COMPETITION League Cup Round 3
DATE Tuesday 24th September 2013
VENUE Villa Park






I don't know about AVB and the Spurs players, but there is little enough time to recover from doing one preview and match report than it is time to do another.  Two game sin three days is a bit insensitive when it comes to the Football  League's timing, so perhaps they get what they deserve, with both teams likely to field weakened sides, as injury, tiredness and a lack of importance attached to this competition might turn this tie into a glorified Under-21 match.

Spurs had a tough game at Cardiff on Sunday and while Villa beat Norwich on Saturday, they picked up a few knocks ... and having seen Norwich the week before, I am not surprised.  So the outcome of the game hinges on who has the fewer first teamers out and who, among the youngsters, takes the chance to shine. 

Spurs will have a spine of experience, with Defoe (if he recovers from his training ground groin strain), Brad Friedel, Sandro, Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul all likely to be given a run out, but with Chelsea coming to White Hart Lane on Saturday, the Head Coach will not be willing to risk too many players who he might need to call upon on Saturday.

With Christian Benteke's slip on Saturday causing him a hip injury and with others missing, Paul Lambert might have to turn to the youth to lead the attack, as well as playing out of favour Marc Albrighton in midfield.  As a result of the home side's transfer policy, there are lots of young legs in the Villa squad, with Lowton, Herd, Sylla, Gardner, Helenius and Weimann, so they could still field a decent side and this is a competition they might feel they can go a long way in.

The question over who Spurs will play in the gaps in the side will determine the outcome.  I guess the likes of Walker, Eriksen, Soldado, Paulinho and Vertonghen will not be risked.  But I hope there will be enough quality in the Tottenham side to overcome Villa, albeit in a tight game that might go to extra time.

PREDICTION Aston Villa    1         Tottenham Hotspur    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Jermain Defoe is struggling to overcome a groin strain to be fit, while Aaron Lennon (foot), Etienne Capoue (ankle), Nacer Chadli (hip), Younes Kaboul (hamstring) and Danny Rose (ankle) are all sidelined for this match.  Vlad Chiriches cold feature from the start, as Spurs ring the changes with a big match ahead on Saturday.
Christian Benteke's hip injury is still being assessed, but he will miss leading the line against Spurs and with Gabriel Agbonlahor also out with an ankle injury, their strike force could be lead by Czech Republic international Libor Kuzak.  Fabian Delph (ankle), Jores Okore (knee), Ciaran Clark (head), Charles N'Zogbia (calf), Ashley Westwood (muscle strain) and Antonio Luna (knock) are also not up for consideration for the League Cup tie.

BBC1 - 23:05  (highlights)  Also available online.

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 1089 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 & 1500 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
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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.

Aston Villa  0 (0)                                                                                     Tottenham Hotspur  4 (1)
League Cup Third Round
Tuesday 24th September 2013                                                                                                                    Kick off 19:45
Villa Park
Defoe 45+1
Paulinho 49
Chadli 86
Defoe 90+2




Crowd :   22,975 Weather :  Warm, sunny
Referee :  Jon Moss (West Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  - (-)
Fourth Official :  - -
Aston Villa kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.
Aston Villa : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
13  Jed STEER

34  Matt LOWTON
  2  Nathan BAKER
4  Ron VLAAR  (c)
  3  Joe BENNETT

  8  Karim El HAMADI (21 Jordan BOWERY 46)
18  Yacouba SYLLA

  7  Leandro BACUNA
24  Aleksander TONEV  (36  Daniel JOHNSON 82)

27  Libor KOZAK  (  9  Nicklas HELENIUS  46)

Unused subs: 
  1  Brad GUZAN
  6  Ciaran CLARK
37  Callum ROBINSON
  Andreas WIEMANN

  24  Brad FRIEDEL  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER (20  Michael DAWSON 80)
35  Zeki FRYERS

  8  PAULINHO    (19  Mousa DEMBELE 64)

11  Erik LAMELA
18  Jermain DEFOE   
14  Lewis HOLTBY

37  Harry KANE  (21  Nacer CHADLI 73  )

Unused subs: 
  1  Heurelho GOMES

17  Andros TOWNSEND
  9  Roberto SOLDADO

Manager :  Paul Lambert Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   dafabet Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Macron Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

This match with Villa in the Third Round of the League Cup didn't turn out to be the 'impossible game' that Andre Villas-Boas had predicted, as a 4-0 win emphatically states.
Spurs had retained Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho and Kyle Walker from Sunday's match against Cardiff City, Spurs were much changed with Zeki Fryers making a first start and Vlad Chiriches making his debut. With Lewis Holtby taking the Christian Eriksen role and Sandro in alongside his compatriot Paulinho, Spurs were looking to form a firm base to launch attacks up to Harry Kane and Jermain Defoe up front.

Villa were similarly under-strength, but even more so, as their depth of their squad is as shallow as the support that turned out for this match. The swathes of light blue seats indicated that this once great club has a fan-base that feels there is little hope of success in the near future.

The game started slowly and it was the home side who had the first chance, with a free-kick conceded by Zeki Fryers giving them the chance to put a ball into the box, which was cleared, but only as far as Leandro Bacuna, who hit his volley wide of the goal in the third minute.  Spurs then got moving going forward, with Vlaar having to cur out a move by Kane to latch onto Lamela's chip through and Chiriches almost found Defoe, but the pass was a little too long.  In fact, Vlaar was a stumbling block for some of Spurs' moves, with two interventions within a couple of minutes to stop Defoe's shot and then to deny Jermain getting to Kane's pass.  When Defoe did get some space, he bent a shot wide, as had Lamela just before him and the debutant at the back made a good tackle on El Hamadi, but a slip allowed Marc Albrighton to get into the box, where his shot was well parried away by Brad Friedel, close down to his left. 

