Five observations on Tottenham's Aston Villa win

Tottenham Alex Pritchard

The final day of the season saw a comfortable 3-0 win over a poor Aston Villa side - but it left a lot of questions and uncertainties heading into the summer.

Tottenham superb in first half

The team's last game of the season produced one of their strongest home performances. There has been just one other game in which Spurs outperformed the 3-0 scoreline against Aston Villa - last months 5-1 demolition of Sunderland. In the first half especially, Tottenham, who have been notoriously slow starters in most Premier League games, were outstanding, possessing far too much for Villa in midfield and in goal threat and being rarely troubled at the back. Shockingly, Paulinho's goal in the 14th minute, bursting through the Villa's back line to fire home, was the first goal the club have scored in the opening quarter of an hour all season - they've conceded 9.

Sandro proved he has a future at the club

The Brazilian has been publicly squaring up to his manager over the last few weeks over his absence of first team football, with Sherwood stating bluntly that the defensive midfielder wasn't good enough to warrant a place in his team. Sandro came back into the side against Villa and immediately offered a natural balance to the central midfield areas. He did the dirty work as he sat in front of the Spurs back four, freeing Paulinho to break forward and have one of his strongest games of the season. 

Change in midfield system came a little too late

This return to a system where midfielders turned out in their more natural positions may have came a little too late. The whole side benefitted from having a natural defensive anchorman in the team, while Sigurdsson was more comfortable playing away from such a deep central midfield position too. Sandro missed a series of games the White Hart Lane outfit have lost or drawn over the last month or two, being on the bench or dropped from the squad entirely despite being fit. The away match at Liverpool, draw at West Brom and loss at West Ham were all games in which the side would have undoubtedly benefitted from his presence and what it would have meant for the rest of the midfield.

Emphasis on youth

Sherwood eschewed the chance to give run outs to expensive first team squad members such as Roberto Soldado and the returning Etienne Capoue, instead favouring some game time for 3 of the club's promising youngsters. This is sensible given how comfortable the result was for Spurs, and it is always good to see the likes of Veljkovic, Bentaleb and Alex Pritchard, who made his debut, make it on the pitch. But it also sends a message to the older more established players, who may have hopes, however small, of gatecrashing their countries' World Cup squads. Soldado in particular has barely featured in recent weeks, and it seemed a little as if Sherwood was treating him as someone else's problem.

Was this Sherwood's final game?

Which all comes down to the final question and one that has been on the radar for several weeks; does Tim Sherwood have a future at Spurs or was this his last game? If you listen to the former Blackburn man he has done a job "second to none," with the highest win percentage of any Premier League boss at the Lane, bringing the likes of Adebayor and the club's younger players into the fold, and an assertion that "if he'd been in charge since the start of the year the club would have made the Champions League." On the flip side to that is the fact he claims Spurs targeting Champions League football is unrealistic, his public, and some would say unnecessary criticism of players that has created disharmony among some of the club's top names, and a lack of tactical and positional improvement which has led to many of the problems remaining from AVB's days. Again on Sunday, Sherwood was full of jokes and banter interspersed with managing the team, but there will be some who feel the Tottenham manager should be a little more focused, a little more able to change things up from the touchline when the going gets tough, and a little tougher to predict than a guy from the crowd nailing his decisions and taking a place on the bench. Sherwood may make a good manager one day, but is White Hart Lane the best place to make his mistakes on the way to getting there?

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