Premier League: Stuttering Spurs to miss out on top six

Andre Villas-Boas' big match record in England raises alarm

Lewis Jones thinks Andre Villas-Boas' inability to keep clean sheets against the big boys will prove the catalyst for a season of failure...

"Tottenham’s inconsistency at home, where they have already lost to both West Ham and Newcastle this season, along with their woeful defensive record against top-four rivals, makes laying the 1.584/7 for Spurs to finish in the top six quite attractive."

The post-mortem examination of Tottenham's corpse in offices around the country on Monday morning following their 6-0 gutting by Manchester City wouldn't have been pretty.

Many Premier League aficionados will have noted that Spurs are no longer title challengers and Betfair markets agree as the north Londoners have drifted right out to 85.084/1 in the outright win market while their Manchester conquerors have strengthened at the head of the market at 2.767/4.

This autopsy will have also touched upon the ineptness of a Lilywhites' frontline that have now failed to score in three consecutive league games for the first time since January 2009. Twitter was ablaze with rage at half time regarding the performance of Roberto Soldado, who barely had a kick in his 61 minutes of action and has still only scored one league goal from open play since his big money move from Valencia.

But a pivotal point that has fallen way under the radar concerning Spurs is the continued incompetence of their manager to get things right against top-four teams. It is a trait in the make-up of Andre Villas-Boas that will continue to hold him back from taking that step from Europa League master to Champions League qualifier.

Since sailing over from Porto, Villas-Boas has never kept a Premier League clean sheet against top-four opposition whilst in charge of both Chelsea and Tottenham. These 18 clashes have averaged an almighty 4.2 goals per-game, highlighting a clear lack of understanding by Villas-Boas of when to play it safe.

Spurs' 6-0 tonking was the latest in a line of defensively stodgy showings from a Villas-Boas-managed team in the Premier League against one of the big boys and it was the second time this season they had lost to nil when playing a Champions League qualifier.

Arsenal powered five past Spurs last season in a 5-2 win, whilst when manager of Chelsea, the Portuguese gaffer oversaw a 5-3 defeat again against the Gunners and a ridiculously open 3-1 reverse at Old Trafford.

This regular theme of defensive incompetence in the big games is obviously a huge negative towards their chances of making the top-four, but only bulky wallet merchants can realistically make a lay worthwhile at the 4.84/1 market price.

However, Tottenham's inconsistency at home, where they have already lost to both West Ham and Newcastle this season, along with their woeful defensive record against top-four rivals, makes laying the 1.584/7 for Spurs to finish in the top six quite attractive.

It should be a straight shootout between them and Everton for sixth place, and at this stage, the Toffees bring far more reliable claims to the table.

Best Bet: Lay Tottenham to finish in the top six @ 1.584/7

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