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Monday Moan: AVB right to blast Spurs fans

Mark Holmes backs Andre Villas-Boas' complaint about Tottenham's fans and suggests Manchester City are struggling almost as much as United.

Last Updated: 28/10/13 at 13:05 Post Comment

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AVB right to want more from fans

Andre Villas-Boas has come in for some criticism after suggesting Tottenham effectively played away from home in their 1-0 win over Hull City on Sunday due to the lack of support from the White Hart Lane faithful.

However, the Portuguese is quite right to pick up on a problem that exists throughout the leagues in English football: there is very little 'support' offered by home fans.

Instead they expect to be entertained and to see their team win handsomely. Boos ring out from the stands if the team is not ahead by half-time and, as Nani found out at Old Trafford on Saturday, even individual players can find themselves booed off the pitch if their performance is not deemed to be good enough by the paying punters.

Anybody that pays to enter the stadium is entitled to behave however they want, of course, but quite what any Manchester United fan thought they were achieving by booing Nani is anyone's guess.

And fans of Spurs or any other club wanting to see their side break the deadlock in a game should think about what they can do to help make that happen. Sitting on your hands and booing in disgust most certainly does not.

City fortunate to escape scrutiny

Ask for opinions on the two Manchester clubs and most people will tell you that United are seriously struggling under David Moyes and face a fight to make the top four, while City have looked superb at times under Manuel Pellegrini and are one of the main title contenders.

Neither of those statements are necessarily false, but, following a win for the former and defeat for the latter at the weekend, only two points separate the two sides in the fledgling Premier League table.

In truth, United's come-from-behind win over Stoke City did little to mask the problems that have arisen under Moyes - the champions looked likely to go a third home game in the league without winning until Marko Arnautovic's withdrawal for the visitors - but there is a distinct lack of talk regarding a crisis down the road at City, despite another disappointing away performance at Chelsea on Sunday.

It fits the media narrative to pick up on Joe Hart's mistake (yet largely overlook the part Matija Nastasic played in the goal) but little has been said since the game regarding City's remarkable reliance on Vincent Kompany, the shaky performance of Martín Demichelis on his debut or the midfield's inability to translate good possession into clear-cut chances against a decent defence.

Furthermore, the defeat means City have won only one of their five away games in the Premier League so far this season, and Sunday was not the first time that Pellegrini's selection suggested he had under-estimated the strength of the opposition's attack.

City, though (sorry, City fans) are not the big draw that United are as far as the media is concerned. As a result, you should not expect their problems to be publicised quite to the extent United's have been any time soon.

Why no Amorebieta outrage?

On the subject of media narratives and agendas, it is quite remarkable the lack that has been said and written about Fulham's Fernando Amorebieta punching Southampton's Dejan Lovren in the backside on Saturday.

That is not to say I believe it was a heinous crime - regular readers will know I am not one to be outraged by such scuffles in the heat of the battle - but the lack of faux outrage expressed since the game perfectly highlights the extent to which the media shapes perception of teams, players and managers.

Had Liverpool's Luis Suarez committed the same offence, for example, it would undoubtedly have been headline news, and fans would be quick to express their opinions on the Uruguayan's 'disgusting' antics.

As it is, neither Fulham, Amorebieta or Lovren are likely to sell many newspapers or rile fans on phone-ins, and the incident has already been forgotten by those that were even aware it had taken place.

Jones wrong to rule out Fer goal

We are regularly told that referees cannot use their common sense and must instead follow the letter of the law in a bid to avoid inconsistency.

Such a policy makes sense, but Mike Jones clearly did not abide by the rules when he disallowed Leroy Fer's goal for Norwich against Cardiff City on Saturday.

It would have been an even bigger story had the goal stood and Norwich won the game, of course, but that does not excuse Jones' decision to rule it out for no good reason.

Cardiff had kicked the ball out because of an injury to Alexander Tettey and, as is almost always the case, Norwich were expected to pass the ball back to their opponents rather than play on following the throw-in.

That Fer instead shot towards goal goes against the spirit of the game but neither he nor Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who clearly waited for Jones to signal before taking the throw-in, broke any rules.

In forcing the throw-in to be retaken Jones prevented an outcome that would clearly have been unfair. He may have expected to be praised for his actions.

But instead he has proven that referees can use their common sense when necessary. He may want to think about that the next time he prepares to harshly punish a team because of 'the letter of the law'.

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