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Premier League

Saturday 6th February 2010

A home game against a fellow challenger for the coveted fourth place will give Spurs a test of their credentials for a good finish.

Spurs come into the game off the back of a draw away at Birmingham and wins over Fulham at home in the league and Leeds away in the FA Cup.  At least Spurs are scoring again after a relatively lean period.  Villa themselves are on a good run, with two goal-less draws with West Ham United and Arsenal, while they went goal mad in the three cup ties with Blackburn Rovers and then beat Fulham 0-2 at Craven Cottage last time out.

The side are a solid unit under Martin O'Neill, who likes to play with a big man up front and may choose to utilise Emile Heskey as a battering ram in the absence of John Carew, who has has a knee problem.  With Gabriel Agbonlahor up front, he can mix the strength with a bit of pace, but the flanks are where the greatest threat comes from, as James Milner and Ashley Young provide the service for the forwards from wide positions.  With youngster Fabian Delph coming in from Leeds, his talent is bolstered by a strong tackling instinct, which earns him a few yellow cards, but he is more likely to be deployed from the bench, as Stylian Petrov occupies a central midfield berth and Stewart Downing can either play wide or just inside if required.  Former Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell has to settle for a place in the match-day squad, as he has not been able to establish himself in the first XI.

The defence can be suspect, with the likes of Richard Dunne being a whole-hearted player, but can be suspect to pace and trickery.  Cuellar is a solid player, but lacks awareness of what is going on around him sometimes and Luke Young and James Collins are journeymen defenders, who can be exposed.  The goalkeepers Brad - Friedel and Guzan - are two strong Yanks, who have different strengths, but the main goalie usually has a good game against us.

If we can take our chances, then I think that Spurs can triumph ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Aston Villa    0

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Roman Pavlyuchenko (out - groin); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - hip); Ledley King (out - knee); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin);Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); - (-); 

ASTON VILLA :  - Marc Albrighton (out - ankle); Nigel Reo-Coker (out - ankle); Marlon Harewood (out - foot); Stephen Warnock (out - foot);  - (-); - (-);  


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click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Tottenham Hotspur   0    Aston Villa   0      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 6th February 2010
Kick Off :  5.30 p.m.
Crowd :   35,899
Referee :  Chris Foy (St. Helens)
Aston Villa kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Chilly, dry
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
26  King  (c)
20  Dawson
  3  Bale

14  Modric
12  Palacios

18  Defoe
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
  4  Kaboul
21  Kranjcar
  K. Walker

Aston Villa :

  1  Friedel

  2  L. Young
  5  Dunne
24  Cuellar
29  Collins

  8  Milner
19  Petrov (c)
  6  Downing   (  4  Sidwell 88)
  7  A. Young
11  Agbonlahor

18  Heskey   (10  Carew 21)

Unused subs: 
22  Guzan
24  Beye
16  Delph
15  Davies
14  Delfouneso

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Aston Villa
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur


Aston Villa


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  



Aston Villa



Match Report : -  
With Martin O'Neill smarting form Arsene Wenger's comments about his side being a long-ball team, he came to White Hart Lane to record a 0-0 draw of stultifying blandness, with only one  team willing to attack and try to get something out of the game ... and that was not the visitors.

That the Midlands side left the field to chants of "Boring, Boring Villa", for once Spurs fans concurred with the Arsenal manager's opinion.  What players like James Milner and Ashley Young must truly think having to take part in this sort of turgid clogging, I would love to find out.  While Spurs racked up their fifth straight clean sheet at home, there was little threat on the goal, with only two shot son target from the Villains in the first half, when Gomes pushed out a drive from Milner and then got up to block Agbonlahor's follow-up.  The second half was little better for Villa, with two off target headers from Carew and then the Norwegian striker had a couple of half-hearted shots, which failed to worry the Spurs goalie.  Oh, I nearly forgot.  Two soft free-kicks on the edge of the Tottenham box were awarded to Villa and Ashley Young hit both well over the bar.  The only notable points surrounding the free-kicks were they were not as bad as later incidents inside the area.

In stark contrast, Tottenham played with an attacking attitude that made O'Neill look like a heathen in tactical terms.  Whether using the long ball to Crouch's head or playing the ball wide to Bentley or Bale or moving the ball through Palacios and Modric in the midfield, Spurs created chance after chance.  Let's look at them.

