It’s not the manager’s fault when a team conceded after only 14 seconds. However, Andre Villas-Boas is to blame when Tottenham have scored only nine league goals through 12 matches, some of them coming thanks to bad refereeing decisions, and it’s his fault Spurs completely fell apart at the Eithad stadium, playing without a bit of sense or caution and intelligence, getting destroyed 6-0, which could have been worse.
Where did it go wrong? The micro version would be relying too heavily on Sandro against a team that attacks too quickly to defend with a high line and no support from their attacking players. Tottenham went out to get a quick equalizer but as usual, their possession didn’t translate into goals or chances. Sandro was left behind too often while Paulinho and Lewis Holtby offered no help. Alvaro Negredo kept dropping back to help against the midfield trio, and was quick to join Sergio Aguero up front whenever Manchester City regained possession.
Sandro did get a wonderful tackle on Samir Nasri in, but there’s only so much he could do, trying to protect a slow Michael Dawson, looking uncomfortable in a very high defensive line, not to mention playing next to Younès Kaboul, who hasn’t been in the starting lineup for 15 months.
Caution? Not for Tottenham, as the talk of their inability to score goals has definitely hindered Villas-Boas’ decision making. He used his full backs like they’re wingers, which makes no sense against Manchester City, and especially with Jan Vertonghen, not a natural left back or a very speedy player, used in the lineup. Kyle Walker has never been too much of a quality defender anyway, and their forays forwards forced Dawson and Kaboul to cover too much space while Sandro kept dropping back to be a de facto third centre back, which didn’t really help them while Lewis Holtby, Erik Lamela and Aaron Lennon offered no help.
The bigger picture? Right now, Lamela and Soldado are huge flops, aside from short moments that makes it feel like they’re on the right path. Villas-Boas’ tactics work, but they worked better when Gareth Bale was playing for Spurs, which means that without one player playing well beyond his current ability, there’s no chance of a title challenge or even a Champions League spot.
Manchester City are a team Tottenham are trying to be like. No rich Middle Eastern savior, but no team spent as much money like Spurs over the summer, and it seems that they’re not shy of splashing cash on players over the last couple of years, trying to build too quickly, even if all the pieces they purchase don’t fit together into a puzzle.
Manchester City needed more than one or two seasons before an actual consistent, solid squad was put together, and they have greater financial capabilities. Andre Villas-Boas might be trying to play like he has all the world class talent in the world, but considering the injuries and the limitations, it might be wise to actually adjust his tactics and his player selections (too many changes each match as well) so they can finally win a big game.