December 17, 2013

AVB’s unshocking, yet somewhat undeserved sacking

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

The axe has fallen at Tottenham, with Andre Villas-Boas’ head rolling out the door at White Hart Lane.

It looks like a 5-0 loss to Liverpool was just too much for the board room to bear and sacked the manager on Monday morning. While it’s not exactly a surprising move, it can be considered a bit questionable.

While that huge loss to the Reds was tough, it was mainly because Spurs had Paulinho sent off in the second half on a call that really should have been a yellow instead of a straight red.

But, you can also point out that Tottenham weren’t looking too good before that point, were already trailing 2-0 and failed to register a shot in the game. AVB had used his team’s final substitution just minutes before the sending off too, hurting his team’s ability to adapt to being down a man.

Was AVB doing a bad job though? Sure, Spurs sit tied for sixth with Newcastle but back on goal differential after spending roughly $110 million during the summer on new players.

But they lost one of the world’s best players in Gareth Bale and these new signings haven’t clicked yet. It should also be noted that Tottenham’s 15 goals are least by a team in the top half of the table by five. Heck, Luis Suarez has more goals than the entire team and he was suspended for the first five games of the season.

This sacking is also another piece of evidence that English teams don’t care for Europa League. AVB had led Spurs to a 100% record through the group stages heading into the knock phase, one of just two teams to do so.

Where Spurs goes from here is the real question. Heading into the cramped Christmas schedule, it’s very easy to climb the table but just as easy to drop easy points.

Whoever takes over needs to right this ship and fast, as finishing out of a European spot doesn’t appear to be an option any more.


It was a good weekend for fans of Manchester sides both blue and red. City proved its title-contending bonafides by running roughshod over table-topping Arsenal while United walked over Aston Villa in the midlands.

The Sky Blues potted six against the Gunners, who showed that there are some cracks in the armor. Even Per Mertesacker verbally undressed German compatriot Mesut Ozil after the match.

With the 6-3 win, City improves to 8-0-0 at home and now have a stunning overall goal differential of +29. For those counting, only three other teams have 29 goals total this season.

That big win came with a big loss though, with Sergio Aguero going off injured. If he misses any extended period of time – especially with the loaded Christmas fixture list coming – it could really hurt City.

As for the Red Devils, they got a much needed win and did so without Robin van Persie, who could miss up to a month with an injury.

In his place, Danny Welbeck got the start and scored twice against the Villans – his first goals since opening day.

After losing consecutive games at home, manager David Moyes needed this one to right the so-called ship. While beating Villa isn’t much to get excited about, United’s coming schedule is. With West Ham, Hull and Norwich on the horizon, life’s looking good for United.


Newcastle and Southampton fought to a very spirited and fitting draw. Both surprising clubs deserved the point and were literally willing to fight for it. After a harsh tackle late in the game, a fracas erupted on the sidelines that saw both goalkeeping coaches being sent off. Not often that you see something like that … Another thing that you don’t see every day is a ref getting smacked in the face and the player not getting a card. Just another ‘wacky’ sight in that game … It looks like craziness at the keeper position is a running thing for the Saints. Paulo Gazzaniga had a couple of mistakes that were reminiscent of injured starter Artur Boruc. Considering the goal coach was sent off, maybe he’s the issue … AVB wasn’t the only manager to lose his job this weekend: West Brom sacked Steve Clarke just hours after losing at Cardiff … Speaking of managerial changes, Crystal Palace is doing much better under Tony Pulis. I wouldn’t tap them to avoid relegation, but any manager that can get Marouane Chamakh to score on a consistent basis is doing something right … Final score: West Ham 0, Sunderland 0. Because you couldn’t expect any more or less from these teams really … Another questionable choice for the late game on Saturday in Stoke-Hull. Maybe schedule-makers figure that fans are drunk enough from the earlier games to think that this would be some passable football?


I really hope you captained Suarez this week, though I know many who didn’t. Scoring twice and bagging three assists and three bonus points netted the interim Liverpool captain a tidy 44 points. It looks like he doesn’t need either Daniel Sturridge or Steven Gerrard to make it rain points and he should be your captain from here on out, almost regardless of matchups.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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