the face of frustration by the fans. Once the dust settles, on almost all occasions such as this, other managers and football stakeholders claim that they owner/chairperson in question should have shown a little more faith in their beleaguered manager. That being said, it should be no surprise though, that rumours have already begun regarding Sherwood’s future with a number of foreign managers being tipped to take over the hotseat before the beginning of next season.
So was Daniel Levy trigger happy? Does Tim Sherwood deserve his place as manager for another season and beyond? In order to try get some semblance of an answer, we compared the Spurs performances in the league under Villas-Boas with those under Sherwood. Starting at the beginning we saw that Spurs actually had marginally more possession under AVB than other Sherwood but not enough that would actually alter the style of the game.
Moving on to what the team did with their actual possession, we saw, again, there was hardly any difference in the number of attacks, good scoring chances, shots or goals between the team put out by AVB and that by Sherwood – this was actually quite surprising given the initial scoring burst by Emmanuel Adebayor following his reinstatement into the team after AVB’s sacking.
So there is not much difference in what the team did under the two managers, but what about how they did it? More often than not, a new manager means a new style of play but not in this case it would seem. The difference in style between AVB and Sherwood is actually negligible.
Finally, we looked at the various shots taken by the team and again there was not enough of a statistical difference that would alter the way the team played. In fact, the team took more shots, per game on average, under AVB than under Sherwood although the latter’s team did manage to score slightly more than those selected by AVB.
So after looking at the stats, we can see that there has not been that much of a change in the way Spurs played this season, pre and post AVB being sacked. This only strengthens the argument that it may have been in Spurs’ interest if AVB had kept his job, at least until the end of the season. That being said, he did get sacked and the fact that the team has not improved drastically, it does not bode well for Sherwood’s hopes of retaining his job for next season.
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