4 mins. - Crouch heads down for Modric, but the little midfielder cannot get a lot of power in his shot and it was easy for Friedel to save.

9 mins. - Palacios feeds Modric, who moves forward, but puts in an aimless shot with the outside of his foot that cleared the bar.

10 mins. - Crouch knocked on a ball played up to him and Defoe collects, before passing to Bentley outside him on the right.  The wide man shoots across goal, but misses the far post.

14 mins.  Huddlestone finds Bentley and his ball into the box is headed down and Modric runs onto it, but it bounces too high and the chance is lost.  He plays it wide and Bentley's cross is blocked for a corner.  From it, King gets a header on Bentley's corner and it is straight at the keeper.

18 mins. - A ball up to Peter Crouch is headed down for Modric on the edge of the box,  Modric slips the ball left into Crouch's path and as he is about to shoot, Dunne dives in to block the ball and take it out for a corner. 

24 mins. - Tom hit a 25 yard shot that swerved and left Friedel grateful to push the ball out, but it only went towards Modric, who was denied by Cuellar's dive in front of him. 

30 mins. - A Bentley free-kick from the left was fired in with some pace and Dawson flicked it on at the near post, but took it just over the bar.

35 mins. - Bentley took a free kick that went short to Gareth Bale, who knocked the ball up to hit a volley on goal, that Crouch let go between his legs, but a defender got a touch on it to take it wide.

42 mins. - Just before the break and Tottenham come the closest to breaking the dead-lock.  Bentley's cross picked out Crouch's head and his header back from the far post was flicked by Ledley King's foot and Friedel jumped to palm the ball out and it was just a strong enough touch to take it beyond the post, as Defoe stretched to knock it in.  He was just too far wide and the ball was on the up, so he could not keep it down.

60 mins. - Crouch's header found Defoe and he touched the ball on to Huddlestone to drive at goal and Friedel pushed the ball wide with a diving save.

62 mins.  Bentley put a free-kick into the box and it was headed out, but Palacios lobbed the ball back in.  It was cleared again, but Modric got onto it and his shot was deflected away from goal.

72 mins. - Crouch heads Corluka's cross onto the top of the goal.

76 mins. -  Right wing cross finds Michael Dawson free on the far post, but gets his header all wrong and puts it wide, when it would have been better putting it back into the six yard box.

77 mins. - Bentley came in off the line to fire a shot at goal, which Dunne deflected wide.

79 mins. - Huddlestone's volley blocked by Collins.

80 mins. - Defoe took a ball from Modric inside the area and although he was denied a shooting opportunity by Dunne, the ball fell to Crouch, who shot and the ball was deflected away for a corner by going just wide of the post.

82 mins - Shot from Modric from the edge of the box is stopped by Cuellar throwing a block.

85 mins. - Right wing move saw Modric link with Corluka, who played in Bentley and he crossed for Crouch to put a header wide of the goal.

87 mins. - Defoe takes a ball played to him from Crouch's flick on, just inside the penalty area and as he goes for his second touch, Petrov takes his legs from under him.  But Foy says no penalty.  No surprise, the way he was refereeing.

89 mins. - Crouch knocks one back into Defoe's path, but Friedel pushes it wide.  From Bentley's corner, the ball is headed on by Dawson and Crouch gets the ball stuck under his feet, but gets a back-heel in, only to see the ball go a foot wide.

90+2 mins. - Crouch sets up Bentley on edge of box and his drive takes a deflection off Dunne and goes wide.  Perhaps other teams might have seen the deflection take it in, but not Spurs.

So, from beginning to end we bombarded the Villa goal, but with ten men back behind the ball most of the time, it was clear that Villa came to get a point and try and hit Spurs on the break, but they didn't even have any conviction to do that.

It is bad enough when struggling teams play like this, but a team who are going for a top four placing ?  Please.  I trust they play a bit different at home, although they didn't when we went up there, otherwise a season ticket at Villa Park must be like a insomniac's dream ticket.  O'Neill didn't even play like this when he managed "lesser" clubs than Villa.  Realistically, if teams come to White Hart Lane to have a go, they stand a good chance of winning.  Wolves got the early goal and then shut up shop, Stoke bored until we were down to ten men and then nicked one at the end and Man United came and played very well against us, deserving their win.  Of the three I know which game I preferred watching, even if it meant we we taught a lesson.

