OPPONENTS Aston Villa 
DATE Sunday 8th January 2017
VENUE White Hart Lane
Aston Villa SQUAD 1.  Pierluigi GOLLINI
2.  Nathan BAKER
4.  Micah RICHARDS
6.  Tommy ELPHICK
7.  Leandro BACUNA
8.  Aaron TSHIBOLA
10.  Jordan AYEW
11.  Gabriel AGBONLAHOR
12.  James CHESTER
13.  Jed STEER
15.  Ashley WESTWOOD
18.  Libor KOZAK
19.  Andre GREEN
21.  Alan HUTTON

22.  Gary GARDNER
23.  Jordan AMAVI
25.  Mile JEDINAK 
26.  Jonathan KODJIA
27.  Ritchie de LAET
31.  Mark BUNN
37.  Albert ADOMAH
38.  Jordan LYDEN
40.  Jack GREALISH
44.  Ross McCORMACK
PREVIEW An FA Cup draw against Aston Villa is not quite what it used to be.  Lingering mid-table in the Championship, Villa have suffered after being relegated from the Premier League and have found the division they have landed in not as easy as it might have appeared. 

Having disposed of manager Roberto di Matteo, they called upon the more tried and trusted Championship hands of Steve Bruce.   The Villains recent record isn't bad, but the games they have won they haven't been too convincing in, so, with striker Rudi Gestede having left for Middlesbrough, it makes their attack a little lighter, although he wasn't flavour of the month with Bruce anyway.

Unfortunately, years of financial mis-management has meant that the players attracted to the club had not been of sufficient quality to perform at the top level.  Chopping and changing managers had also taken its toll on the squad and paying the bosses off when it didn't work made further dents in the club budget.

They managed to hold onto the young midfielder Jack Grealish, who is perhaps their one "star", while Alan Hutton is still there, along with Micah Richards, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Jordan Ayew, but they lost a lot of players when they went down (Brad Guzan, Idrissa Gueye, Ciaran Clark and Scott Sinclair), and the replacements, brought in for Championship record fees have failed to live up to their price tags.  Former Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak is heading towards veteran status, Ross McCormack has one well with other Championship sides, but not cut it in the top flight.  Albert Adomah joined from Middlesbrough as they went up, while Tommy Elphick was deemed surplus to requirements at Bournemouth having helped them up into the Premier League and Ritchie de Laet the same at Leicester City, having helped them win it and getting Middlesbrough promoted while on loan.  One player who has made a bit of an impact is Jonathan Kodjia brought in from Bristol City and he has an eye for goal, while James Chester has taken the armband as he forms the rock in the middle of their back four after making the move form West Bromwich Albion. 

The club apparently turned down GBP25 million for Jordan Amavi, which might have been a mistake, as the money could have been used to beef up a light looking squad.  Some responsibility has been handed to the next generation coming through the ranks, with Aaron Tshibola a signing from Reading, while Andre Green and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy are Academy products. 

Spurs did the double over a poor Villa side last season and while they have little to lose in this game, their priorities lie elsewhere this season and the battle to get out of the Championship might be become distracted by a Cup run.  Spurs are set to make a number of changes, with fringe players getting a chance to impress Pochettino, but there will be a strong bench, just in case things start to go awry.  I don't foresee Villa stopping Tottenham progressing, but they will want to show that they can still give a Premier League team a decent game.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    3         Aston Villa    1
LAST SEASON'S MEETING For a look back at the match report, click here.
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Aston Villa
Erik Lamela remains out with his recovery from a hip injury, but expect Pochettino to make changes ot the side to rest some players who have played throughout the busy Christmas/New Year programme.
Aston Villa TEAM NEWS :
Jordan Ayew and Jonathan Kodjia are both on African Cup of Mations duty.  .

BBC1 - 16:00 (live)

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 15.00 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  2 (0)                                                                       
FA Cup Third Round
Sunday 8th January 2017
White Hart Lane
Aston Villa  0 (0)

Kick off 16:00
Davies  70m 45s
Son  79m 55s




Crowd :   31,182 Weather :  Rainy, mild
Referee :  Mike Dean (Wirral) Assistant Referees :  Mr. D. Eaton; Mr. A. Nunn
Fourth Official :  Graham Scott  
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 5 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Aston Villa : kit
13  Michel VORM

