AVB, Holloway, Souness views, player success stats

Andre Villas-Boas was happy with Spurs opening performance against Crystal Palace on Sunday. The Palace defender shouldn't have had his arms in the air outstretched covering an area so there can be no complaints, not that that stopped Ian Holloway complaining of course.

"(It was) a good performance," Villas-Boas said. "There's always a surprise factor to Palace because of the amount of signings that they have brought (in) and the fact that we don't know them as well as the other teams so I'm extremely happy with the performance.

"We had good chances during the whole of the 90 minutes, chances to put the game to bed when we were 1-0 up, so I can only be pleased with the performance. We had to hang strong in the last minutes of the game to take it to the final whistle, but I think overall we were the deserved winners.”

He was asked if he though Soldado would score 20 goals this season - “Of course, I think so. His career speaks for [itself],” he said.

“You know, to see him so confidently step up and put it to the same side as he scored against Espanyol was important for us. So, good to see him out there, created some chances, good to see the forward coming in with that hungriness for goals that he has. So extremely pleased for the work that he did.”

"Most of these players arrived at a later stage – particularly Paulinho and Soldado, who had only two or three weeks with us.

"We can only see them and develop towards the future. Bearing in mind that for all them the Premier League is a different proposition to the leagues that they have played in terms of intensity and passion for the game, I think they did extremely well.”

He was asked about the central defence and would there by another signing there - “At the moment we don’t have lots of options in defence. We might still but we haven’t decided yet.”

One reporter tried his best to get news on Bale when asking is was the first match of the post Gareth Bale era and how did AVB see the team performing without him anyway? Andre spun him the agreed party line.

“The (way the) team performed, I just answered your question. The other question that you want to know and everybody else wants to know I’m not going to comment about. The player is injured and he’s not available for selection, and he’s not likely to start in neither the Tsblisi nor the Swansea game.”

Ian Holloway had his own views of course: "I'm a bit disappointed if I'm honest. We normally play a bit better and quicker and sharper than that with the ball.

"Did we get to grips with it quick enough first half? I expected us to do what we did, blocking up their spaces and I don't think their full-backs got forward as much as they normally do because we blocked a few things up. But I was disappointed with our lack of belief in our movement and our passing really.

"It was a completely unbelievably dubious handball. Was it deliberate? I didn't think he had chance to get out the way. Yes his arms came up, but he was diving on the floor." No he wasn't he was blocking standing tall with his arms up where they shouldn't be and in the rules if the ball hits them when they are in an unnatural position it is a penalty.

"You ask anyone, if you're falling, what happens to your arms? I've never seen anyone fall with their arms by the sides. I don't think he had a chance in hell of getting out the way of it." He wasn't falling he was stretching standing up, only falling after the ball had been stopped by his arm deliberately there for that.

Spurs: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose (Kaboul, 86); Dembele (Capoue, 57), Paulinho, Sigurdsson; Lennon, Soldado (Defoe, 83), Chadli. Unused subs: Friedel, Naughton, Carroll, Townsend.
Goals: Spurs - Soldado (penalty, 50).

Kaboul was given a few minutes on his comeback, Capoue was arguable the most impressive debutant when he came on after 57 minutes.

The team average pass success rate was 85%.
Jan Vertonghen had a pass success rate of 97% touching the ball 47 times.
Kyle Walker had a pass success rate of 86% touching the ball 114 times.
Michael Dawson had a pass success rate of 84% touching the ball 75 times.
Danny Rose had a pass success rate of 76% touching the ball 76 times.

He gave the same impression than Sandro gave in his debut, one of being a high quality player. The 'formidable four' of Capoue, Paulinho, Sandro and Dembele gives our squad a very strong look in midfield.

In 33 minutes, Capoue's made more interceptions (6) than West Brom (5), West Ham (5) & Sunderland (4) all managed across the whole 90 minutes of their games. He had a pass success rate of 90%.

Paulinho had a pass success rate of 91% touching the ball 68 times.
Mousa Dembele had a pass success rate of 97% touching the ball 36 times.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had a pass success rate of 84% touching the ball 68 times.
Aaron Lennon had a pass success rate of 88% touching the ball 53 times.
Nacer Chadli had a pass success rate of 87% touching the ball 70 times.

Sigurdsson was slightly disappointing, he should certainly have scored, but it's only one game and after being stuck out wide last season he has to take his chance now moved to the middle or the club will buy to replace him. Harsh I know but that's life at the top for you, you get a chance you have to take it, not moan that you need a run of games. He did OK, but OK is not good enough if you are the creative heart of the side behind Soldado.

Roberto Soldado had a pass success rate of 83% touching the ball 41 times.

Holtby is injured and will need to develop quickly this season to force his way into the starting line up. What it does do is give us the chance to rotate the squad and keep players fresher than they have been in previous years for the latter part of the season.

We attacked 48% down the right hand side, 31% down the left hand side and 21% through the middle. Walker touched the ball the most followed by Rose which indicates our desire to have them overlap down the flanks. Dawson was just behind with the option of bringing the ball out of defence, passing short into midfield or switching play to Chadli on the left wing. Some supporters complain about his long passes but it is what he is asked to do. If the ball is on we are immediately on the attack with space to exploit while the opposition have to all shuffle across the pitch.

Our shots came 67% from central, 22% from the left and 11% from the right. 50% of our shots were from outside the box, 39% from inside the 18 yard box and 11% from inside the 6 yard box.

We made 544 passes, 456 were short passes, had 24 crosses and played 64 long balls.

The game was played 32% in the final third, 43% centrally and 26% in our defensive third. Walker made 32 passes in the final third, 12 more than anyone else. At half time Graeme Souness said, "That's been the biggest threat for Tottenham, down this (right) side. They are there in numbers Palace and sooner or later someone is going to go to sleep."

The result a Lennon cross from the right is handled, penalty. Whilst Holloway didn't like it AVB thought it a wise decision. "I have been told it was clear cut, although I haven't seen it again. People tell me that just before that shout there was one on Paulinho as well so that's the information I have - that his arm was stuck out. Although it doesn't look deliberate his arm is quite some distance from the ball. The referee decided wisely."

AVB's view was interesting, "We spoke before the game how difficult it would be because of the surprise factor. Ian put his team together very well because he had three players very narrow just behind the striker, which we weren't expecting. That caused a bit of unpredictability and it was a tough game. We had some good chances to put the game to bed but, bearing in mind 90 minutes, I think we deserved to win."

So the first half of the game the players were having to think for themselves and work out how to play against a system they weren't expecting, which I have to say they did very well.

The game, being the first and away from home against a promoted side up for it, was all about getting a result while the players gel. The performance was efficient, nobody had a bad game, mistakes were made of course and Lloris saved us. He had as good a game as anyone although the Lennon/Walker partnership produced plenty of opportunity down the right flank.

Graeme Souness summed the game up for Sky viewers. "Today was exactly what you'd expect from Palace. They were spirited and they never gave up. But they were against a team that individually were better than them.

"I know they had three shots on target but I never really felt they were a threat until they made a few substitutions midway through the second-half. I think that's where they're going to fail or survive. Scoring goals is paramount in this league. You've got to be scoring goals at home to win games."

Three points, move on. Fly out to Georgia on Tuesday, game Thursday against Dinamo Tbilisi, fly back for a game on Sunday at home against Swansea.



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