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    Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa preview

    by Conall Green

    Aston Villa travel to London to take on Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, with prospective new manager Remi Garde to watch the game from the stands.

    The former Arsenal player, who’s only management job has been at Lyon in his native France, is expected to be appointed today, but he will not take charge until after tonight’s game.

    Instead it will be caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald who will select the team, a role he has performed previously in 2010 when Martin O’Neill left the club. It will not be an easy task for Scotsman MacDonald, with Spurs having gone nine games undefeated in the league since losing against Manchester United at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season.

    Villa, on the other hand, have not won since the opening day; and it was this dreadful lack of form which culminated in the sacking of previous incumbent Tim Sherwood, after a sixth straight league defeat at home to Swansea City on the 24th October. This left Villa rock bottom, already four points adrift of safety, and prompted owner Randy Lerner to look for a new coach, and he has gambled on Garde.

    MacDonald should have a full strength squad to choose from, with Joleon Lescott likely to be fit after sustaining a knock. Micah Richards is a potential absentee after admitting a charge of improper conduct for an incident with Federico Fernandez in the tunnel in the aftermath of the Swansea game. With the new boss watching, whoever makes the starting XI will surely be eager to impress.

    Spurs, who have generally been more solid than spectacular in their unbeaten run, have no new injury concerns ahead of this Monday night clash. Pochettino will again be without Algerian holding midfielder Nabil Bentaleb, Belgian winger Nacer Chadli, summer signing Heung-Min Son, and youth product Alex Pritchard. Federico Fazio could return to the Spurs defence after a hamstring injury.

    The absence of South Korean striker Son means Harry Kane will again lead the Spurs line, the England international having regained his scoring touch with a hat trick against Bournemouth, having previously only found the net once in the Premier League this campaign.

    A win for the home side tonight would see them leapfrog London rivals West Ham on goal difference, and occupy fifth spot in the league, only one point behind Manchester United in the final Champions League spot. An unlikely away victory would see Villa overtake both Sunderland and Newcastle United to rise to 18th position, only one point adrift of Bournemouth. It would be a much needed boost for the Midlands side, who have looked woefully short of confidence in recent weeks.

    The two clubs contrasting fortunes mean Tottenham start as odds on favourites with the bookmakers, available at around 2/5, with Villa longshots at a huge 15/2. The draw is priced at 15/4. If you fancy Harry Kane to get on the scoresheet once again, he is priced at 8/11 to score at any time.

    Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Aston Villa. Villa to show more fight than in recent times in an attempt to impress the new man in charge, but Spurs should do enough to see off the men from the Midlands in the end.
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Conall Green
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