“The end is nigh?” “It’s Champions League or bust.” Just a sample of the tabloid headlines directed at new Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas last week, following his side’s failure to win any of their opening three league matches.
A 2-1 loss at Newcastle on the opening day of the season and a pair of 1-1 draws with West Brom and Norwich led to early-season pressure mounting. A trip to newly-promoted Reading was next for AVB and defeat would consign Spurs to their worst Premier League start since 2008.
Pressure? What pressure? None when Jermain Defoe is on form. The pint-sized poacher’s brace helped Spurs to a convincing 3-1 victory at the Madesjki stadium to the relief of his new manager.
It was a performance of purpose and conviction. Defoe, aided by the wing talents of Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale, dazzled, while the midfield triumvirate of Sandro, Mousa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson were fluid and dominant in suffocating Reading.
It was a performance that offered the neutral an example of just what Villas-Boas is trying to achieve at Spurs, and next up for his revolution is the visit of Mark Hughes’ stars of 2008, as QPR make the short trip to North London on Sunday afternoon.
Out of the handshake furore between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry, the R’s secured a creditable goalless draw against West London rivals Chelsea last Sunday, though they lost Andrew Johnson to a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury in the first-half.
Rangers are priced at 7/1 with bwin to net their first league win of the season at White Hart Lane, though that looks highly unlikely. They have managed just three wins on from their 21 Premier League away games since promotion in 2011, and they have only emerged victorious once from at Spurs since 1976.
Those still dubious of Tottenham’s credentials can back the draw at 29/10, but with Defoe on song and Emmanuel Adebayor waiting in the wings too, Spurs are well-priced at 9/20 for victory.
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