Match date & time: Sunday 2nd November 2014. 4pm GMT KO.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: Villa Park.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. Worldwide TV listings HERE.
After our midweek Capital One Cup victory against Brighton, we now return to Premier League action with 3 points on the agenda. Villa Park and Aston Villa await in what will be a tough, but winnable game of Premier League football. Every game is a ‘must win’, but some are more important than others. After dropping unnecessary points to Newcastle, West Brom & Sunderland, as well as losses to Liverpool and Manchester City, it’s time we get that winning feel back to our side in the Premier League before it starts to effect the players confidence and doubts start to creep into their thoughts. We need to get three points and a good victory and then hopefully create a good run of results. In the Cup competitions we have done well, but we’ve been struggling in the League, and now, facing a side struggling even more than us, it’s time hopefully to get three points on the board again, and things look a little more rosy.
Aston Villa sit 15th in the Premier League table, with 3 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses from their 9 games, accumulating 10 points. That’s only 1 point off of Tottenham who currently sit in 11th place, but of course we have to remember that these are very early days. Aston Villa started the season flying, winning 3 and drawing 1 of their opening 4 games. Beating Liverpool at Anfield and Stoke at the Britannia along the way, with was very impressive. But, in their last 5 games, they haven’t got a single point, or scored a single goal, and have entered a very sticky patch in their season. Hopefully, we can take advantage of this and heap misery on the Villains. In recent times, Tottenham have dominated this fixture. Home and away Aston Villa in the last 6 years haven’t been able to live with us. In our last 12 games against The Villa, we have gone unbeaten, winning 9 and drawing 3 since 2008, scoring 25 and conceding just 5 in the process. On paper, and looking back on the history, it looks as though we will prevail once again. I hope that’s the case! Aston Villa also haven’t scored a goal in our last 5 meetings against us, where we have won every time, scoring 15 goals in those 5 games, another 2 or 3 would do nicely this Sunday!
The team news for Aston Villa is that long term absentees Fabian Delph (dislocated shoulder), and Libor Kozak (broken leg) remain out; and they are joined by Philipe Senderos (thigh) and Alan Hutton (ankle) on the treatment table and not available for this game. Andi Weimann (calf) was a doubt for Villa, but looks to have recovered in time to play along with Nathan Baker (hamstring) who scored an own goal the last time the two sides met.
Aston Villa have some good players, in attack and in defence. Up front, we are all aware of the big Belgian Christian Benteke, who recently recovered from a long term injury to regain his place in the Aston Villa side. He lacks sharpness and match fitness, but we know how much of a threat and a nuisance he can be to defences with his presence and finishing ability. The pace of Gabby Agbonlahor is always a threat to any team; he can get in behind you or drive your defence backwards and players who can do that are very valuable, but, his final product has always let him down, although he does have 2 goals in his 8 games so far this season, but of course none in their last 5. Defensively, Ron Vlaar is key to their set up. His organisation and leadership skills make him invaluable to their side and when he isn’t on form, or is out of the team, it makes a notable difference to their side. We saw in the World Cup what a solid player Ron Vlaar can be, but maybe Villa need more defensively than just him. He can’t do it all.
The team news for Tottenham is that Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Kyle Walker (abdominal) remain out of the side, with Etienne Capoue (knee) and Aaron Lennon (hamstring) doubts, and awaiting late fitness calls this Sunday. Hopefully we can get those two fit in time.
All the talk leading up to the game has been about Harry Kane. Will he start, won’t he start. It’s a question being debated by thousands. After his incredible goal scoring form so far this season, it’s hard to argue a reason that he shouldn’t be starting, especially looking at the goalscoring record of his competitors up front. For me, I’d like it if he were to start, leading the line with Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen behind him, creating and feeding Harry Kane chances for him to try and finish off. I know some will be upset at leaving out Roberto Soldado, who performed admirably in midweek against Brighton, but I don’t want to sacrifice those three behind the striker, I think they all have the capability to win you matches, more so than Soldado at this moment in time. Erik Lamela shone in midweek once again, and showed everyone what he can do with the ball at his feet and in front of goal, so hopefully he can produce a few pieces of magic to light up the Premier League, and hopefully he can get his first, long overdue, Premier League goal. Defensively, Eric Dier didn’t have his best day against Newcastle last weekend, and has played a lot of games, in some ways to his benefit and in some ways harming him, and I think it’s time for a little rest for the young Englishmen who has done a stellar job in the absence of Kyle Walker & Naughton, not in his favoured position we must remember. Kyle Naughton should make his way into that right back slot, and that gives us a better balance to the team, as Naughton is a right back by nature and has more of an attacking ability than Dier, and knows the balance between attack and defence better.
Match stats & facts provided by Opta:
– Aston Villa have scored just one goal in their last six Premier League matches against Tottenham, including failing to score in the last four meetings in a row.
– Emmanuel Adebayor has scored more goals against Aston Villa (7) than versus any other opponent in the Barclays Premier League.
– Adebayor has netted four in four Premier League starts for Spurs against the Villans.
– Tottenham have won eight and lost none of the last 11 Premier League matches against Aston Villa (D3).
– Andros Townsend has scored on his last two Premier League visits to Villa Park.
– Aston Villa have become the ninth different side to lose five successive Premier League games without scoring a single goal. The PL record is seven (Ipswich Town in 1995).
– The last time that Aston Villa went five league games without scoring was March 1992. They have never failed to score in six consecutive league games.
– Andreas Weimann has played a hand in 75% of Aston Villa’s league goals so far this season, scoring two and assisting another.
– Tottenham have not drawn any of their last 37 Premier League games 0-0 – the longest run of its kind among the 20 current PL clubs.
– Spurs have scored more goals in the opening 30 minutes of their matches (5) than Aston Villa have managed all season (4).
Back to winning ways is a must this Sunday! Hopefully we can continue our form in recent years against Aston Villa and take advantage of some of their bad form. The game is televised on Sky Sports, but I’ll be providing match updates, photos, videos & much more from my Twitter account. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points! COYS!!
My predicted/preferred team to face Aston Villa at Villa Park:
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Mason
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Mauricio Pochettino speaks to the press ahead of the trip to Villa: