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    Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa: Match Report

    By Tom Regan

    Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side got the job done against a struggling Aston Villa, and Reme Garde could only watch in despair as he came to terms with the challenge that lies ahead for his new team.

    Frenchman Garde has just been installed as the new Villa boss, but interim manager Kevin MacDonald had full control of affairs on Monday night, and will be pleased with certain aspects, as his team made a good fist of things and gave Spurs a couple of concerning moments.

    Unsurprisingly, Villa didn't take up their full away allocation, but the travelling fans that did turn up made their presence count as they tried to inspire their beloved Claret and Blues.

    The north Londoner’s decided to stick with the same eleven that had dismantled Bournemouth so convincingly last weekend, meaning Ryan Mason started on the bench. However, Clinton N'Jie’s absence left Pochettino with limited attacking options on the bench.

    The Lilywhites got off to an electric start. Mousa Dembele received the ball from Danny Rose, and pure strength and determination saw him fend off Ciaran Clark as he powered into the Villa box and drilled the ball low through Brad Guzan’s legs. It was only Dembele's fifth league goal for Tottenham, perhaps more of a rarity that he found the net in consecutive games.

    Hugo Lloris was required to make a good stop from Scott Sinclair who had jinked in from the left. The French shot-stopper could only parry the ball high, but Jack Grealish's follow up was fired wide.
    Eric Dier played an intelligent ball for Harry Kane, whose shot was deflected, and Guzan tipped the ball over his bar. Eriksen took a cleverly executed corner from the left, finding Danny Rose, and the defender’s dipping left foot shot went just over the bar.

    Spurs nearly committed a cardinal sin as Hugo Lloris raced off his line to clear a long ball aimed for Sinclair. The keeper’s blushes were spared as his clearance ricocheted off Kyle Walker and fell safely Danny Rose, who cleared the danger.

    A smart attack down the left flank involving Danny Rose, Dembele and Eriksen won the north Londoner’s a corner, but the resulting set piece was hacked away into touch. Villa’s Ashley Westwood received treatment after being unintentionally struck in the face by Dembele, and it soon became clear he would be unable to continue, as Jordan Ayew replaced him.

    Eriksen’s free kick was dealt with by Villa, until the Dane got the ball back, but could only cross over the goal. With half time just seconds away, Eriksen found Danny Rose on the left, and the full back’s pass dropped to Dele Alli. Alli made some room, and then calmly fired a low shot past the helpless Guzan right to give the hosts a 2-0 lead at half time.

    MacDonald had no choice but to make a change during the interval, as Gabriel Agbonlahor was replaced by Rudy Gestede, with Joleon Lescott eventually receiving the captain’s armband in comical fashion.

    Instead of pushing on and looking to further punish an uninspired Villa team, the Lilywhites seemed to take their foot off the gas. But they did create a decent chance through Lamela's cross in the 52nd minute, which Rose headed over.

    Mousa Dembele made way for Ryan Mason on 69 minutes. A foul on Kane gave free kick specialist Eriksen a fantastic opportunity to hit the target, but he fired over from 25 yards.

    Tottenham failed to clear their lines, allowing Gestede to have a shot which won the visitors a corner. The Villa fans had woken up again, as they urged their team to fight back at White Hart Lane.

    Some lovely passing football by Spurs saw Erik Lamela get a shot on target, which Guzan held comfortably. Lloris had to dive low to his left, but Leandro Bacuna's shot hit the post.

    Villa had been knocking on the door, and were soon celebrating when Jordan Ayew was allowed a run across from the left, beating Lloris's right hand with a deflected right foot shot.

    Welsh international Ben Davies replaced Rose with eight minutes remaining. The defender was closest to Gestede, who nodded a header wide, with Lloris in no man’s land, as he came rushing out in an attempt to collect the ball. Ayew had a rasping effort that fractionally missed the target, and the home faithful were sat nervously as the Claret and Blue’s pushed for an equaliser.

    The outstanding Alli was replaced by hot prospect Josh Onomah with just a few minutes remaining, and the youngster showed some nice touches, playing in an attacking midfield role, and tested the palms of Guzan after a run with the ball.

    Four minutes of injury time was signalled, and two minutes into it, the north Londoner’s made sure of the points as some free-flowing football ended with a fine goal. Eriksen played the ball out to Lamela who had occupied a position on the right. The Argentinian quickly sent the ball across the area to the feet of an unmarked Harry Kane, who smashed into the top corner and put his side into fifth in the Premier League table.

    A crucial week of football awaits Pochettino’s boys as they entertain Anderlecht in the Europa League at White Hart Lane on Thursday, followed by Sunday’s north London derby at the Emirates. 
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa: Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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