Match Preview, Tottenham vs Aston Villa.

Match date & time: Saturday 11th April 2015. 3pm GMT KO.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised live in the UK. Check out the worldwide TV schedule HERE.

After a really frustrating bore draw with Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend, we look to put the record straight against a familiar face Tim Sherwood, and his Aston Villa side at the Lane this Saturday. Our form has been quite patchy of late which is to be expected after such a disheartening result in the Capital One Cup final, but we still have things to play for. The top four looks very unlikely, but it was never expected in Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in charge, despite an ounce of disappointment in that probably not being possible this season, we have to have a bit of patience, even though I know that isn’t the best quality in football fans! At home to a struggling Aston Villa side, we are the favourites, but this can be deceiving, as a side like Aston Villa have everything to play for, and as we found out against the likes of Leicester and Burnley, these sides will put everything on the line to get points, which makes it extremely tough for sides just like us, who don’t have the pressure of Premier League survival stacked upon our shoulders. We have the quality to get passed these sides but their heart and determination makes our job harder, it means as a team we have to perform at a higher level to victor in these games. Knowing Tim Sherwood as we do, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants to win this game for his own personal pride rather than the survival of Aston Villa Football Club, so we’re not only battling the will of a relegation threatened side, but also a bitter Tim Sherwood who will want to add to that win percentage.

Villa sit 16th in the Premier League, just 3 points away from the dreaded drop zone. That 3 points is not enough if you’re Tim Sherwood, and our former manager has been looking to find those points, but discovering that it is harder than he might have thought down at the bottom. After losing his first two games as Villa boss in late February, March was good to Aston Villa and helped them pull out of the bottom three of the Premier League with a big 4-0 win over Sunderland the pick of the bunch. But, two games into April, they are yet to win, with a loss to Manchester United, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but also a 3-3 draw with fellow relegation battlers QPR at Villa Park, which is a bit of a missed opportunity for 3 points for the Villains. Let’s hope we can make it a loss sandwich for Tim Sherwood’s men. Last time we faced Villa was back in November of last year, a 2-1 win thanks to late goals from Nacer Chadli and the one and only Harry Kane giving us the win in the Premier League tie. The last time we faced the Villains at the Lane was the last game of last season, under the guidance of now Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood – we triumphed 3-0 thanks to goals from Paulinho, a Baker OG and an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty. Hopefully we can get a repeat result, but with Tim Sherwood on the losing side!

The team news for Villa is that Scott Sinclair (hamstring), Ashley Westwood (hamstring), Alan Hutton (ankle), Chris Herd (herd) & Libor Kozak (broken leg) are all ruled out of the match, while Philippe Senderos (calf) is expected to return, as Carles Gil (hip) is to undergo a late fitness test for the Villains. That’s quite a backlog of injuries for Tim Sherwood to deal with, but he’ll be hoping that players like Christian Benteke to step up like he did against QPR, with the big Belgian striker netting a hat trick against the Hoops, and after a slow season, he seems to be picking up pace and showing some of his old form, at just the right time for Aston Villa in their fight for survival. With our defensive frailties on show to the world lately, I am sure Villa will be looking to Benteke to make us pay – hopefully we can contain the threat that the Belgian has to offer as much as possible. Along with Benteke, the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor is always a threat, stretching and working the defences of opponents and running the channels, he will definitely be hard to contain. I think we have had a distinct lack of pace in our team recently, so Agbonlahor could really be a thorn to our hopes of winning the match.
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The team news for Tottenham is that Hugo Lloris (knee) and Kyle Walker (foot) are ruled out of the match, while Jan Vertonghen (illness) is a doubt. With our number 1 still side-lined, it paves the way for Michel Vorm to continue in goal after his solid performance against Burnley, ending in a clean sheet for the Dutch international. As Kyle Walker is also on the injury list, it means that either Vlad Chiriches or Eric Dier will deputise for the England international, with DeAndre Yedlin not expected to be close to the first 11, but it would be nice for him to be in the squad. Federico Fazio wasn’t included in the match day squad against Burnley, but with our defensive woes, I think the big Argentinian could be reintegrated into the side, possibly replacing Vlad Chiriches in the centre of defence to allow Eric Dier to fill in at right back, where he has experience from the start of the season.

Our 0-0 draw with Burnley was far from a classic, and our offensive prowess was crowded out by Burnley’s defensive solidarity, but with Aston Villa being a very offensive and open side, it could expose space for our attack minded players to flourish once again. Tim Sherwood is known for wanting to showcase his attacking style of play, so you have to expect an open game at the Lane this Saturday. One player that will thrive in an open game is Christian Eriksen – who has had a difficult run of form recently, but this is the perfect opportunity for the Dane to open his wings again and take control of a game again. His talent is undeniable but he does lack consistency at times, and I don’t think he has fully adapted to the English game as of yet. But, he’s still very young and will only blossom further in England. I’ve said it time after time, but when Eriksen performs, Tottenham perform along with him. Harry Kane captained the side against Burnley, and could captain the side again against Villa, but he needs help in attack otherwise he can be swarmed by the opposition and as we saw against Burnley, he became ineffective, as sadly he cant do everything on his own! That support needs to be from not only Christian Eriksen, but also the wingers that Mauricio Pochettino decides to go with, whether that be Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Andros Townsend or even Paulinho – their job is to supply Harry Kane not only with crosses and passes, but with bodies and support offensively. Kane can’t be left stranded up top; otherwise I think Villa will find it quite easy to deal with him as a unit. I do believe that our offensive threat will be too much for the defensive frailties that Villa do have.

Match stats provided by StatsZone:

– Tottenham have won their last five PL meetings with Aston Villa, netting two or more goals in each game.

– Aston Villa have scored just six goals in their last 12 Premier League matches against Tottenham and never more than once in a game.

– Tottenham have gained 10 points from losing positions at home this season, more than any other side.

– Aston Villa have gained no points from losing positions away from home in the Premier League this season; the only team not to do so.

– White Hart Lane is the highest scoring stadium in the Premier League this season (51 goals).

– The Lane has also seen the most first half goals this season (27).

– Christian Benteke has scored seven goals in his last five Premier League appearances.

– Under Tim Sherwood, Benteke has scored at a rate of one goal every 87 minutes in the Premier League.

– Villa have conceded three goals in each of their last two Premier League games. They have only conceded 3+ goals in three successive games twice in PL history (in 2009 and 2012).

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last four Premier League games at White Hart Lane.

It’s a big game. Tim Sherwood returns to the Lane, hopefully to a decent reception. It’s important we return to winning ways quickly against a struggling Villa side, but we have to be aware that this Sherwood side will come into this game like a final and we have to be on top of our game to avoid an upset. The game isn’t shown live in the UK, but I will be updating you live at my twitter account, with goal updates, photos, videos and much more, follow me there @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face Aston Villa at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Vorm
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Eriksen – Townsend
Kane.

On the Forza Football app by @FootballAddicts, the users predicted:

A Tottenham win: 76%

An Aston Villa win: 15%

A Draw: 9%.

Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference pre Aston Villa:

Check out Spurs retro gear by Campo Retro HERE!
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