|ASTON VILLA 0 (0)||TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 (1)|
|Date : – Saturday 9th April 2022||Kick off : – 17.30|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Villa Park|
|Crowd : – ??|
|Referee : – Graham Scott (Berks & Bucks)||Linesmen : – Mr. Harry Leonard; Mr. Mark Scholes|
|Fourth official : – Craig Pawson|
|VAR official : – Jarred Gillett||VAR Assistant : – Lee Betts|
|Weather : – Dry, chilly|
|Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the Holte end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 11 minutes
|ASTON VILLA||TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR|
|None||Son 02m 43s|
|Kulusevski 49m 39s|
|Son 65m 40s|
|Son 70m 56s|
|Ings (foul on Davies) 21||Hojbjerg (foul on Coutinho) 29|
|Young (foul on Kane) 82||Royal (foul on Buendia) 74|
|Kane (attempted foul on Bailey) 90+1|
|ASTON VILLA||TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR|
|1.||Emiliano MARTINEZ||1.||Hugo LLORIS (c)|
|2.||Matthew CASH||4.||Cristian ROMERO|
|4.||Esri KONSA||15.||Eric DIER|
|5.||Tyrone MINGS (c)||33.||Ben DAVIES|
|27.||Lucas DIGNE ( 2. Ashley YOUNG 79 )|
|| Emerson ROYAL
|7.||John McGINN||30.||Rodrigo BENTACUR|
|6.||Douglas LUIZ||5.||Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG|
|23.||Philippe COUTINHO ( 10. Emiliano BUENDIA 70)||2.||Matt DOHERTY ( 3. Sergio REGUILON 21)|
|41.||Jacob RAMSEY||21.||Dejan KULUSEVSKI ( 23. Steven BERGWIJN 84)|
|20.||Danny INGS ( 31. Leon BAILEY 70)||7.|| Heung-Min SON ( 27. Lucas MOURA 78)
|25.||Robin OLSEN||22.||Pierluigi GOLLINI|
|16.||Calum CHAMBERS||6.||Davinson SANCHEZ|
|19.||Marvelous NAKAMBA||14.||Joe RODON|
|8.||Morgan SANSON||19.||Ryan SESSEGNON|
|33.||Carney CHUKWUEMEKA||8.||Harry WINKS|
|15.||Bertrand TRAORE||42.||Harvey WHITE|
|Manager : – Steven Gerrard||Manager : – Antonio Conte|
|Kit Supplier : – Kappa||Kit Supplier : – Nike|
|Shirt Sponsor : – Cazoo||Shirt Sponsor : – AIA
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – OB Sports||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch
|Colours : –||Colours : –|
|Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website|
|With a defensive display as good as they have put up in a long time to repel the Aston Villa fight-back, Tottenham built on their early lead to take the points with a fine attacking performance in the second half to run out 3-0 winners. It was a series of smooth passing moves that opened Villa up after a couple of longer balls had given Spurs two goals after the break.
The changes in the way that Tottenham approached the second half derived from the dressing room exchanges that went on between manager and players, which turned the game from defiantly defending an onslaught from the home team to forcing them into submission and making them chase shadows.
Villa started the match by hitting Spurs players late with challenges as the home side made it clear that they were not going to give Spurs the space and time on the ball that Newcash had done the previous week. However, what they did give Spurs was the opening goal of the game. A shot from Harry Kane just outside the area hit Cash in the nuts when Konsa had failed to clear a long high ball with a header. When it bounced off the Villa man, Son swept it first-time left-footed off the keeper’s right hand post and in from just inside the box to give Spurs the lead within three minutes. It was poor defending from the home team but seizing on it and making it count was a fine piece of finishing.
Villa were riled by letting a goal in so early and Cash left Doherty on the floor with an overly aggressive challenge, but after treatment he was able to carry on for a short while, but going down again off the ball, he needed more attention from the physio, although Reguilon had to replace him after he went down off the ball as a result of the earlier hit.
