Spurs 1 – 2 Aston Villa Match Review
Despite defeat against Villa in North London, there are still positives for Ange Postecoglou’s side to take away from Sunday’s game.
Sunday saw a massive match take centre stage where Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham Hotspur hosted an Aston Villa side led by Unai Emery at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It was so pivotal as the two teams sat in 4th and 5th place ahead of the match; they both knew that the winner of the game would be in the top four come the end of the game.
After an action-packed game with goal-mouth action at both ends of the pitch, Villa emerged as 2 – 1 winners in the end. It is a game, though, where everyone of a Spurs persuasion may feel that they deserved something from the game.
Before we review the game itself, tributes were paid to Terry Venables after news of his death on Sunday morning. Venables had a tremendous impact on a number of clubs and, of course, on the England national team. He is, of course, a Tottenham legend – he was manager of the club from 1987 to 1997, winning the FA Cup in 1991, which was the club’s 8th and most recent win in this competition.
Following the news of his passing, players on both sides wore black armbands in tribute. There was also a minutes’ applause before kick-off.
Onto the match itself now, and the opening five minutes of this contest were action-packed, to say the least. Matty Cash (1’) and Destiny Udogie both had efforts that missed the target, but they were not as unlucky as Dejan Kulusevski, who was unfortunate to hit the post with a fantastic, curling effort on goal (3’).
Aston Villa had a great chance of their own a few minutes later through Pau Torres, but the Spanish central defender could not guide his header into the back of the net (5’). Bryan Gil then forced a great save from Emiliano Martinez with almost ten minutes of the game gone (7’).
The deadlock was finally broken just after twenty minutes had elapsed in the game. Giovani Lo Celso, who made his first start of the season on Sunday, scored the opening goal in some style with his long-range and powerful effort finding the back of Martinez’s net via a deflection off Diego Carlos (22’).
It seemed like Aston Villa had responded immediately when Ollie Watkins found the back of the net from a Lucas Digne cross a couple of minutes later, but to the relief of those of a Spurs persuasion, the goal was ruled out for offside. It remained 1 – 0 to Ange Postecoglou’s side (24’).
Kulusevski then came close to doubling his side’s advantage later in the first half, but his shot flew agonisingly wide of the left post (35’).
Son seemed to have better luck when he found the net moments later, but he was found to be offside, so the Lilywhites’ lead remained at one (44’).
Despite all of their chances, Tottenham could not go into the half-time interval with their one-goal advantage still intact. Villa were awarded a free kick, which saw Douglas Luiz float a lovely ball into the Spurs box, where it was met by the head of Pau Torres, who equalised for Emery’s side with a header (45+7’).
The start of the second half was as busy as it was in the first. The first opportunity fell to goal scorer Lo Celso, but the Argentine midfielder saw his shot on goal blocked by the Aston Villa defenders (49’).
Son Heung-Min was then denied a goal again, but this time after his header on goal flew too high, with it going over the crossbar (50’).
Leon Bailey, a half-time substitute, forced a great save from Guglielmo Vicario (52’) before Son forced a save from Emiliano Martinez (55’).
Tottenham Hotspur unfortunately fell behind for the first time in the match with less than half an hour of the game to go. Ollie Watkins, who had earlier been denied a goal thanks to VAR, scored after finding the bottom left corner following a through ball from Youri Tielemans, a summer signing from Leicester City (61’).
Postecoglou’s side wondered how they were not level when Brennan Johnson and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were denied by superb saves from World Cup winning Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (73’).
Dejan Kulusevski then had an effort on target of his own saved by Villa’s Argentine stopper (74’).
With just five minutes of the contest remaining, Tottenham were piling on the pressure for an equaliser. After Pedro Porro hit the post, Son Heung-Min thought he had equalised after finding the back of the net from close range, only to be denied by the offside flag (85’).
The full time whistle went with Tottenham Hotspur on the end of a narrow 2 – 1 defeat. They would have felt they deserved something from the game and were unfortunate not to convert some of their chances.
Statistically, Spurs were dominant in this game. Firstly, they had more possession, with 62% of the ball compared to the visitors’ 38%. They also had more shots on target with 8, with the Villa having 5.
Following the game, this is what Ange Postecoglou had to say (via Tottenham Hotspur’s official website): “The result is disappointing – disappointing for our fans and particularly for our players, because I thought the way we played, the intent they showed… we deserved to get something out of that game.
“On any other day, we would have won it comfortably. So, obviously, disappointed that they don’t get the rewards and our supporters miss that joy of winning a game of football.
“I was really pleased with some of the football we played. In patches, that was as good as we’ve played all season. Obviously, we didn’t get the kind of rewards our play deserved, and sometimes that happens in football, it’s fine margins. From what I’m looking for from the lads and the way we played, I just thought we went out there with a real intent to play the kind of football we want to play.”
Tottenham’s next game in the Premier League will see them travel to the Etihad Stadium to face reigning Premier League Champions Manchester City on Sunday, 3rd December (16:30 Kick-Off).
This comes before two consecutive home matches. The first is against West Ham United on Thursday, 7th December (20:15 Kick-Off), followed by Newcastle United on Sunday, 10th December 2023 (16:30 Kick-Off).
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