Aston Villa had the prolific Christian Benteke to thank as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur to move six points clear of the relegation zone. The Belgian now has eight goals in his last six games, but the real storyline came elsewhere at White Hart Lane.
It was the first time Villa boss Tim Sherwood had returned to his former club after he was sacked by Daniel Levy last May.
Although Sherwood resisted the opportunity to gloat in his post-match press conference, per the Guardian, his celebrations at the final whistle said it all. It was a truly memorable occasion and a high point of his short managerial career.
Indeed, the 46-year-old boasts the highest win percentage of any Tottenham boss in the Premier League era, with 59%, but it was not enough to hold onto his job at the end of last season.
On Saturday, he showed his former employers exactly what they have been missing since he left.
Mauricio Pochettino is an excellent manager, who has a very effective philosophy when it works but you have to have a Plan B, particularly when teams set up to counter attack like Sherwood’s Villa did.
Sometimes you can have too much structure to your tactics and you can give too many instructions to your players, much like Spurs on Saturday.
The decision not to give Christian Eriksen more licence to roam across the final third was a particularly strange one as he often looked ineffective on the left wing. The Dane has now failed to score in 12 matches, making just one assist in that period.
Whilst Pochettino is more strategic and meticulous, Sherwood is more motivational.
He has released the shackles on the Villa attack that was severely struggling for goals when he took over. Benteke’s form in particular has been sensational.
Sherwood has given his players plenty of belief which has made them much more adventurous than they were under Paul Lambert, meaning they are now almost certain to survive in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, from being in with a good chance of finishing in the top four last month, Spurs are now languishing seven points adrift, having played a game more.
Not only are they now out of contention but they have been left wondering what might have been, had they kept hold of Sherwood last summer.