  4  Toby ALDERWEIRELD  (14  Georges-Kevin N'KOUDOU  70)
27  Harry WINKS

15  Eric DIER  (c)
29  Harry WINKS

16  Kieran TRIPPIER
17  Moussa SISSOKO  (25  Josh ONOMAH  84)
  7  Heung-Min SON 
33  Ben DAVIES 

  9  Vincent JANSSEN  (20  DELE Alli  60)

Unused subs: 
30  Pau LOPEZ

12  Victor WANYAMA


21  Alan HUTTON
12  James CHESTER  (c)
  2  Nathan BAKER

37  Albert ADOMAH  (19  Andre GREEN  77)
  8  Aaron TSHIBOLA
25  Mile JEDINAK  (39  DAVIS  77)
  7  Leandro BACUNA

11  Gabriel AGBONLAHOR  (44  Ross McCORMACK  77)

Unused subs: 
  1  Pierluigi GOLLINI
  6  Tommy ELPHICK
15  Ashley WESTWOOD

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :   Steve Bruce
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Quick Books
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Tottenham went into the hat for the Fourth Round draw of the FA Cup after disposing of an unambitious Villa side, who said they wanted to cause an upset, but the only upset was the sight of dispirited Villa fans departing in the 70th minute after singing early on about the empty seats that spotted White Hart Lane.  The gaps were due to the lack of quality opposition, as the pricing was reasonable and considering our visit to Villa Park in March was to a half empty home section, it was a bit preposterous.  The only atmosphere that day was the vitriol hurled towards their absent owner and when Spurs fans joined in, they were only too happy to welcome our contribution.

Today, it was different, as they were underdogs in an under-league.  Changes in the Spurs side saw only three regular starters take the field Alderweireld, Son and Dier among the others who were getting a run-out against Villa. Apart from a couple of players away on African Cup of Nations duty, this was pretty much a full strength Championship side. And this was what Tottenham faced. Gone was the Villa that would have made life difficult for a fellow Premier League team by playing with a bit of intent. The only intention was not to be on the end of a hiding.

During the first half, they provided resistance in the form of closing down and getting behind the ball. They showed very little going forward, with one shot straight at Vorm from Bacuna that the keeper took watchfully, as it skipped up off the wet turf in the 29th minute.  That was the first shot on target in the match and Spurs moved the ball well enough, but could not get a clear effort at goal.  Bacuna had spent a lot of the first half on the floor and the second claiming to have been fouled by Spurs players, having been replaced as the person to go to ground by Grealish.  He really is a tart of a player.  Goes down easily, when nobody has touched him and when he is not good enough to stay with a player, shirt-pulls and niggles.  His quickly taken free-kick in the second half, in an attempt to catch Vorm out of position was a game changer.  Not because it went close.  It didn't.  It missed by a mile, but it did lead to Tottenham's open goal.

Just before Villa's shot, Trippier took the ball off the weak Bacuna and sent Son in on the right side, but as he was about to shoot Amavi sliced the ball off him and in the process, almost sliced it past Johnstone, but the ball went wide for a corner.

Tottenham found getting through the combined bodies  in claret and blue more problematical.  Not because they were defending that well, but because the number of changes brought a lack of understanding in the pattern of play.  Janssen was working hard, but coming short to receive the ball and this meant that he wasn't in the middle to receive the sort of passes he needs to start scoring.  Without Alli and Eriksen, the chances do not get provided for him.  Moussa Sissoko showed flashes of what he is able to bring to the team, but other moments showed him in a poorer light.  One early run was halted unceremoniously and referee Mike Dean took to heart the chants of the away section about him being a Spurs fan, giving Villa the majority of marginal decisions.

While Davies and Trippier were getting into space on the flanks, the crosses were not finding their targets and in the second half, they would need to make more telling use of the ball from these positions.  Some boos from the crowd was a strange reaction, but then a lot of people in the crowd were not regulars and fail to see the bigger picture.  Because we beat Chelsea, we should be rolling over teams like Villa ... obviously.  Phil Beal was the half-time guest and always gives good value with his inside tales of the early 1970s, when he was imperious in our defence.

The second half started with Janssen finally testing Johnstone.  The Dutchman did well to hold off opponents and pass through to Son, who stopped it for Janssen to curl a shot at the keeper.  He had to be up on his feet soon after, as a long through ball didn't reach his penalty area and he had to hoof it out as Son closed him down.  Too often our crosses into the box were easy for the giant goalie, but at the other end, they were coming in a bit lower and Adomah did well, but there was no Villa player closing in on it in the goalmouth. 

When Dele came on for Janssen, it looked to have knocked the striker's confidence, as he traipsed off, head hung down and the game changed.  Not because of Dele himself, but his understanding with his team-mates and Vincent doesn't yet have this, as he has only had bits and pieces appearances, with no regular run in the team.  Letting the ball run to Son, who knew he was going to do it, linking with Davies down the left and  spraying play around, Villa started to get stretched.

on the right to belt a rising effort that was heading for the top left corner of the keeper's net until he threw up a hand and pushed the ball over the top.  This wasn't without pain though as he lay on the turf after the save holding his leg, but it only turned out to be cramp.  Cameron Carter-Vickers was having a good game at the back, winning the ball in the air and stepping in to read passes that came forward to their front player, but he had time to get forward to stoop to head a cross from a  corner that had been cleared, although it went wide.  He was soon doing sterling work in defence, as Hutton got on the end of a diagonally played free-kick and headed it into the six yard box.  Baker went for it and Cameron made a good block, but the ball ran free to Agbonlahor, who shot, but Alderweireld made a great block to stop Vorm being troubled by it.

