While their London rivals, Arsenal and Chelsea, were busy doing battle in the Premier League match of the week, Tottenham stole a bit of the limelight by appointing Tim Sherwood as manager through the 2014-15 season.
From the team's official Twitter account:
The Club can announce that Tim Sherwood has been appointed Head Coach with a contract to the end of the 2014/15 season— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 23, 2013
Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas after the latter was fired following a 5-0 home loss to Liverpool on Dec. 15. Tottenham responded to the appointment of the interim manager by beating Southampton in their following Premier League game, 3-2.
Of course, players respond differently to interim managers than they do to managers appointed for the long term. Henry Winter of the Telegraph feels that is why Sherwood was given an extra year on his contract beyond the conclusion of this season:
Sherwood's contract "to end of 2014-2015 season" presumably also designed to send a message to #thfc players that he's more than a caretaker— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) December 23, 2013
Bear in mind, though, as James Pearce notes, Sherwood's appointment does not come without risk:
I wish Tim Sherwood well, but have concerns for man with no managerial experience working for Chairman with such high expectations— James Pearce (@Pearcesport) December 23, 2013
Even after losing Gareth Bale in the summer to Real Madrid, Tottenham came into the season with title hopes after using the Bale money to lure Paulinho, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli to the club.
But Spurs struggled out of the gate and scored just 15 goals in their first 16 Premier League games, making the strong offensive output against a stingy Southampton defence all the more promising.
Despite all of their struggles, Tottenham are still within striking distance of the league leaders, currently in seventh place but just six points behind table-leading Liverpool and Arsenal.
Should the team continue to respond positively under Sherwood, a Champions League berth and Premier League title remain viable goals.