COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Monday 2nd November 2015
VENUE White Hart Lane






Deprived the opportunity to deprive Tim Sherwood employment by the rapid-fire firing of the Villa boss, Spurs will have to settle for revenge on last season's 0-1 reverse and to carry on their unbeaten league run since the first day of the season loss at Old Trafford.  But they should not be over-confident, as the Midlands club have nothing to lose other than another Premier League match.

Questions have been asked, by our Head Coach among others, about the speed with which Sherwood was booted out, but sometimes, even club owners see through the sound-bites and make a change for what they see as the better.  It was a nice idea, but one that was doomed to failure, with players being brought in, which apparently were not Timbo's pick.  Strange that a few of them had been linked with a move to Tottenham before Villa moved in for them though !!  He was hampered by the loss of Ron Vlaar, Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, but they were replaced in true Gareth Bale style, but a clutch of allegedly talented young players for Sherwood to shape the future of the club with.  Many were French and their unfamiliarity with the Premier League is mirrored at Newcastle United, who have followed a similar policy.

Jordan Vertout, Jordan Amavi, Jordan Ayew and almost anyone else called Jordan (except for Katie Price) were hunted down over the summer to bulk out the Villa squad (Price would have amply done that), but numbers rather than experience of the top flight in England was the criteria and after Tim saved the Villains from one struggle at the bottom, it looks like this season will be another.  Early promise from ex-Barcelona winger Adama Traore has evaporated in the battle to keep teams out at the other end, while one of the better players this season has been our former right back, Alan Hutton.  He has worked the line well and gets forward as well as sticking to his task of defending too.  Midfielder Jack Grealish is the bright young thing that the club are putting their shirt on, but they might find out that it might be a different shirt he is wearing if they go down.

Experience in the shape of Kieran Richardson and Joleon Lescott were brought in on a free, but they are a bit long in the tooth, while the signing of Rudi Gestede from Blackburn Rovers would have been a sound investment for the future if there has been others around him.  Keeper Brad Guzan has been iffy this season, with some soft goals conceded, while the defence is missing Vlaar and the midfield Delph, with Grealish trying hard, but suffering from a late start to his pre-season training.  Issidra Gueye and Ayew have the look of a player in there somewhere, but they might not be ready for the rigors of the top division in England and players such as Spaniard Carles Gil, winger Charles N'Zogbia, wide midfielder Carlos Sanchez and anyone else called Charles are available, but have been sparingly used.  Ironically, home grown talent Ciaran Clark, Ashley Woodward, Gary Gardner  and Lewis Kinsella have been mostly over-looked by the Villa managment.  As Leandro Bacuna, Libor Kozak, Jores Okora and Jose Angel Crespo are all relatively new signings, you get the feeling that the new manager might bomb them out, as they fail to be regular starters at the club.  More upheaval might not necessarily be the best thing, but they do need players who are up for the fight.

That was what happened in the matches with Spurs last season, with Benteke and Sanchez getting sent off in the home and away matches for Villa.  This season, it will be interesting to see how they shape up with caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald claiming he was going to get some inside info from Sherwood on Spurs.  I don't suppose it would be that much help, as he had little to do with Pochettino's reign, being cleared out for the Argentinian to take his place. 

The new man temporarily in charge at Villa might have them battling for him, but they probably know that he will not get the job full time, so their commitment is to getting out of the situation they are in rather than playing for a place.  Failure to track back and a sloppy shape to the side when the game is on have led to them being picked off and with five goals last week, it was good to see Tottenham taking the chances they create to finish sides off.  I expect the same again, with Villa likely to lose confidence when things go against them, allowing Tottenham to pull them around and to get the midfielders into spaces between the Villa midfield and back four.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    3        Aston Villa    0
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Last season's corresponding fixture
Nacer Chadli (ankle), Nabil Bentaleb (ankle), Alex Pritchard (ankle) and Heung-Min Son (foot) will all be missing from the Spurs line-up.
Micah Richards was involved in a tunnel bust-up following the recent game with Swansea City and may be suspended for Monday night's match, but Joleon Lescott could be back in the starting eleven.

