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The Sherwood’s Spurs – Why It Deserves More Time Beyond This Season

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Tim Sherwood
Tim Sherwood

So there went Andre Villas-Boas, the wonder boy of football managers, and his duties was burdened upon then-unknown Tim Sherwood, who has been proving himself as another hidden talent in the world of football managers. From what we’ve seen for the past 2 months, I think Spurs under Sherwood deserves to be observed for at least another season, despite the shortcomings that still exists in the team.

One aspect that Sherwood has definitely brought to the Spurs that AVB couldn’t this season is confidence – psychological aspects play a significant role in any competitive games in general, and football is no exception. His quick establishment of a reliable goal-scoring source in the name of Emmanuel Adebayor has clearly lifted the Spurs’ overall confidence in front of goalies, and they’ve been able to score more goals from fewer chances, with other tactical aspects quite similar to those under AVB’s management.

By boosting the players’ confidence in scoring chances, while maintaining tactical prowess familiar enough for them to smoothly adjust, Sherwood has injected life back in the White Hart Lane, and all seems better than their first 16 games under AVB.


Another positives of Sherwood is that he seems fairly quick on addressing the shortcomings and attempting to find a solution.  The glaring issue that sprung up in their recent games, aside from their inexplicably slow starts in most of their first half of the games, has been their tendency to keep conceding crucial goals in their left side of the pitch.

Barring the goals conceded after Danny Rose was sent off against Manchester City, 6 of the 8 goals Sherwood’s Tottenham have conceded came from their left side, the other two being a 25-yarder from Adam Lallana, and a scorcher from Wilfried Bony off a deflected cross. All of the 6 left-side goals were match-defining moments – equalizers from Ricky Lambert and Danny Welbeck, first blood from Sergio Aguero that led to a 5-1 demolition, and stingers from Jonas Olsson, Shane Long, and Robert Snodgrass that cost valuable points to the Spurs.


Although it would be wrong for us to explain setbacks entirely through one specific aspect in a game of football, Spurs’ tendency to concede goals in their left side seemed like an issue that needed to be addressed – and Sherwood did exactly that in the last match against Cardiff City. Cardiff attempted very hard to attack Tottenham’s left side, almost as if they expected the Spurs’ left defense to be their weakness, and Sherwood anticipated it by deploying a more defensive-minded Ezekiel Fryers on the left, with center midfielders and even wingers all supporting the left-back against Cardiff’s barrage.

With the players’ combined effort, Tottenham effectively nullified Cardiff’s strategy, the majority of their successful tackles coming from the left side of their half. The match showed that Sherwood does have the ability to assess and resolve his team’s strengths and weaknesses promptly and effectively, and the tactical victory against Cardiff would give fans and players of the Spurs reassurance that their manager is more than a mere interim coach.

Cardiff’s action map (left) and Tottenham’s tackle map in Tottenham vs Cardiff game, March 2nd, 2014
Cardiff’s action map (left) and Tottenham’s tackle map
in Tottenham vs Cardiff game, March 2nd, 2014

The shortcomings still remain to be solved in Sherwood’s Spurs; the team still has a habit of phasing out during matches; they haven’t won a single game against the current top-four team throughout this season; games against 3 of the top-four teams, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool are on their way this month, and there is a 6-point gap between Spurs and the top-four. It would be difficult for Sherwood’s Spurs to claim the Champions League spot at the end of this season. However, the capabilities that Sherwood has been demonstrating since his takeover as the Spurs manager leads me, as a football fan, to believe that he deserves at least another season to plan and build his team, regardless of the result he achieves at the end of this May.

Stats courtesy of squawka