|DATE||Sunday 13th March 2016|
|PREVIEW||No preview produced.|
|PREDICTION||Aston Villa 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
|Last season's corresponding fixture|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :|
|ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS :|
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
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Sunday 13th March 2016
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)
Kick off 16:00
Kane 44m 56s
Kane 47m 11s
|Crowd : 32,393||Weather : Sunny, mild|
|Referee : Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. G. Beswick ; Mr. M. Perry|
|Fourth Official : Craig Pawson||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 6 minutes.|
|Aston Villa :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Carles GIL (
9 Scott SINCLAIR 70)
10 Harry KANE
|Manager : Remi Garde||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : QuickBooks||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Macron||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Not having been a regular away-day traveller for a while, it is some years since I last visited Villa Park. The grandeur of the red brick facade at the Holte End stands in stark contrast to the shabby rag-bag of people in claret and blue shirts that ran around without really giving Tottenham much of a problem in a straightforward 2-0 away win.
That proud red wall was the backdrop to a huge stand that was peppered with large swathes of shiny claret and blue seats glinting in the afternoon sun. Somewhat different to the Yellow Wall of Dortmund a few days before, but at least it was easier to get into Villa Park. It was only chatting to home supporters outside that you get the full impact Randy Lerner has had on the club. Many had only gone to get their frustration off their chests and had been resigned to another desperate defeat in a season of gloom. Many had said this had been coming for five years, so poor had the decisions which had been made on managers and players. And the whole saga of Joleon Lescott Tweeting a picture of a GBP 125,000 car just as he was on his way home from a 0-6 defeat to Liverpool has made the fans jeer him and feel that the rest of the team are cheating them with their lack of heart in the performances. The T-Shirts on sale around the ground bearing the slogan "Proud History. No Future. Learner Out" were doing a good trade, which contrasted with the empty spaces in front of the AVFC Official Merchandising trailers.
With the keepers warming up as we entered the stadium, the Villa players came out to a less than luke-warm reception. Contrast that to the ovation the Spurs squad received as they came jogging towards the part of the Doug Ellis Stand where the away fans were located. There is a big difference between second top and bottom in this league, but also in how the players have bonded with the fans that is returned by the support. Negativity breeds nervousness and when the game kicked off you could see that amongst the Villa XI. Sloppy passing, not picking up their opponents and not reading the game all became symptoms of a wider malaise. There was little game plan that was evident other than to try and keep the score down. So, in that respect they had a moral victory, but the actual victory was Tottenham's. From the start they displayed a calm authority that pushed Villa back and worked their back four. The home team's midfield was virtually non-existent and their forward line rarely threatened until the closing stages.
Three minutes into the match, Tottenham could have been ahead when Erik Lamela slipped a straight ball through the defence and Kane, looking suspiciously offside got to it just before Brad Guzan as he rushed out. Unfortunately, he was unable to control his shot that went over the keeper, but hit the top of the bar on its way over the goal. It would have been a real psychological blow for Villa to have conceded that early and one that could have led to another big home loss. As it was, the defence stepped up a gear and Eriksen flashed an early taken shot across goal and a yard wide, then Lamela, Rose and Alli both had shots on target but the first two were blocked and the third saved. Walker had the run on Cissokho, who looked heavy and slow, meaning the Spurs full backs were both pushing on, while the Villa counterparts were pinned back.
Villa won some corners, but Tottenham dealt with them well, as the big tactic would be to aim for Gestede's head, but it didn't get there. Villa did keep the ball further up the pitch for the second ten minute spell in the game, but when Tottenham broke away, Kane prodded the ball left to Danny Rose, who pulled it back 10 yards out to Kane, who hit it first time and Guzan's legs stopped it going in. Even then, the ball cannoned off CIssokho and went wide. Spurs gave away a corner at the opposite end and from the clearance from it, Veretout hit a hopeful volley from the left corner of the box that dribbled a long way wide.
Continual pressure from Spurs created chance after chance. Rose's long ball up the left saw Okore commit himself and miss the ball, allowing Kane to run up the left wing, come inside and smash a shot at Guzan. Then a ball out to the right by Alderweireld put Walker in space and his low pull back near the penalty spot picked out Lamela. His shot was touched by the keeper onto the post and came back out to hit Guzan on the back. As it went towards the goal-line, Alan Hutton hacked the ball away to safety.
From a free-kick on the Villa left, Veretout swung it in and the ball found its way through to Gestede, who put his foot on the ball, but his volley carried little venom and it went straight at Lloris. Hugo's distribution was a bit shaky all day, either finding an opposition shirt or going straight into touch. As it was, moments later, the ball was worked out of the Spurs defence to Dele Alli, who was fouled by Gueye on the edge of the centre circle in the Villa half. Without wasting time, Dele played the free-kick early to his left, where Harry Kane took the ball down with his chest, taking it away from Hutton and steered a left foot shot across Guzan and into the far corner to give Spurs the lead with seconds to the break. it was a finish of a classy goal-scorer, who put the missed chances to the back of his mind.