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Tottenham Hotspur  3 (2)                                                                       
Premier League
Monday 2nd November 2015
White Hart Lane
Aston Villa  1 (0)

Kick off  20:00
Dembele  2m 20s
Alli  45 + 0m 19s
Kane  90 + 2m 35s
Ayew  78m 48s



Ayew  (foul on Dier)  42
Richardson (foul on Lamela)  67
Hutton  (foul on Mason)  90 + 2


Crowd :   34,882 Weather :  -
Referee :  Mike Dean (Wirral) Assistant Referees :   Mr. D. Bryan; Mr. S. Bennett
Fourth Official :  Graham Scott -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Aston Villa : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
  3  Danny ROSE  (33  Ben DAVIES  82)

200Dele ALLI    (25  Josh ONOMAH  89)
150Eric DIER

11  Erik LAMELA
23  Christian ERIKSEN
19  Mousa DEMBELE    (  8  Ryan MASON  69)

10  Harry KANE 

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
21  Federico FAZIO
17  Andros TOWNSEND

    1  Brad GUZAN

21  Alan HUTTON      
  Ciaran CLARK
16  Joleon LESCOTT
18  Kieran RICHARDSON      

  9  Scott SINCLAIR
Kieran WESTWOOD  (19  Jordan AYEW  38      )
24  Carlos SANCHEZ
  Leonardo BACUNA

40  Jack GREALISH  (25  Carles GIL  65)

  Gabriel AGBONLAHOR (c)  (39  Rudi GESTEDE 46)

Unused subs: 
31  Mark BUNN
23  Jordan AMAVI
17  Jordan VERTOUT

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Kevin MacDonald (caretaker)
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Quick Books
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Macron
Match report

An early goal and a late one tail-ended Tottenham's 3-1 win over a weak Aston Villa side, who almost got back in the game courtesy of a deflected goal twelve minutes from time.

With Mousa Dembele keeping his place in an attacking midfield position, with his confidence showing within two minutes of the kick off.  Danny Rose dinked a pass down the left touchline and with Ciaran Clark alongside him, he turned inside, forcing the defender to try and grab his shirt off him back and front.  Mousa out-muscled him and got into the box, by which time Clark could not foul him and wasn't in a position to tackle, leaving the midfielder to fire the ball low underneath Brad Guzan and through the keeper's legs.

We have rarely scored an early goal this season, usually being on the receiving end of them, but this showed the way that the team are playing is building confidence to go at opponents from the off.  And it didn't stop there !!  Although Scott Sinclair ghosted past three Spurs defenders to crack a shot at goal that Hugo Lloris had to beat away (and the follow up was shot well wide by Jack Grealish), Tottenham pushed on for a second.  A pass through the left hand channel by Dier found Kane, who raced past Clark and took the ball into the box past him before letting go his shot, but Alan Hutton got a block on it, taking the ball into the air and it forced Guzan into a tip over the bar to prevent an own goal.  From the corner, a training ground routine saw Eriksen pull the ball back low and it was met by Rose, just inside the box, from where he struck a first time left foot shot that flew narrowly over the bar. 

A pass by Sanchez caused confusion as Lloris came out ton sweep up, but Sinclair got a toe to it first and nudged it past the keeper on the edge of the box, but Walker was coming around behind him to tidy up.  The Villa fans were up in arms (and not just at their team's inept performance) when Westwood was climbing all over Dembele's back as he moved into the Villa half and he caught the opposition man with an arm as he tried to fend off his foul intentions.  Referee Mike Dean played on, as he had when Clark was fouling Mousa in the build up to his goal.  The Villa players wanted play stopped for a head injury when Tottenham had the ball, but when they got hold of it, they were happy to continue playing with little regard for their prone team-mate.  It became an issue once more when Spurs won the ball back and they got very aerated about it.  Their physio also didn't seemed that interested as it took him an age to get on the pitch and treat Westwood, before he was led off and was substituted by Jordan Ayew.  It didn't take the sub long to carry on Westwood's work, getting a quick booking for a foul on Dier as he got away from him.

Spurs benefitted from the treatment o Westwood, when Eriksen played Rose into space on the left wing and his cross was into the heart of the six yard box, only to be headed away ... but only as far as Deli Alli just inside the  penalty box.  He took one touch on his thigh and his second was a right foot volley that sent the ball low into the bottom right hand corner of Guzan's net seconds into added time at the end of the first half.  It showed composure from the young midfielder and an awareness of where to be when the ball dropped.  Alli is really developing into a fine player and his ability is being applied in an effective way, as well as playing within the team structure bringing others into the game with simple, but damaging passing.

Half-time entertainment tonight was a hit the bar with an American football from the 18 yard line, with Darren Anderton opting out.  Needless to say, nobody achieved it and we were left to wonder what the second half would bring.

Spurs were keen to wrap things up and while they had plenty of possession and were in the Villa half for much of the second half, clear cut chances were few.  A long range shot by Rose was blocked by Hutton and then the left back got on the end of Lamela's cross, but could not keep his header down.  Alli had an effort charged down and at the other end, Grealish and Hutton had shots blocked from way out.  Hutton was one of the opposition's better players tonight, while great Villa hope Grealish was ineffective and lacked any sort of drive or accuracy in his passing to hurt Spurs, leading to his substitution in the 65th minute.

