Two weeks in a row, Tottenham have drawn 1-1 after conceding late equalisers against arguably lesser opponents. And two weeks in a row, André Villas-Boas has started with a lone striker before adding a second after a gutless first half performance.
So, with the international break soon upon us, Spurs fans will be hoping that two weeks off will allow their Portuguese manager to reconsider his recent tactical choices. But, a man as conservative – or stubborn, depending on your view of him – as Villas-Boas is unlikely to do so, no matter how needed that change may be.
The need for those changes were clear to see for all watching their home game against Norwich today. Without a win at White Hart Lane this season and up against a Norwich side who were thumped 5-0 away from home by Fulham on the opening day of the season, it would be fair to assume that Spurs went into today’s game with high hopes of picking up their first three points of the season and Villas-Boas’ first three points of his Spurs reign, but it wasn’t to be as a late equaliser from Robert Snodgrass meant that the North Londoners had to yet again settle for a single point.
A poor first half from the home side in which their attacking movements lacked creativity and penetration resulted in only one shot on target, Gareth Bale warming the gloves of Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy after half an hour before retreating back into the dark abyss of the Spurs midfield.
With the half time break came the boos, the White Hart Lane faithful showing their displeasure at a lackluster first half performance in which a gutsy attacking Norwich side pushed and prodded at the Spurs defence, with Russell Martin managing to hit the crossbar with a great headed effort after only eight minutes.
Brad Friedel, so often the difference between winning and losing with every club he has played at in a career spanning three decades, pulled off a string of important saves to keep the scoreline goalless when the two teams exited the field after forty-five minutes.
With the restart came new signing Dembélé, and Spurs immediately looked a different side, the Belgian adding the pace and creativity that they so desperately longed for in the first half. Gylfi Sigurdsson tested John Ruddy early on before Dembélé, the man of the day, put the home side 1-0 up with a great strike from outside the box with just over twenty minutes left to play, showing the 36,000 in attendance exactly why he was worth £15m they paid for him with fantastic movement, control and placement.
The grumbles subsided and Spurs momentarily looked in control, but Norwich responded with the pushing and prodding that had served them so well in the first half and an equaliser looked increasingly likely. The Canaries had a penalty appeal turned down when Steve Morison was seemingly brought down in the box, but the rejection seemed to only reignite the fire in the belly of the Norwich players, Chris Hughton’s men grabbing a well-deserved equaliser with only five minutes to go when Snodgrass fired in after Villas-Boas’ side seemingly attempted to slow down and “park the bus” after going ahead fifteen minutes earlier.
All hopes of a Spurs winner were crushed moments later when, only eight minutes after coming on for Jermain Defoe, Tom Huddlestone was given a straight red for a cynical challenge on Jonathan Howson. It looked probable that Norwich might then be able to force a last minute winner but Friedel yet again came to Spurs’ rescue.
Unsurprisingly, when the full-time whistle blew, the boos started once more. The AVB Revolution has arrived in North London from the West but it seems that few Spurs fans have to patience or willingness to be part of it.
And after two wins and a loss in their opening three games, it makes you wonder if this Revolution was actually ever needed at all.
Written by Ben Cullimore
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