If Andre Villas-Boas was meant to be rebuilding his reputation at Tottenham Hotspur, then so far he has a funny grasp on the concept of DIY.
The critics who lambasted him for his stint as Chelsea manager, where he was sacked after just nine months following a dismal reign, are already circling over the Portuguese boss after Tottenham’s stuttering start to the season and it seems like sections of the media have already decided they have it in for the 34 year-old.
Although that is typically knee-jerk, three games, two points and no victories doesn’t make for great reading for AVB, especially when home matches against West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City have yielded just a pair of 1-1 draws. But even if a little bit of pressure is being cranked up from outside the club – and some within football, too – it seems that the fans and, crucially, Daniel Levy, are (rightly) prepared to be more patient.
There has undoubtedly been a bedding in period for Villas-Boas, and Spurs have looked a long way short of being a coherent team thus far. But then again, the former Porto boss took over a team that won just 20 points from their final 15 games of last season to finish 10th in the form guide over that period, and seems to be upholding a recent Tottenham trend by being slow out of the blocks.
Spurs have been traditionally slow starters in August, which makes you wonder if Daniel Levy’s transfer window modus operandi (leave everything to the last minute) is having a detrimental effect on the team’s early season fortunes. Last season, Spurs suffered back to back thumpings at the season’s beginning as the absent Luka Modric agitated for a move. The year before they took just four points from nine, and one point from three games in 2008/09.
Spurs have so much talent, especially with the late additions to the squad, that it is only a matter of time before they click, and I expect it to be on Sunday when they travel to the Madejski Stadium to face newly-promoted Reading.
Tottenham are 19/20 to give AVB a first win, with the draw at 12/5 and the Royals at 11/4 and even though I don’t want to be on the odds-on about Spurs, there are ways of making an away win count.
Incredibly, this is Reading’s first Premier League match since 18th August, due to the postponement of their match against Sunderland and Chelsea’s involvement in the Super Cup, and it poses the question about whether that amount of time off will be a help of a hindrance to Brian McDermott’s men.
I am of the opinion that it won’t help at this stage of the campaign, when match full sharpness is still being sought by all the teams, and it could be to Tottenham’s advantage and with their undoubted extra quality, I fancy an away win.
But odds-on is short when Spurs haven’t truly fired yet, so I’ll be on the 7/4 that the Lillywhites win with fewer than four goals scored.
Considering they won the Championship, there were very few goals scored at Reading’s home games last year. Fans at the Madejski saw just 54 goals in 23 games at an average of 2.35, which put the Royals 16th in the goals scored table. And with Reading’s lack of match practice and Spurs still gelling, it could be another match that doesn’t see many goals and I think that 7/4 is a great way to get more value on a Tottenham win that I strongly fancy.
Recommended bet: Tottenham to win and under 3.5 goals @ 7/4
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