Two Winners And A Total Loser At WHLBy: Robert Reed | February 10th, 2013
Firstly, if the latest news concerning Paul Gascoigne is correct then I’m sure I join the vast majority of you in wishing him the very best of luck in making a full and swift recovery. Some of my best football memories are down to that fella and I will always be thankful for them. It is therefore rather ironic that I had already chosen to start my article in this way..
Not since Gazza’s marauding brilliance in the ‘91 FA Cup run have I seen a player make this kind of impact at the club. It is getting to be game after game now that Gareth Bale is taking control and steering the team towards the promised land of the Champions League with his scintillating displays. In the last three games his individual brilliance has turned one point into seven.
That’s now thirteen goals in twenty six games from midfield; a lot more than Gazza ever scored in the league and the most a Welsh player has scored in a Premiership season. He sits fifth in the top scorers list and at this rate is on course to score twenty goals this season; a feat the club’s forwards have never achieved for us. Under AVB Bale truly is developing into the world class talent we all thought he could be.
Now, on that subject let’s just spend a moment on a brief summation of AVB’s progress; a half time report if you will. That odious wannabe shock jock cretin Adrian Durham of Talk Sport is constantly berating our manager, claiming he has done absolutely nothing to justify Spurs fans saying he is anything but clueless. Sure he has made some mistakes; some questionable substitutions etc, but I would point out the following.
With the likes of Kaboul, Modric and Rafael van der Vaart unavailable this season the club was in serious danger of going backwards, but it has maintained momentum with the marked improvements in the performances of the remaining members of the squad.
Many like to credit Harry Redknapp with turning Bale into the player he is; well if that is the case then those same people will have to admit that under the current manager he has found a consistency, eye for goal and ability to play effectively down the middle which he never had before Villas Boas arrived.
Prior to injury this season, Sandro emerged as statistically one of the most effective if not the most effective defensive midfielder in Europe. Jermain Defoe suddenly became a striker capable of leading the line on his own, and even excelled in the role he had previously been hopeless at.
Aaron Lennon is exhibiting some of his best football since joining the club, resulting in a deserved recall to the England squad and, while it is debatable as to how much of it was planned; the handling of Michael Dawson has seen his form improve remarkably since his return to the team (his penchant for unnecessary long balls notwithstanding).
There have obviously been teething problems, but they too have given me cause for optimism. It was much opined recently that we were a liability in the closing stages of games, and it is true that letting in last minute goals had become an alarmingly familiar trait. AVB admitted it was a problem, took deliberate and decisive action regarding training and tactics and not only halted the trend, but reversed it. Conversely we are now a serious threat in the closing minutes of a match.
Harry was always dressed up as the master man manager, but half the squad would have disagreed with that. While certain players might not have the warm and fuzzy feeling in their tummy that Uncle Harry gave them, Villas Boas seems to have fostered a better morale across the board. The squad is being rotated to an extent which is not harmful to it’s functionality, and you get the feeling that in this close season there will not be burn out of our best players when we need them most. Everyone seems content; everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Well, almost everyone.
Adebayor was booed as he came on yesterday; counter productive but what else can he expect. A lot of people have stood up for him in the last week, arguing in a well reasoned and heartfelt manner with the cynical likes of myself that the player is misunderstood and in need of our support and trust; a trust that he would repay given the chance. It didn’t take him very long to let those people down with his selfish and arrogant behavior.
He has a problem with Villas Boas (no surprise there), and the whole turning up late deal was a transparent attempt to undermine his authority. The way he has strung the manager along and humiliated him after he tried to cover for the player during his absence is reprehensible.
Some characters can be relied upon when the team really needs them, and will break their back for the cause. A character like Adebayor has it in his nature to see it as an opportunity to be vindictive and punish a team/manager for some petty grudge he has been harbouring.
‘Have me on the bench all season when I should have been first choice? Well, maybe now you need me I’m too tired. Maybe I have things to do on another continent as the club isn’t important enough, just like I wasn’t important enough when I should have been first choice.’
The manager’s crime is not rating Adebayor as highly as the player’s ego dictates is acceptable. That is the kind of attitude he has shown throughout his career, so nobody should be surprised.
There are reports that his behaviour in the last week has caused a lot of ill feeling from not only the management but members of the squad, but I hope for the sake of the team that this will all be forgotten as soon as possible. AVB is not fining the player, even though he deserves it, as it will only antagonise him and add to his persecution complex; the manager’s hands are tied.
In fairness when Adebayor came on he did appear to make a an effort, so hopefully he feels he has made his point to the manager and can get over himself. If he continues to show willing then the crowd will get behind him. Third is in our sights, even second is within five points now (I can dream, can’t I?). We need him, and we need him playing like last season when he knew he was in the shop window; an Adebayor who is up for it is a formidable weapon to have in the team.
Gareth Bale cannot do everything himself after all… OK, sometimes he can.
Follow me on Twitter (not compulsory) @RobertReedUK