Of the Tottenham team, hardly anyone put in a poor game.  Bale was industrious on the left, both going forward and in defence.  Corluka did well on the right, while Palacios only gave the ball away a couple of times in midfield.  Huddlestone had time on the ball to spray it around and Modric is getting back to his old self, with some darting runs and intuitive passing from the left side of midfield.  Crouch won almost everything in the air and Defoe looked sharp, as you would expect after hitting a hat-trick in mid-week.  Gomes had long periods of inactivity, but was sharp when called upon and  Dawson was a rock in the middle of the defence.

Emile Heskey had started and limped off after 20 minutes, while other England hopefuls Milner and Downing were restricted to running up and down the line to close down Spurs players, with little to show for their supposed talents that will take them to the World Cup.  Agbonlahor spent most his his time trying to back into Ledley King and buy cheap free-kicks, which the referee - Chris Foy - sometimes was lenient enough to give him.  Unfortunately for the Villa striker, King was just too good for him and Ledders spent a large amount of his time taking the ball out of defence and joining the attack.

Disappointing that a) Tottenham didn't get all three points, with Liverpool winning and going into fourth and b) that a side vying for that fourth spot decides to show that they have nothing to offer in the way of out-witting the opposition.  Half the reason we don't win against the "established" top four on a regular basis is that we try and play football against them (parking the bus at Stamford Bridge aside).  It is not the "Tottenham Way" and despite the assertion on these pages a short while ago, I wouldn't want to watch the trash served up by AV.

simon cohen


Fan Reaction : -



No will to succeed.

No desire to entertain.

No chance of getting a win.

No surprise we are talking about Aston Villa.

benny the ball


Someone on TalkSport the other day said that if the same four clubs get the same top 4 places this year we might as well all give up , as we will never have a better chance of qualifying for the CL then this year . How True with Liverpool misfiring and now coming good and Arsenal stuttering but have points in the bag. We show yet again how good we are, with lots of possession but lack of goals. We now have scored 13 goals in our last 12 Prem games.  Compare that to 32 goals scored in our first 13 Prem games and you can see that for some reason the goals have been drying up at an alarming rate. 

Do we play so similar week after week that clubs know how to deal with it or do we lack imagination in mixing it up a bit, do we rely on Defoe and Crouch too much, whatever the reason too many clubs are snuffing us out quite easily. The real shame is we seem good enough to get in the CL, but I think we didn't grasp the nettle when we had chances to motor away from Liverpool, Man City and Villa.  In truth had we taken just one chance and beaten Hull/Wolves/Villa/took Everton and Birmingham away we could
have been above Arsenal and we all could have been anticipating renewing our passports already.  You know what ?  Our season is going take final shape between April 10th and 24th when we play Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal, but before then out of our next eight games, six of them are winnable but we need to make sure we do that and start scoring again








Other scores this weekend :
Bolton Wanderers 0 Fulham 0 Saturday
Burnley 2 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Hull City 2 Manchester City 1 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Everton 0 Saturday
Manchester United 5 Portsmouth 0 Saturday
Stoke City 3 Blackburn Rovers 0 Saturday
Sunderland 1 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Birmingham City 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Sunday
Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 25 18 4 3 60 20 58 +40
2 Manchester United 24 18 2 5 61 20 56 +41
3 Arsenal 25 15 4 6 60 30 49 +30
4 Liverpool 25 13 5 7 43 26 44 +17
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 25 12 7 6 45 25 43 +20
6 Manchester City 23 11 8 4 45 32 41 +13
7 Aston Villa 24 11 8 5 31 18 41 +13
8 Birmingham City 24 9 7 7 24 24 37 0
9 Fulham 25 8 7 10 27 28 31 -1
10 Everton 23 7 8 8 31 35 29 -4
11 Stoke City 23 7 8 8 22 26 29 -4
12 Blackburn Rovers 25 7 7 11 25 43 28 -18
13 Sunderland 23 6 7 10 28 38 25 -10
14 Hull City 25 5 9 11 25 50 24 -25
15 Burnley 24 6 5 13 25 47 23 -22
16 Wigan Athletic 23 6 5 12 25 48 23 -23
17 Bolton Wanderers 23 5 7 11 29 44 22 -15
18 West Ham United 24 4 9 11 30 40 21 -10
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 24 5 6 12 20 42 21 -22
20 Portsmouth 25 4 4 17 19 41 15 -22


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

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