The current Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood may be keen to highlight Arsenal’s failing push for a Premier League title, but he would be wise to concentrate on his own aims for the season.
“The result for Arsenal will paper over a lot of cracks,” he told reporters after the game, which left Spurs at 22/1 to finish in the top four. “They were outplayed. Credit to them but we out-played them and they’re title contenders.”
Spurs fans will take little solace from the comments though and with Spurs facing up to another season of upheaval and little progress, time may soon be up for Sherwood with the Tottenham boss 4/1 to leave next. Here are five reasons he may soon be on the way out.
The Benfica Bashing
Sherwood must have been optimistic about Tottenham’s chances heading into the first-leg of the last-16 clash with Benfica in the Europa League.
Spurs had gone 11 games unbeaten at home in the UEFA competition going into this encounter, scoring an average of three goals a game at White Hart Lane in this edition of the tournament.
But after an abject display and limp 3-1 loss to Jorge Jesus’ side, any hopes of silverware appear to have been all but extinguished.
The former Blackburn captain prides himself on “wearing his heart on his sleeve” – a quote that goes someway to explaining his continued love of the gilet.
But when said garment was thrown to the floor during the recent loss to Arsenal, Tottenham fans may well have been groaning in unison and the latest entirely unnecessary outburst from the inexperienced Spurs boss.
At the time, his criticism of the players following Tottenham’s 4-0 mauling at Chelsea was lauded as a breath of fresh air, but results have hardly improved since and the tantrum involving Benfica’s Jorge Jesus has hardly helped matters, leaving Daniel Levy wondering whether Sherwood has the class and temperament to manage a team of Tottenham’s stature.
A lack of experience
Andre Villas-Boas came under criticism from all corners at White Hart Lane for his failure to adopt a 4-4-2 formation while in charge at Spurs – a choice which may have boiled down to his personal disagreements with then-outcast striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
Sherwood was seen as the antidote to this, favouring that traditional system of playing two strikers come what may. However while he has excelled in bringing out the best in the aforementioned Togo international, Sherwood has struggled to adapt his tactics to the opposition and situation at hand, with substitutions proving one particular undoing.
The Spurs boss has also relied too heavily on youngsters like Harry Kane in the Europa League and Nabil Bentaleb domestically, despite the wealth of options available.
Spurs have picked up just four points from losing positions since the 45-year-old took charge, with their only other comeback win coming against Dnipro in the Europa League.
Fading hopes of fourth
A 1-0 defeat to north London rivals Arsenal may have been the final nail in the coffin of Tottenham’s Champions League hopes but the damage was done long before that loss to the Gunners.
Drawing 1-1 against Hull hardly helped matters while a woeful 1-0 loss to relegation-bound Norwich City was unacceptable for a team and squad of the stature available to Sherwood. With little hope of claiming fourth, the time to begin the search for a new boss is now.
Going into the weekend’s north London derby, Sky Sports News went to great lengths to highlight the disparity between the records of Sherwood and AVB at the helm of the White Hart Lane club – namely that the recently-dismissed Portuguese had done better.
In 26 matches AVB’s Tottenham won 61 per cent of their games, lost just 19 and averaged 1.68 goals per game with 0.92 conceded. Sherwood, meanwhile, has overseen 17 games, with Spurs scoring an average of 1.53 and conceding 1.18 with a win rate of 53 per cent and loss rate of 35.
Since then it’s only got worse for the Englishman too, losing 3-1 to Benfica and 1-0 to Arsenal.
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