Hugo Lloris had to be alert when Cash hit an effort from 25 yards and he got down low to keep the ball out and although it came back out in front of him, there was no claret shirt following in. The Spurs skipper did even better when Ramsey weaved his way into the left side of the area and drilled a shot at goal, which Lloris pushed over for a corner. With Villa getting the bounce as Spurs defended their penalty area, McGinn struck a 25 yard drive that Hugo slapped away with his left hand. When the ball was cleared, Mings went through Kulusevski after winning the ball with a tackle of excessive force, which VAR failed to spot anything wrong with, but it was followed straight away when Ings fouled Reguilon, which only brought a yellow. The lack of control by the referee saw the tackled then go flying in and it looked to be only a question of time before something serious happened. As it was, it looked like it happened to Ramsey when he had gone into a full-blooded tackle with Bentancur, but he continued to play on after treatment.
With 27 minutes gone, Villa won a free-kick five yards outside the box and it was lifted over the wall for Ings, but he completely missed the ball, otherwise Tottenham could have been in trouble as he was onside. He had an even better opportunity later when a cleared ball was played back in from the right and was flicked on to the far post. Unmarked and onside again, he took it with his right foot and from eight yards out, dragged it wide.
It hadn’t been a great half, with Spurs up against it and unable to get the ball clear. When they did, Reguilon took a pop at goal with his right foot, coming inside from the left and the ball came off a defender before squirting away from Harry Kane at the far post, with both Martinez and Mings unsure about whether to touch it or not, although the keeper had no choice, as the ball came off his face for a corner.
Unsurprisingly, five minutes of added time were shown by the fourth official, with all the stoppages for injuries and in the first of them Ben Davies covered Watkins’ run to prevent him getting onto a ball into the box. A left wing cross was glanced away by Dier to the other side of the area and Polish international Cash came in to volley at goal, with Lloris getting down low to get behind it and then grab the ball at the second attempt. They then won a corner as Countinho’s shot was off a Spurs player as it flew over and then Ramsey fell to the floor under Kulusevski’s pressure on their left wing. Coutinho took it and hit a dipping low shot to the near post that Hugo did brilliantly to fist out and then when the ball bounced around, Romero knocked it up in the air and the Spurs keeper came to claim it.
The second half opened with Villa maintaining their over-aggressive approach conceding free-kicks, with Gerrard perhaps telling them to play more like he used to. Despite Hojbjerg being fouled by McGinn for the second time in a minute, play was allowed to go on and Emerson Royal won a corner. It was cleared and Royal played it back to Lloris, whose big clearance upfield was aimed at Harry Kane, who stepped in front of Konsa to glance a header into Dejan Kulusevski’s path. Coming from the centre of the edge of the penalty are to the left, he took the ball past Digne and when Mings faced him up, the Swede drilled a shot through the defender’s legs and past the keeper to make it 2-0. It was a neat bit of supply play by Kane and a neat finish from Kulusevski, doing what Villa had been unable to do at that end in the first half.
He almost was on for another when he was presented with a ball in the centre circle, but he was outnumbered and an intended nutmeg went through to Son, but the ball came off the striker a little too heavily as he looked to go into the box and Martinez initially hesitated, but then came to claim it.
Romero tried to be a bit too clever in playing the ball off Digne aiming for a goal-kick, but it touched him on the way off to present Villa with a corner that Konsa won, but Dier did enough to deflect it wide. It won another corner, but when the ball came to Ings, his shot went over the angle of post and bar. Reguilon switched play when the ball was played out from the goal-kick and Royal played in Kane, but Konsa blocked the forward’s shot.
It was a slow build up with Luiz dragging Reguilon off the ground after he had been fouled. It was played back to Romero, who chipped a ball forward for Kane, who measured his header on for Son running onto it behind him. Heung-Min took it on, across Cash and fired it past Martinez’s right with his left foot as he got into the box to make it 3-0. The second half had seen Villa blow themselves out and Spurs had been able to control the game a bit more, giving them the advantage with such good finishers in the team. Konsa was at fault once more, as he was too far off Kane, who had time to look to see where Son was before Romero’s ball reached him.
