On Saturday, Tottenham Hotspur will host London rivals Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Under normal circumstances, this match would be full of intrigue and would be an important measuring stick for either side on their way to a top four finish. This season, however, there is an added layer of intrigue. I'm speaking, of course, about Andre Villas-Boas. The former Chelsea manager is now the head coach at Tottenham Hotspur and the media are having a field day with this fact.
I don't know if there's enough time or space to link to every single article from a blog or mainstream media source that seems to believe that Villas-Boas is "out for revenge against Chelsea". The "redemption" of Andre Villas-Boas has been a common narrative since the Portugese manager was hired this off-season. The beleaguered manager was returning to the Premier League to right the wrongs done to him by Chelsea and Roman Abramaovic and he was going to take great pleasure in proving the press, the fans, and most of all Chelsea wrong.
To Villas-Boas' credit, he has said many of the right things from the start. He talks about building Tottenham Hotspur about targeting top four finishes and Champions League football. I don't think that AVB has uttered the words redemption or revenge even once. He's barely even discussed his time at Chelsea. He's often characterized this season as not an individual quest, but a quest of what the team want to achieve at the end of the season.
That really seems exactly like what this season is. A quest. Have you ever seen a happier team than the one that left the pitch after the Manchester United match? I can't seem to recall a Tottenham squad that has, at least outwardly, been more harmonious. The club actually seem to be enjoying football. Everyone loves the new manager and everyone loves winning football matches. Will it really matter to Gareth Bale that AVB was sacked by Chelsea? Probably not. What will matter to Bale and all the rest is winning this match and taking another important step on their "quest".
Yes, Chelsea fan and the media will make this match all about Villas-Boas, but for the manager himself and his Spurs team, this match is about claiming a scalp from the unbeaten league leaders. It will be about beating a team that prevented Tottenham Hotspur from spending this season in the Champions League. It will be about continuing a hot start to the season that has already seen Tottenham beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.
There will be plenty of analysis of this match from both our site and We Ain't Got No History, but one thing you won't see much talk about from us is this AVB narrative. For me, and I think I speak for most of the rest of the staff here, we care much more about the club winning matches than we care about our manager getting revenge or redemption and I'm pretty sure that's what it will be about for AVB and the rest of the club too. I wouldn't have it any other way.