Andre Villas-Boas has made plenty of changes since arriving at Spurs. New players, a new formation and also a new system are just a few of things the squad have had to get used to.
From our first five Premier League matches, it looks like the team are gaining a greater understanding of what the boss wants and the performances are improving.
That includes the way that we attack the opposition and how goals are scored. So are we beginning to get our goals the Andre Villas-Boas way?
The Andre Villas-Boas way to get goals
Under Harry Redknapp, Spurs were very much set up in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Gareth Bale wide on the left and Aaron Lennon out on the right. The team would try and get the ball to them, so that they could gain speed, dribble at defenders and then either shoot or put crosses in to the box.
Andre Villas-Boas has altered the formation this season to play with three forwards, which means that Lennon and Bale are playing in more advanced positions. Andre Villas-Boas likes one of his forwards to play as a natural winger, while the other is a wide forward who cuts in to the box.
Rather than get the two outside forwards the ball so that they can gain speed and dribble at defenders, Andre Villas-Boas prefers to get them the ball through the defence. That way, when they receive the pass they are in a much better position to either pass or shoot.
Andre Villas-Boas style goals at Chelsea
We saw this in AVB’s brief time in charge of Chelsea and we can see a few examples using Stats Zone.
When AVB’s Chelsea thumped Bolton 5-1 we saw a few examples of them getting the ball to the wider forwards through the defence to create or score goals.
Chelsea’s second goal in that game came from Frank Lampard, but after a very typical Andre Villas-Boas build up.
The ball is played around the back four and even returns to Petr Cech, as Chelsea look to retain possession, before advancing it through the midfield. Once Ashley Cole moves the ball out from the defensive zone, it travels quickly to the right side where Daniel Sturridge is found by a pass that splits the defenders. Sturridge, who was playing as the right-sided forward, can then easily square it for Frank Lampard to score.
Their next goal comes courtesy of Daniel Sturridge, as we see how Andre Villas-Boas likes the attacking wide forward to cut inside and score.
Sturridge cuts inside to receive a ball through the defence from the middle of the park. He is then in a position to freely move inside, before firing a strike in to the corner of the net from the edge of the area.
The following week, Chelsea hosted Everton and this time we get to see the left side of the front three in action.
Chelsea’s first goal comes after the ball is moved around the back four once again and advanced in to midfield on the right hand side to Daniel Sturridge. He then passes it back towards the middle and makes his way towards the penalty area.
Once it comes back inside, the ball is played to a cutting Juan Mata from the left-sided forward role, who squares it for Sturridge to score.
A cutting Juan Mata once more provides Chelsea’s third goal of the game. A pass slid through the defenders, so that he can receive the ball in the box on the other side, again finds the Spaniard in space. Mata then has the easy task of squaring it for Ramires to tap home.
Are Spurs starting to get goals the Andre Villas-Boas way?
It’s only five games in to this Premier League season, but we are seeing signs that Spurs are starting to get goals the Andre Villas-Boas way.
The boss has flipped his tactics slightly at Spurs compared to his time at Chelsea and Porto. For both his previous clubs, the wide forward who acted as a winger was on the left and the attacking forward who cuts in to the box was on the right.
So far at Spurs, Andre Villas-Boas has used Aaron Lennon as the natural winger on the right and Gareth Bale is the attacking forward cutting in from the left.
We are showing signs of scoring the AVB way in four of our eight Premier League goals so far.
In our opening match at Newcastle, we may have lost 2-1, but Jermain Defoe’s strike came after Aaron Lennon had been found with a pass in behind the Newcastle right back.
Lennon had switched sides with Gareth Bale, but got himself in behind the Newcastle defence to receive a pass through by Rafael van der Vaart. The diminutive winger then had time to pick out a cross for Defoe who scored after his header was pushed on to the post.
Against Norwich, we saw Moussa Dembele get his debut and score his first goal for Spurs.
The Belgian won the ball back just outside the Norwich area and slid a pass through the defence to Jermain Defoe who had moved out to the left side of the area. Defoe then returned the ball for Dembele to beat his man and fire across the goal in to the far corner.
It wasn’t the best example of an Andre Villas-Boas style goal, but the speed and quickness in the movement of the ball to play through a defence was.
The away trip to Reading saw us score twice from getting the ball through the defence to streaking wide players on the other side.
Our first goal came from Gylfi Sigurdsson picking the ball up in midfield from Moussa Dembele, after it had been out with Gareth Bale and Kyle Naughton on the left.
Sigurdsson then slid a beautiful pass through the Reading defence for Aaron Lennon to collect on the other side, before cutting it back to Jermain Defoe to score.
Our second goal that day also was created on the right, but this time from an overlapping Kyle Walker.
The ball had been out on the left with Gareth Bale and Kyle Naughton, before it came back to the centre with Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Bale then cut in from his left-sided forward role and played the ball to a cutting Aaron Lennon who once more had got in behind Ian Harte to receive a pass.
Lennon then played the ball to a cutting Kyle Walker who got to the by-line before pulling it back to Gareth Bale to score. The Welshman had remained in the centre after moving in from his left-sided forward position, much like we saw Daniel Sturridge doing earlier.
The goal was the second example in the match of the cutting and movement to pick up the ball after it had been passed through the defence.
Andre Villas-Boas has made plenty of changes to the way Spurs are playing football this season and the way we are trying to attack the opposition.
A new formation, playing a possession game and pressing are just a few of the changes, but so too is how we are trying to score goals.
Andre Villas-Boas wants our wide forwards to cut and receive passes through the defence. This is different to previous seasons, whereby our wide men were looking to play as natural wingers, who gain speed and dribble at the opposition in order to put in crosses or shoot.
Spurs may have had a few teething troubles, but the signs are there that the team are adapting to what Andre Villas-Boas wants.