When Tim Sherwood got the Tottenham Hotspur job full time there were some eyebrows raised. Sherwood may have been coaching the Tottenham youth team but it's a big step up from coaching the youth set up to managing the first team.
This is especially so since the White Hart Lane gig is a big one. You hate to use the phrase sleeping giant but if someone gets the Spurs job right it's not just a question of Champions League qualification but of challenging for the Premier League title.
The questions around Sherwood's appointment went further than just commenting on his lack of experience though. Pundits looked at his 4-4-2 tactics and wondered if he was tactically astute enough. Would his teams not get out passed and out fought in the midfield battle? Doubly so since Sherwood was putting his faith in a 19-year-old Nabil Bentalab.
Tottenham's performances have gone a long way to silencing the critics however. In the Premier League Spurs have gone undefeated in six, winning five and drawing one.
Doubters haven't completely gone away however. Much of Sherwood's success seems to be based on picking Emmanuel Adebayor along with the boost that a new manager often offers clubs. Additionally, in the cups Tottenham were knocked out by a relegation threatened West Ham side and then in the FA Cup to arch-rivals Arsenal.
That FA Cup defeat to the Gunners represents Sherwood's only outing against a 'top' class side that is in form. In that game the potential weaknesses of playing a only two in central midfield were exposed by an Arsenal side that packed the midfield with a lot of technically gifted players.
The fact that Sherwood didn't anticipate Arsenal's passing strength in his team selection for a derby game away from home isn't a great advert for his tactical acumen. The Arsenal game though came quickly for Sherwood and it's far too early to have a bearing on his tenure as a whole.
Going into the Wednesday night game against Man City at home we will finally see whether Sherwood has the tactical smarts to be a top flight manager. He has been manager for getting on two months. More importantly with no weekend cup game to prepare for the Spurs side he puts out should be both fresh and as tactically prepared as possible to face free-scoring City.
Tottenham's game against Manchester City will be the acid test of Sherwood's management.
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