Last week, Tottenham had a manager whose interviews were full of moans. Andre Villas-Boas felt things were unfair on Spurs – that 3 games in 6 days were putting his player’s careers at risk. With the latter part of that statement questionable, few could argue that 3 games in that short period of time were necessary. A schedule like that is more reminiscent of England’s hectic Christmas schedule than barely a month into the season.
The fixture list for Tottenham over the past 7 days of or so is indicative of the type of commitment clubs have to make to fulfill their obligations these days with the money from TV and media flowing into the pockets of English clubs in droves. The Portuguese is entitled to question why Tottenham were the only club to have to undertake this schedule but two realities far outweigh the inconvenience for Tottenham. First of all, it is doubtful that without the TV money being bounded about to clubs here and abroad he would have been able to sign the string of impressive players to have come through the doors at White Hart Lane over the past month or so. Secondly, players in this era and this stage of the season should be fitter than they ever will be- so playing 3 games in 6 days might be a strenuous challenge to me or you but surely not to a footballer that is paid millions to train their body into athletic condition then rest and recuperate.
Despite the negativity bounded about by Andre Villas-Boas about the schedule, in ironic fashion it has actually provided him with the chance to show that Tottenham are force to be reckoned with this season, not just in the league but on all fronts. 6 days, 3 solid wins, three clean sheets. Not exactly the sign of a club suffering fatigue. If you look closer at the three games, Tottenham were not really challenged by any three of the teams, despite needing a last minute winner at Cardiff on Sunday it was thoroughly deserved as Tottenham dominated throughout. At the same time, they have not needed to play out of their skin or do anything special. The concoction of these factors is reminiscent of title winning sides and trophy winners in general.
Tottenham’s men behind the scenes Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini have rightly been praised for the work they have done making sure the departure of Gareth Bale turned from a negative story for the Lillywhites into a positive one where the world record fee received was put to good use in signing a string of players that not only added quality to the team, but added depth too. Critics bounded about questions about how Villas-Boas would get his players to gel in such a short space of time having so many join from such diverse footballing backgrounds. But, in defiance of a factor bounded about that is increasingly looking mythological, the best players don’t need a settling in period. In addition, the elite do not need time to gel as a team- a world class player remains world class and putting these qualities together on a football pitch is to their advantage rather than their detriment. After all, it takes a team rather than an individual to truly be successful in football. One could say that was where Tottenham were going wrong last season, despite missing out on a coveted Champions League place by just one point, they would have been miles away if it were not for a string of remarkable performances from Gareth Bale.
This time round, it is hard to argue against Tottenham looking an overall stronger team in all areas of the pitch, and results have proved that thus far. The big question will be consistency, but with Andre’s men looking strong across the field it is difficult to leave them out of the favourites for all competitions they are entered into this season.