Tim Sherwood has not exactly followed protocol since taking the Tottenham job.
The ‘Tim Sherwood meltdown bingo’ card started doing the rounds on social media on Sunday night in the wake of his side’s 4-0 loss at Liverpool.
Entries on the card include ‘starts watching game in the stands’, ‘no, wait, he’s down on the touchline’, ‘no, hang on, he’s back up in the stands again,’ and, of course, ‘throws fashionable gilet on the floor in a fit of rage’.
Say what you like about Sherwood, but he has certainly made things interesting on the sidelines since replacing the equally-maligned Andre Villas-Boas.
Gimmicks aside, though, it is on the field where Sherwood will be judged and a series of heavy defeats have not helped his cause.
Throw in Villas-Boas winning two games from two in his new post at Zenit and some Spurs fans have started to ask if they were better off with the devil they knew. With both men having taken charge of 16 Premier League games this season, we look at whether or not that is correct.
Despite their differing public styles — AVB’s clipboard and Tim’s clenched fist — their records are almost identical. Over 16 games, Sherwood has won nine to AVB’s eight, with five losses each. Sherwood’s points-per-game of 1.81 is higher (AVB 1.69) and over the course of a full season would bring in five more points.
Sherwood was lauded for bringing Emmanuel Adebayor back into the fold so successfully and the results are tangible. Spurs have scored 25 goals under Sherwood compared to 16 under AVB.
A dour front line was not necessarily AVB’s undoing, though. It was more their collapse-prone defence which, under Sherwood, has got worse (23 goals to 21). Sherwood has got Spurs from scoring 0.94 goals a game to 1.56, which makes a rise from 1.31 to 1.44 conceded worth it.
Here is the surprise. While Sherwood’s Spurs score more goals, they create far fewer chances. AVB’s team had 278 shots on goal compared to Sherwood’s 174 — a difference of seven per game on the averages. It could be suggested that under AVB Andros Townsend was both a regular starter and shooter. His impact under Sherwood has been diluted. Where Sherwood has got the edge on his old boss, though, is in conversion. It now takes Spurs seven shots to score where under AVB it was 18.5.
Sherwood has been criticised for a gung-ho approach and paying no attention to tactics. His Spurs side are more solid when it comes to giving away chances than AVB’s, though, facing less shots (185 to 206). The problem comes in keeping them out, with Spurs now conceding every eight shots compared to a previous 9.6.
Under AVB Spurs were perhaps in danger of becoming like the ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ side of old, scoring more than once in just four games — 25%. Sherwood’s men have done so seven times at just under 44%. That applies at the other end too, with Spurs conceding more than once on four occasions under the Portuguese compared to five under Sherwood.
If the stats are taken at face value then Sherwood could feel pleased to be doing a better job than a man with a far greater coaching pedigree than he. The eyes tell a different story sometimes, though, and the whole ‘Sherwood bingo’ sideshow has perhaps detracted a little from what has been a steady upwards curve for the former Blackburn player. Sherwood may also benefit from an easier run-in than most. The highest-ranked team they have left is Stoke (10th) and Sherwood has a great opportunity to pull further clear of AVB. If he does not take it, though, then the vultures may circle.
* MatchStory is the Press Association’s approach to driving insight from football data. More information about it can be found at matchstory.co.uk and on Twitter @MatchStory.