Andre Villas-Boas, Crystal Palace and Christian Benteke feature heavily in this week’s Three Conclusions from Gameweek 13 in the Premier League.
1. AVB under unwarranted pressure
After what was a perfectly satisfactory draw with current champions Manchester United on Sunday, it seemed unfair that Andre Villas Boas felt the need to launch a tirade against those who criticized him during the week. The modern day game allows for little surprise, especially in the manager merry-go-round and it’s just another somewhat ridiculous situation that after one freak result, the Spurs manager had, hypocritically in many ways, come under serious pressure from some sections of the media.
Spurs were poor last week at Manchester City but let’s look at it objectively. A massive scoreline is often made out to be more than what it’s worth. When Arsenal returned to Old Trafford, the scene of their infamous 8-2 defeat last season, Arsene Wenger talked about how the scoreline did not really affect his team soon after and the Gunners recovered to finish fourth that season. “There is an emotional aspect in a defeat like that, but the football aspect, as a manager, has no real meaning,” Wenger said, “There is no mathematical consequence. We lost a game, that is all. It was easy to explain.”
Wenger went on to allude the same conclusion after Man City went to the same stadium and won 6-1. Of course Man United recovered and should have won the title that year, but for throwing it away on the short run in.
Are Manchester City really six goals better than Tottenham? They were on the day but in the long run, most certainly not. When City visit White Hart Lane later in the season they will be marginal underdogs. Spurs are a team in transition, they’ve spent £100m on bringing a host of players in to replace one that was integral to their game last season, they are only three points off their main objective this season and they were arguably unlucky not to take all three points on Sunday. Villas Boas really shouldn’t have to deal with criticism.
2. Change of style the trick for Palace?
Okay so perhaps it’s not come as a surprise to many that Tony Pulis has immediately started the transition of strategy and style of play at his new club.
Certainly Pulis’s touchline manner was there for all to see during the 1-0 defeat to Norwich on Saturday – top to toe in club tracksuit, runners and a cap, bouncing around screaming for everything off players and officials. His centre-half, Irishman Damien Delany, confirmed that training had been a little different this week. “He’s big on set-pieces and they can get overlooked in the Premier League. We have been working on set plays both attacking and defending.”
For a team that under Holloway, had a first instinct to pass the ball from the back, it has to be a worry of how quickly they can change their gameplan. Certainly some of the players are not Pulis players while others will bemoan the transition to what some allude as puke football. It will be interesting to see how it works out. How long will it take to implement the new tactic and will it prove effective enough when it does to save the Eagles? That’s the main question.
Benteke Blues for Villa
After seemingly picking up exactly where he had left off from the end of last season at the start of this term, Christian Benteke has now gone seven games without a goal for Aston Villa. The Belgian striker was particularly insignificant for Villa on Saturday, where a 0-0 draw at home to lowly Sunderland resulted in a booing off. Certainly two different injuries have halted any sort of momentum Benteke had tried to build up but he is under pressure to perform for Villa now, who have drawn a blank in five of their last seven Premier League games.
Ronan Groome. Pundit Arena.
Featured Image By Vinnyman1 [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.