The start of Andre Villas-Boas's tenure as the new manager of Tottenham was met with a disgruntled and unhappy reaction from some fans.
The thought of a manager who failed at Chelsea becoming the new boss at the helm didn't sit well with the White Hart Lane faithful, and you could excuse them for fearing the worst - or that all of Harry Redknapp's work would be undone with star players Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart both leaving the club.
That feeling was only emphasised when AVB's start in his new job cultivated only one point in his first three games, with draws at home to Norwich and West Brom, while an opening day defeat away to Newcastle was not the start the Portuguese coach was hoping for.
The two home draws were particularly unsettling with AVB's tactical nous coming under serious question. Leading both games 1-0 deep into the game, eyebrows were raised when instead of trying to kill the game off Villas-Boas made cautious, defensive substitutions in both games with a midfielder coming on for the sole striker. Rather than looking to kill off the game, Villas-Boas wanted to hold his lead; this ultimately resulted in two points dropped in each game.
Just when the pressure was mounting on Villas-Boas, a run of four wins offered a quick reprieve, however, with comfortable victories over Reading and Aston Villa, along with an impressive away victory at Manchester United.
This seemed to be the start of a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for the Portuguese, only for the following five Premier League games to herald four defeats; including a repeat of the humiliating 5-2 defeat at Arsenal the following season along with an embarrassing 1-0 home defeat to Wigan.
That was topped off with defeats to title challengers Manchester City and top-four rival Chelsea. It was cause for concern for Villas-Boas, that despite their victory at Old Trafford, Tottenham struggled to pick up points against the best sides while also having a very disappointing home record in front of a frustrated crowd.
Villas-Boas was really struggling to endear himself to the Tottenham faithful. This was a club clearly in transition with the departures of two key players in the summer, while having a mass overhaul with Lloris, Vertonghen, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Adebayor and Dempsey the new arrivals.
It was starting to become a very different Spurs side; out with the flair, grace and creativity of Modric and Van der Vaart and in with the industry, power and direct nature of Dembele, Vertonghen, Sigurdsson and Dempsey while still possessing the likes of Gareth Bale and Sandro.
This team was very different from Redknapp's counter-attacking side relying on the wing play of Bale and Lennon and with the ability to to dictate the tempo and control the game while start attacking with Modric.
Now Tottenham start a new season with a lot of new faces and their transfer activity looks unlikely to cease. The acquisitions of a 20+plus goal-a-season striker in the form of Soldado; which was essential, a player who offers more depth in wide areas in Chadli, a goal-scoring midfielder who also offers energy and power in Paulinho, along with Capoue who offers versatility, either in defence or as a midfield pivot.
“We haven’t finished,” said the Portuguese coach. “I think we have a very good squad and we have obviously already had some activity in the market, but we are a looking further. There is a possibility."
AVB was quoted as saying according to the Express. Those signings along with the probable acquisitions of Willian and Lamela stand Spurs in good stead even if Bale departs for Real Madrid.
But it isn't just the personnel that Tottenham are bringing in that looks bright for their future. Villas-Boas is finally stamping his authority on the club. The philosophy and ideologies that AVB has implemented throughout his career seem like they will now be taking effect at Tottenham.
His Porto side adopted a 4-3-3 with Falcao, Hulk and Rodriguez as the forward three; this terrorised many clubs across Europe and domestically.
He tried to adopt the same system at Chelsea, but unfortunately to no avail. Now Tottenham look likely to adhere to this formation with Soldado the focal point and Willian and Lamela potentially flanking the forward.
In the engine room there is Paulinho, Dembele and Sandro as the pivot. A functional midfield possessing power, pace and tenacity. The same characteristics of former AVB teams.
This is a team on the up. Not just with the personnel acquired, but with the style and identity of the club. No longer is it Redknapp's side and Tottenham will also feel the positive effects of that too - and not simply due to the quality of personnel coming through the door.
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