Clark won a header at the far post from a corner, but put it well wide, which Eriksen did from a free-kick, as he had done in the first half.  Tottenham appeared to be dropping a bit deeper and losing the ball nearer their own goal caused Vertonghen into a block as substitute Rudi Gestede was set up for a shot by Gil. Spurs failed to learn their lesson from this and Bacuna took a pass in from the Villa left to curl a low shot that beat Lloris' dive and rebounded out from hitting the foot of the keeper's left hand post.  A similar move a minute later brought a goal for Villa, with Ayew coming in off the left and firing in a low shot from just outside the area that hit Jan, which sent Lloris the wrong way with the ball going into the right side of his goal.  With twelve minutes remaining, it started to send shivers down the spine of the Tottenham fans. 

Even more so when Lloris came out to try to reach a left wing cross from Richardson, but didn't get there as it swung away from him and Gesteded won it, heading the ball wide of an empty net.  Villa's tails were up and Ayew came inside again and drove a fierce shot that just cleared Lloris' bar with the keeper beaten again.   At the Villa end, Spurs had chances when Lamela's shots from a short corner routine were blocked and young sub Josh Onomah had an effort form the edge of the box but it lacked power to trouble Guzan.  It was left to the man who is supposed to be a one season wonder to settle the nerves and settle the match with a goal deep into added time at the end of the second half.  A flowing move from the back saw Ben Davies (on for Rose) exchange passes on the left wing with Onomah, playing him infield and he passed to Christian Eriksen, who held off a defender to pick out Erik Lamela on the right of the box.  He was in space and would have been within his rights to shoot, but he showed his growing confidence in passing first time across the penalty area to his left where Harry Kane adjusted his run and swept the ball high into the top left hand corner of the net with Guzan helpless to stop it.  It was a flowing move that shows the understanding in the side and another goal late in the game indicating that the fitness training is still paying off too.  It was also a great finish by Kane, how has stayed level-headed while all around him were losing theirs claiming he had lost the knack of scoring.  

Everyone contributed to the win, with the defence looking sound against an admittedly powder-puff Villa attack, but the midfield moved the ball quickly forward and got up to support Kane, who led the line admirably on his own.  The three points were in doubt for that short spell after the Villa goal, but the early strike from Dembele gave belief to the team and if there is one thing to learn from this game, it is the importance of making the most of the dominance of the game that you have.  A third goal after the break when Spurs had the ball for long periods would have sealed it with no chance of allowing them back into the match.

A useful three points that take Spurs to fifth ahead of West Ham and a useful result to take into Thursday's Europa League match with Anderlecht.

Kirk Hammerton




Aston Villa were among the first clubs to introduce colour into their kit after the monochrome efforts in the early days.  Unfortunately, the claret and blue failed to make a splash in the newspapers, which were still in black and white and there was little distinction when photos of their matches appeared in the dailies.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Chelsea 1 Liverpool 3 Saturday
Crystal Palace 0 Manchester United 0 Saturday
Everton 6 Sunderland 2 Sunday
Manchester City 2 Norwich City 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Southampton 2 Bournemouth 0 Sunday
Swansea City 0 Arsenal 3 Saturday
Watford 2 West Ham United 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Leicester City 3 Saturday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 11 8 1 2 26 9 25 +17
2 Arsenal 11 8 1 2 21 8 25 +13
3 Leicester City 11 6 4 1 23 19 22 +4
4 Manchester United 11 6 3 2 15 8 21 +7
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 11 5 5 1 19 9 20 +10
6 West Ham United 11 6 2 3 22 13 20 +9
7 Southampton 11 4 5 2 18 13 17 +5
8 Liverpool 11 4 5 2 12 11 17 0
9 Everton 11 4 5 2 19 15 16 +4
10 Crystal Palace 11 5 1 5 12 11 16 +1
11 Watford 11 4 4 3 10 10 16 0
12 West Bromwich Albion 11 4 2 5 10 15 14 -5
13 Swansea City 11 3 4 4 12 15 13 -3
14 Stoke City 11 3 4 4 9 12 13 -3
15 Chelsea 11 3 2 6 16 22 11 -6
16 Norwich City 11 2 3 6 15 23 9 -8
17 Newcastle United 11 1 4 6 12 22 7 -10
18 Bournemouth 11 2 1 7 11 23 7 -12
19 Sunderland 11 1 3 7 13 25 6 -12
20 Aston Villa 11 1 1 9 10 20 4 -10


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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


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