As Villa lost their discipline, Luiz was working like a headless chicken, worrying more about getting the player rather than the ball. Royal and Kulusevski worked the ball out from our own corner on the right, with the ball played up to Kane, who knocked it through for Son. With players in front of him on the right touchline, he passed the ball past Konsa to put Dejan away and he made his way into the box, laid Mings on the floor with a dummy, then turned back to put the ball into Son’s path just behind the penalty spot, from where he swept the ball right footed in off Martinez’s right hand post. Konsa let Son go once more and the hat-trick was just reward for a hard-working performance, in defence as well as in attack.
Son was given a rest with Moura coming on, with the light blue seats emptying quickly. Ashley Young came on and you just know what was going to happen, as Kane mugged up Luiz with a turn in the centre-circle and Young committed an assault on him that was only judged to be a booking.
As Villa ran aimlessly after the ball, Spurs enjoyed themselves passing the ball around and Bergwijn, who had replaced Kulusevski, held the ball up in the box and just over-hit his pass intended to give Emerson a chance to score. Hugo almost undone his good work of the first half, when he passed the ball out of the box straight to substitute Leon Bailey, who curled his shot wide under pressure from Davies. Then Buendia won the ball at the near post with a flick of his foot to a corner, but Lloris was at his near post to cover it. When a free-kick was given against Villa, Luiz thundered the ball at the Spurs goal, but still couldn’t get it in as it bounced out off the bar !!
It was a result that cemented fourth place for the moment, with Woolwich Wanderers losing at home to Brighton & Hove Albion earlier in the afternoon. As the performance showed, the Spurs recruitment team might not have been too far off the mark in the past and may not need to be in the future. Having lost out to Villa when chasing Konsa’s signing from Charlton and while it might have been useful having a Spurs supporter in the opposition defence, he had a mare of a match and while there has been much media speculation about Spurs having an interest in Douglas Luiz, his display today was shocking. One of many whose main ambition was to kick a Spurs player rather than the ball, his efforts were misdirected, as the ball was played around him, leaving him behind as Tottenham moved forward.
Tactically, Gerrard had got the first half just about right. Press hard and high, win the ball in midfield and don’t give Spurs the opportunity to build moves. Unfortunately for the Midlanders, Conte has the experience and nous of managing at the top level and worked out how to overcome Villa’s approach to open them up time and time again.
Son will take the plaudits with his hat-trick, but as he said after the game, Hugo Lloris played like a Superman today. Flying through the air to make saves, reacting faster than a flying bullet to push the ball wide, able to take high crosses with a single bound, wrists more powerful than a locomotive to beat away shots. He, and the fact that Villa lacked a finisher in their side, was the difference in that first 45 minutes. He had a lot less to do in the second half, as the Spurs side worked like a well-oiled machine and controlled the game with crisp passing that made Villa look the mid-table side that they are. I saw a text to the BBC text feed on the match that said “Gerrard is a winner”. Well, he was in Scotland, but he wasn’t today. He was a loser today … just look at the result.
While the media are in a frenzy about Spurs being favourites for fourth position, there is still a long way to go. There are lots of points to play for and who knows what a referee or VAR could do to dis-rail any effort to get to the end of the season where we currently are in the table.
|His hat-trick took Heung Min-Son to tenth place in the all-time goal-scorer’s list for the club.|
|Newcash United||1||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0|
|Woolwich Wanderers||1||Brighton & Hove Albion||2|
|South Coast Big Club||0||Chelsea||6|
|Brentford||2||West Ham United London||0|
|Leicester City||2||Crystal Palace||1|
Premier League Table 2021-22
|6||West Ham United London||32||15||6||11||51||42||51||+9|
|11||Brighton & Hove Albion||31||8||13||10||28||37||37||-9|
|14||South Coast Big Club||31||8||12||11||37||52||36||-15|