As the clock moved towards twenty minute gone, Spurs had two good chances, with Defoe looking sharp and firing an effort that Jed Steer did well to beat away, then in the second phase of play Sandro blazed hiss hot way over the top and into the desolate wastes of empty seats behind the goal.  Tottenham's best chance came when Defoe closed down Steer's clearance and the ball bounced off him and went into the crowd with the keeper stranded. 

Eight minutes before the break, Villa worked a free-kick on the left and a low ball across the goal from Tonev caused a little consternation until it was realised that there was no claret and blue shirt there to finish it.  Spurs hit back with a move through the middle of the home team's half, with Holtby flicking the ball to his right into the path of Lamela, who shot at goal, but it was straight down the middle and straight at Steer who pushed it over the top.  The keeper was also on his toes with three minutes left of the half, when Kane played in Defoe and his early shot to the goalie's left saw him denied with a dive to push the ball wide.  But right on the stroke of half time, Lewis Holtby's invention opened up Villa to make it 1-0.  Picking up the ball 25 yards from goal, the German midfielder moved forward and scooped a ball up over the back line for Defoe to run in and get a feint touch to head it past Steer to score at a good psychological time.

Holtby very nearly set up a second before the half time whistle, when he ran to the line, taking the ball from a throw-in and pulled the ball back into the middle, but no Spurs player had read his run.

Both Chiriches and Freyers looked a little nervous on their first starts for the clubs, but given time to settle in, they will no doubt feel more at home.  If they turn out to be as good with their feet as the Villa full backs were with their hands (pulling Spurs players back on more than one occasion), they will be good players for the club.  Both looked better as the game went on. Lamela was looking good on the ball on the right, but is yet to explode onto the scene, while Kane did well leading the line.

With two changes by Villa at the half-time interval, Nicklas Helenius, the Danish striker was one, making an immediate impact.  A long ball down the right got beyond Vertonghen and as he stumbled over, he grabbed the Villa forward's shorts and pulled them almost all the way down to his ankles.  Helenius kept going and fired way over the bar, but it was a strange incident that could have had a very different ending.  Breaking at the other end, Walker was fouled on the right and Lamela fired it in and only a deflection took the ball wide for a corner.  From it, Holtby played the ball in with pace from the left and it came off a defender and Paulinho had got in to be the beneficiary of the deflection as he volleyed in for 2-0with 49 minutes on the clock.

Apart from a Paulinho long shot straight at the goalie, the next ten minutes got bogged down in midfield.  After that Kane did well to hold off three Villa players on the left of the box after Holtby played a cross field ball to him, but was denied by an outstretched leg as he twisted and turned players in the box.  With so much control of the match, Spurs were passing the bal for fun and it back-fired when a move along the edge of the Villa box produced at least three shooting chances, which were not taken and the move broke down.  When Villa did get going forward, Albrighton's cross to the far post from the right was well dealt with by Walker, who cleared for a corner under pressure.

Brad Friedel was forced to make a save from Alexsander Tonev's powerful drive from 25 yards and he slapped the shot away, looking like he was taken by surprise a little.  As if there weren't enough changes to the side, AVB pulled players to rest them for Saturday and Paul Lambert took the opportunity to give a debut to Daniel Johnson.  A poor pass on the left by Villa went straight to Jermain 40 yards out and he moved forward, slipped it left to Nacer Chadli, who powered in a low shot at the keeper's near post and the ball squirmed past him to give the Belgian winger his first goal for Tottenham.

Villa forced Brad to a save when the ball was cleared, but ricocheted off Helenius to see the ball flop towards goal, but Friedel fell on the ball slowly to hold it.  Playing with a nonchalance now, playing the ball around well, Holtby fired over from 20 yards before a late break found the German running at one defender and he slipped a pass to the right, where Defoe picked the ball up, took it around Steer and steered it into an empty net for his second and Tottenham's fourth.  It was virtually the last kick of the game, as the whistle went as soon as Villa restarted, but it was another example of Defoe's ability to finish a chance.  I am not saying that Soldado wouldn't have done the same, but his goal-scoring form must make Defoe a strong challenger for a starting place soon.

While the game was scratchy in large parts, especially the first half, Tottenham superior ability to hold and pass the ball was a deciding factor in the outcome.  That Villa resorted to all manner of tactics to try and stop Spurs said a lot about the relative strength of the two clubs.  Anyway, onto the next round and another game, but this showed that the squad can be utilised to make a charge on all fronts this season, but with higher priorities in other competitions.

Sparky Marky


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What you thought
Gary Sampson What, not a mention of the presence of Heurelho Gomes on the bench ??
- -.



Other scores during this week :
Burnley 2 Nottingham Forest 1 Tuesday
Swindon Town 0 Chelsea 2 Tuesday
Fulham 2 Everton 1 Tuesday
Hull City 1 Huddersfield Town 0 Tuesday
Manchester City 5 Wigan Athletic 0 Tuesday
Watford 2 Norwich City (after extra time) 3 Tuesday
Southampton 2 Bristol City 0 Tuesday
Sunderland 2 Peterborough United 0 Tuesday
Leicester City 2 Derby County 1 Tuesday
West Ham United 3 Cardiff City 2 Tuesday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Arsenal (a.e.t. 1-1 at 90 mins; won 4-3 on pens) 1 Wednesday
Birmingham City 3 Swansea City 1 Wednesday
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 0 Wednesday
Newcastle United 2 Leeds United 0 Wednesday
Tranmere Rovers 0 Stoke City 2 Wednesday


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