It seemed to wake Spurs up a bit and they started playing with a bit more pace, as Davies drove a cross across the face of goal with nobody to apply the telling touch and then Winks was set up with a shot that took a deflection and all the pace off it.  Then came Grealish's 40 yard free-kick that went wide, while his team-mates who had trolled forward scowled at him.  From the goal-kick, Spurs produced a ball forward into the box for Dele.  He played it back to George-Kevin N'Koudou, who had just come on and he hit a cross that was a bit behind the white shirts, but one arched backwards in the middle  and managed to glance the ball across the goalkeeper and in at the far post.  That player turned out to be Ben Davies.  What was he doing up there ?  Well, whatever it was, it was good to see him finally net his first goal for the club and it broke the resolve that Villa had been showing.  He had started the move and carried on his run to the edge of the six yard box.

Dier fancied himself today and hit a free-kick into the wall before later having a shot at goal that he got all wrong and it squirted off his boot to go a long way wide.  Sissoko worked a good position on the left, taking Davies' pass neatly past the ineffectual Baker before firing a shot tight to the line.  Johnstone beat it away and kept Villa in it for another minute.  That was all it took for Sissoko to work a couple of one-twos with Trippier before looking up to pull a low pass square for Son to sweep the ball home from eight yards out past a defender and the keeper.  2-0 did not flatter Spurs for their possession and dominance of the game, but they had few clear opportunities. The goal came after a long spell of passes and was a good reward for the  patient build-up.

Sub GK almost set up Josh Onomah (another sub), with a neat run and a fizzing low cross, but the Spurs midfielder could not reach it, with another chance coming his way moments later, as the goalie pushed out Dele's cross and he got there at the same time as Baker, but the ball hit him and bounced wide.  Villa sub McCormack had two chances from free-kicks but got on on target with the wall in the way and the second was lifted over the wall and the crossbar too.  Spurs came closest to getting the third goal of the game, when, in added time, when Onomah broke through a tackle and passed into Son. As he went towards goals, Johnstone came out and threw his large frame in the way of Sonny's shot and soon after the corner, the final whistle went.

A good outcome without it being the greatest performance.  It was a useful exercise in terms of getting players playing time, getting through to the next round and also resting some of the more established starting XI.  The use of the ball was more efficient in the second half and Villa were tiring, after having to run after the ball so much in the first 45.  And congratulations to Harry Kane and his partner Katie Goodland on the birth of their first baby last night - a baby girl - which explained his absence.

The team struggled to find a fluidity of play, but won out in the end, in not the best of style, but again, winning when you are not at the peak of your form is a good asset. 

Onto another Midlands side on Saturday in West Bromwich Albion and the same outcome would be most welcome.

Jeff Blakeley




Aston Villa were the first club in the country to introduce time share options with season tickets.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
West Ham United London 0 Manchester City 5 Friday
Accrington Stanley 2 Luton Town 1 Saturday
Barrow 0 Rochdale 2 Saturday
Blackpool 0 Barnsley 0 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Crystal Palace 0 Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 MK Dons 0 Saturday
Brentford 5 Eastleigh 1 Saturday
Bristol City 0 Fleetwood Town 0 Saturday
Everton 1 Leicester City 1 Saturday
Huddersfield Town 4 Port Vale 0 Saturday
Hull City 2 Swansea City 0 Saturday
Ipswich Town 2 Lincoln City 2 Saturday
Manchester United 4 Reading 0 Saturday
Millwall 3 Bournemouth 0 Saturday
Norwich City 2 Southampton 2 Saturday
Preston North End 1 Arsenal 2 Saturday
Queens Park Rangers 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Rotherham United 2 Oxford United 3 Saturday
Stoke City 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Sutton United 0 AFC Wimbledon 0 Saturday
Sunderland 0 Burnley 0 Saturday
Watford 2 Burton Albion 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Derby County 2 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 2 Nottingham Forest 0 Saturday
Wycombe Wanderers 2 Stourbridge 1 Saturday
Chelsea 4 Peterborough United 1 Sunday
Middlesbrough 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0 Sunday
Liverpool 0 Plymouth Argyle 0 Sunday
Cambridge United - - - -day
Leeds United - - - -day



* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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