Villa couldn't have been worse in the second half and came out looking for an equaliser at the start of the second 45 minutes. Ayew and Gueye had efforts blocked, while Vertetout's shot from outside the box went straight into Lloris' midriff. When the ball was turned over in the next minute by Gil, passing straight to Alli wide on our left, Dele touched it to Eriksen, who played it inside, where Kane got a flick on it to Lamela. He returned the ball wide to the left to Alli, who took it on and played a low ball into the box. Lamela over-ran the ball, leaving it to go behind him for Harry Kane to slide in and put the ball into the roof of Guzan's net from the edge of the six yard box to double his tally and Tottenham's lead. It was a quick break and a very well-worked goal that left Villa exposed.
Villa tried to rally, but apart from a shot from Westwood, blocked by Alderweireld, it was pretty much one way traffic in the other direction. A raking diagonal ball from left to right from Danny Rose put Walker in the clear and he ran on into the box to fire a shot at Guzan that the keeper did well to beat out. Dembele, who had a strong game in midfield, holding off challenges to make space for others, set up Lamela, but his shot was blocked wide for a corner. For Villa, one of the biggest cheers of the day, other than for the "Lerner Out" banners that appeared late in the game, came when 17 year old Andre Green was introduced for his debut. He showed some energy and a little adventure, but it must be hard coming into this Villa team to try and make an impression.
Tottenham were looking to add to their lead and Walker hit a body with another shot that looked on target, while Lamela had a shot that was blocked wide for a corner. Getede put a shot wide at the other end, but it was only with seven minutes left on the clock that they had their most serious opportunities. Ayew engaged in a mazy dribble on the left side that took him along the dead ball line and his shot tried to beat Hugo at his near post, but the keeper had it covered and the ball bounced out into the six yard box. There, from about two yards out, Gestede managed to hit his shot against the crossbar. The ball bounced down and was cleared as Spurs thanked their good fortune that Villa do not possess a scorer of Kane's quality. There was another let off when a corner on the Spurs right came in from Villa, Gestede headed on and Lescott was unmarked at the far post a couple of yards out, but could only find the outside of the far post with his shot, when it looked easier to score. Cur choruses of "Joleon Lescott's got a new car" and "He Tweets with his arse", as his 'mistake' came back to bite him.
The rest of the remaining time was played out without much happening and the final whistle brought cheers from the Spurs fans and jeers from those in Villa claret and blue. Discontent doesn't quite cover what Lerner has brought the club too and it is shocking to see first hand what he has done to Villa. They sang "Champions of Europe, you'll never sing that" and they may be right. It is hard to see this team and tally it with the club that beat Bayern in the final in 1982 to grab the major European trophy. "Echoes of Glory" was etched on the Spurs shirts last season. At Villa, those echoes are fading fast and to end up in the Championship might mean a stay there for a while, as this side will; evaporate or fester at the second level.
It was sad and shocking to see the effect that the financial mis-management at the club has had on Villa. The atmosphere is poisonous with the fans neither having much time for the owner or the players and the abuse that rained down from the terraces was clear evidence that the future does not look rosy for the claret and blues.
For Spurs, it is a two point gap now until Leicester play tomorrow night. All we can do is keep going and gain as many points as we can. We have a slightly tougher run-in than the Foxes, but carrying on the way we have done so far would ensure it would be a fantastic season, even if we don't win it. Some fans around me might have got the expectancy all wrong, as they were cussing Kane for hitting the bar early on and then missing other chances. This side have exceeded what we might have hoped for at the start of the season, so surely they deserve a little backing and allowance for impetus youth. After all, that has been a major contribution to getting us where we are.
After all, where would you rather be ? In Tottenham's shoes or Villa's ?
Aston Villa's motto on
their club badge of "Prepared" came from a "bob a job" task
set to a young cub scout in the early days of the club. Since
then, it has been incorporated into million of pounds worth of
merchandising sold through the club, while the cub scout who came up
with the idea is now selling e-matches on match day to make ends
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|Match programme sponsors||-|
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Norwich City||0||Manchester City||0||Saturday|
|Leicester City||1||Newcastle United||0||Monday|
|FA Cup Quarter Finals results this weekend|
|Manchester United||1||West Ham United||1||Sunday|
|5||West Ham United||29||13||10||6||45||33||49||+12|
|11||West Bromwich Albion||29||10||9||10||29||36||39||-7|
Position before match :
Position after match : 2nd
Position after the weekend : 2nd
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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