Would Tottenham Hotspur Fans Accept a Boring but Successful Team?

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Would Tottenham Hotspur Fans Accept a Boring but Successful Team?
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur teams of recent years could be criticised for a few things.

Mediocre, perhaps, before the reign of Harry Redknapp, and under him tactically naïve, then in Andre Villas-Boas' first season in charge they were labelled over-reliant on a single player in Gareth Bale.

And a characteristic of the team, and one rival fans have derided Tottenham's supporters for, has been a tendency for dips in form at crucial times of the season, costing them Champions League qualification twice in as many years.

But rarely could anyone describe Spurs as boring.

Late goals, drama, moments of individual brilliance and, under Redknapp in particular, an attacking style which bordered on the cavalier, have been features of many matches in the last five or ten years.

In his second season, Villas-Boas' new-look team do not appear to have lost the ability to score a crucial late goal.

They have twice found the net in the last 10 minutes in the first 10 Premier League games, after which they sit fourth in the table.

But in those games, Spurs have scored just nine goals overall. Of the league's top 14 teams, only Hull City have scored fewer. And three of those Tottenham strikes have been penalties.

On each occasion, Roberto Soldado's spot-kick has given them a 1-0 win, most recently against Hull City at White Hart Lane.

After that game the 'boring' label cropped up. Spooky, writing for The Metro, is not critical of the current team.

But he admits: “Spurs supporters expect fluid attacking football. We were not exciting last season. We’ve had little so far this season.”

And another blogger, on Vital Football, describes "much of our play under Villas-Boas as being a little dull—lacking both pace and imagination at times."

The manager himself has said he is not worried by the lack of goals, according to Sky Sports.

He said: "The chances are coming and sometimes they go your way and the opponent is not there to stop it.

"The team is creating more chances and more shots. I carry on about all the good statistics and others about all the negative, and there will be debate."

The 0-0 draw at Everton on Sunday, in a game of little goal-mouth action, will have added to the debate. It will not have convinced fans frustrated at the lack of fluidity in the final third.

Villas-Boas called the result “a good point,” and it would be hard to fault his tactics in a fixture which Spurs have lost in the last three seasons.

As throughout the season, the side looked defensively sound, had good shape and ability to win and retain the ball, and managed six efforts on target compared to Everton's one.

But the lack of clear-cut chances created at Goodison Park has been a feature of most matches this season.

Tony Marshall/Getty Images
Roberto Soldado has been starved of service up front for Spurs

Soldado had the only real opening and has had very little service to feed off. Perhaps this explains why he has scored just one league goal from open play despite his £26 million price tag and a record of 101 strikes in 207 matches in Spain.

There is hope that as he, other newcomers such as Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Paulinho, as well as emerging talent Andros Townsend, gel together, more chances and goals will come.

It seems hard to believe that a team that can leave out Lamela, Jermain Defoe—scorer of 90 league goals in his time at the club, and Gylfi Sigurdsson, scorer of a third of those Tottenham have managed this season, can continue to struggle in front of goal.

And even if they do, maybe Villas-Boas' tactics and the team's defensive solidity will be enough to keep them in the league's top four by grabbing the odd goal.

But will such a pragmatic approach be enough for Tottenham's fans, known for their love of attacking football?

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