Aston Villa 1 Spurs 2 – Mixed feelings

Kane celebrates against Villa


Spurs stole this game, against possibly one of the weakest teams in the division, but at least we took home the points. It’s hard to know how to feel when your team play so poorly but rally in the last five minutes to record an improbable come-back.

On the one hand there’s the disappointment and frustration at the performance, on the other hand it was an exhilarating finish that summed up why – despite all the ups and downs – we still support Tottenham.

The fact it was Harry Kane, youth product, local kid and all round nice guy, coming on to score the last minute winner, only added to the drama.

Before this game Villa hadn’t scored in over 9 hours of football, notching up five losses in the process. They had the lowest shots tally in the league. Surely even Spurs couldn’t mess this one up?

To be fair there was one ingredient that Paul Lambert’s side have been missing for most of the season so far – Christian Benteke. The big striker was the focal point for much of this match. Early on he looked like winning it for Villa, in the end he played a big part in losing it for them.

Pochettino had to shake things up after the toothless performance against Newcastle. Fans were clamouring for the introduction of Harry Kane after his excellent form in the cups. The manager instead went with Soldado, replacing Lamela to go with two up front.

Giving the young Argentine a rest made some sense – he has been disappointing in recent league games. Putting in an extra striker was presumably an attempt to remedy our problems scoring goals.

Early on Benteke caused the Spurs defenders no end of problems. Tottenham fans looked on enviously as his combination of pace, power and aerial ability showed us just what we have been missing up front all season.

Kaboul was all at sea. He just couldn’t cope either on the ground or in the air. I advocated paying Fazio in this game to try to nullify Benteke’s physicality but the pace of the Villa striker and those supporting him were as much of a threat. How we could have done with Musacchio!

Benteke went close from a header, then hit the post with a rasping drive.

Villa’s first goal in 547 minutes came 16 minutes into the match. Rose was weak in the tackle out wide, Vertonghen gave N’Zogbia room to cross. Weimann and Benteke had lost their markers, the Austrian firing the ball into the goal.

The chances were coming thick and fast at both ends, more because of a lack of organisation in defence than any real quality going forward – the big Villa striker apart. Soldado missed a header from close range, although to be fair to him it came at him very quickly. Then he played Adebayor in, one on one with the keeper, with another clever through ball. The Spurs man’s shot lacked conviction.

Ettiene Capoue has done well this season but here he had a particularly bad game. Even his normally incredibly reliable passes were going astray.  I would have been tempted to bring on Stambouli to try to add some dynamism. Mason was good again, full of energy, everything Capoue wasn’t.

As the game wore on Spurs became increasingly frustrated and ineffectual as Villa sat back and hit us on the counter attack with the pace of Agbonlahor and N’Zogbia.

At first Pochettino resisted the crowd’s calls for Kane but, in the 57th minute, he could resist no longer. The young striker’s arrival immediately added some urgency as he had a shot and a header saved within minutes of coming on. Whatever his talents, Kane definitely seems to have the right attitude. He’s always positive, always trying to get a shot off, and it’s this that distinguishes him from our other forward options.

Then came Benteke’s moment of madness. It was a soft red card but it was a definite hand to the face and he had to go.

Still Spurs huffed and puffed until the final twist. Dreadful defending at a corner left Chadli free to volley home from six yards. I am always a bit dubious of the Belgian’s contribution but he certainly pops up with some useful goals. He’s now our top goalscorer in the league with five.

The equaliser set the scene for Kane’s defining moment. There was a degree of luck in the deflection but it was no more than the Spurs striker deserved. Maybe less so some of his team-mates.

Follow me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs

Were you happy or unhappy after the match? Can Spurs build on this win? Let me know in the comments below.


15 thoughts on “Aston Villa 1 Spurs 2 – Mixed feelings

  1. Mikee

    We got lucky!! Benteke had to go for raising his hand, but how did Mason get away with causing it by sticking his head into Bentekes face?? We desperately need a driver on the pitch, someone to roll their sleeves up and to drive the rest of the team on. A Graham Roberts, or even better, a Dave MacKay. (Do they still make players like that?)

  2. Kevin

    I was quite surprised that Poch took so long to sub Capoue. I really appreciate him as a defensive midfielder but it was clear that he was not playing well and like you, i was hoping for Stambouli or, even Dembélé to shake it up a bit. I wonder then if it is a fitness thing in regards to those two.

    Chadli is slowly becoming this season’s Clint Dempsey :)

    1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

      I wonder when Stambouli will get a chance in the league.

      I will never forget being at White Hart Lane to see Dempsey score in injury time, in the snow to make it 1-1 against Ferguson’s United!

  3. Johnny

    A lot of negativity from Spurs fans about the match despite the ecstatic last few minutes. But let’s be positive for a moment… yes, we struggled but we were the better side overall. Benteke is a top striker and will cause chaos when fully fit against loads of teams (I recall Ivanovich having to twice stamp on his head last season – and getting away with it – because he couldn’t cope with the Villa man). The sending off didn’t really change the pattern of the match (ie Spurs possession, Villa breaks), Spurs showed fight and character, Chadli made a decent run and we took a really good corner for once. And we won. That’ll do.

  4. Jon

    We won but oh what rubbish, against a top 6 team we would have lost 6-0. defence, we need a new back 4, a midfield holding player who can use the ball to turn defence in to attack and a couple of forwards who want to play, Job done


    We are lucky to have won that match because we did not play well. We have poor defenders and poor strikers except for Kane who won the match for us and was wrongly left out at the start. I hope Pochettino will now be convinced that he is our best striker and he should start every match.

      1. JOHN ADAM

        I agree. The other Spurs’ players have a lot to learn from Kane’s attitude as well as his commitment and winning mentality. Pochettino should also realise this.

  6. OC7

    442, bit of width, bit of support for a striker and we didn’t look too bad (for a short while).

    I thought we started very brightly and that we would end up hammering them. Unfortunately yet predictably, we had our customary one-too-many Danny Rose/Younes Kaboul lapses and Villa were able to get a foothold in the game with a smartly taken goal by Weimann (reminded me a lot of Giroud against us last season… Rose mistake, sharply executed counter attack followed by a well taken goal).

    And then well, I don’t really remember too much as the first half became a blur of mediocrity.

    Got lucky in the end with Benteke being foolish and Mason being a cunning little sh*t… don’t really like to see this kind of thing from Spurs players but to be fair we get a lot of harsh decisions going against us and proving decisive in games so maybe it’s the universes way of evening things out. Or maybe this is the kind of gamesmanship we need to show more often to get to the same level as our betters.

    Next match, I hope Poch sticks with 442. I would like to see Eriksen or Lennon on wide right, Townsend wide left (saw an interesting idea about Davies coming in at LB and pushing Rose up to LW – although he has the pace, not sure he has the quality?) with two of Mason/Chadli/Capoue in the middle. Soldado and Kane upfront.

    I think Soldado has a lot of quality you know. I think his interplay has been excellent the last few games and with a strike partner and wingers that create for him as well as he creates for others he would start getting the breaks.

    1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

      Mason did seem to come in to back up Lamela who Benteke had just kicked which I think makes his behaviour a bit more understandable.

      I would quite like to see Fazio, Stambouli and Kane make the side next time out.

      1. JOHN ADAM

        I would leave out Danny Ros. He is not up to it. I agree that Kane, Fazio and Stambouli should start.

  7. Pingback: Talking points from Asteras Spurs | Anything But Penalties

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