Match Preview: Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur
Villa Park, Birmingham
Saturday 28th November 2009, Kick Off 17:30
Premier League, Match 14
Aston Villa: 5th in Premier League, 22 points from 39
Tottenham Hotspur: 4th in Premier League, 25 points from 39
Referee: Phil Dowd
Assistant referees: Mark Scholes & Scott Ledger
Fourth official: Kevin Friend
Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur are two of the clubs widely tipped to challange for one of the Champions League places and Saturday's match is a massive encounter for the teams currently in fifth and fourth places respectively. Villa come into the game with a rather patchy recent record of only one win in the last 6 matches, although they did also beat Sunderland on penalties in the League Cup after a drawn match which went into extra time. Their most recent League game finished in a 1-1 draw away at Burnley with Emile Heskey scoring his first goal of the season.
The point gained at Turf Moor briefly put Villa up to fourth in the League but they were leapfrogged by Spurs 24 hours later after an outstanding display at home to Wigan Athletic which saw the second-highest score in Premier League history as Tottenham racked-up the goals in the second half to win 9-1. Heskey's England rival Jermain Defoe scored five goals, equalling the record set by both Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, while fellow Englishmen Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon (with 3 assists too) and David Bentley (officially credited as an own goal by Wigan's keeper Chris Kirkland) all got on the score sheet, along with Croat Niko Kranjar.
Last season, honours were even with both clubs securing 2-1 away wins. Jermaine Jenas and Darren Bent scored for Spurs at Villa Park in March 2009 with John Carew replying for the home side (full match report and images below).
Both clubs are also still involved in the 2009-10 Football League (Carling) Cup competition and have reached the Quarter Finals. Aston Villa have been drawn away to Portsmouth while Tottenham Hotspur face an away trip to Manchester United in a repeat of the 2009 League Cup Final. Between them, Villa and Spurs have won the competition nine times. The League Cup games will be played midweek after the Villa v Spurs match.
Aston Villa may hand Stewart Downing his home debut after he played 75 minutes of a reserve match this week. Defender James Collins faces a late test on a groin injury so Carlos Cuellar could continue at centre-back.
There are no fresh injury worries for Harry Redknapp ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Aston Villa. The manager has, however, given an update on injured trio Luka Modric, Ledley King and Carlo Cudicini. Luka has been out since fracturing his fibula against Birmingham City in late August, and although his road to recovery has been a lengthy process, there is now ‘light at the end of the tunnel'. In Friday's pre-match press conference at Spurs Lodge, Harry reported: "Luka's coming on slowly, it's been a long job for him. He's gradually getting there but still quite a way away at the moment. "But we're seeing some light at the end of the tunnel now with him and he worked with the Academy this morning (Friday) for the first time. "Tim Sherwood was down there with him and he said he came through the session fine, so we're starting to get there with Luka."
Ledley has been out with a hamstring injury he picked up in our victory over Sunderland earlier this month, and Harry believes managing the defender's injury problems carefully is the key to a full recovery. He added: "Ledley's had one or two problems with his hamstring and a few other niggles he's picked up. "He's been running but we're not going to rush him back. We're going to take our time with Ledley now and get his fitness back up as best we can before he comes back again. "We can't keep bringing him back and breaking him down, we've got to make sure that he's right when he does come back." And there's some positive news on Carlo, who was discharged from hospital a week ago following successful operations on injuries sustained in a road accident earlier this month. "Carlo's was at the training ground on Thursday and it was good to see him," said Harry. "He looked great and said he was feeling well.
"Hopefully he'll be back sooner rather than later. He's a great pro and if anyone is going to work hard to get fit again it will be him." All three remain out for the trip to Villa Park, but Giovani Dos Santos has returned to full training this week after recovering from the ankle injury sustained in our Carling Cup tie at Preston North End in September
BIG MATCH FACTS:
• Both matches last season were won by the away side by the same scoreline, 2-1. Four of the last five Premier League meetings between the two sides have ended 2-1.
• Peter Crouch scored six goals in 43 appearances for Aston Villa, he has six in 15 for Tottenham.
• Jermain Defoe has scored four goals in his last four Premier League starts against Villa.
• Villa have not lost at home since the opening day of the season (0-2 v Wigan, 15 August).
• The Villans have scored in every Premier League game since that defeat to the Latics.
• Martin O'Neill's side have gone eight league games without a clean sheet.
• Tottenham have scored three of the six hat-tricks in the Premier League this season, with Defoe claiming two and Robbie Keane scoring the other.
• Tottenham's league games have seen 50 goals so far this season, only Arsenal's (51) have seen more.
• Spurs have hit the woodwork eight times this season, more than any other side.
LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS:
Aston Villa (D 1-1 v Burnley, a):
Friedel, Luke Young (Heskey 80), Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock, Milner, Petrov, Sidwell (Downing 70), Ashley Young, Carew, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Delph, Reo-Coker, Shorey, Beye
Tottenham Hotspur (W 9-1 v Wigan, h):
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto (Bassong 81), Lennon (Bentley 79), Huddlestone, Palacios (Jenas 84), Kranjcar, Defoe, Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Hutton, Pavlyuchenko, Keane.
MARK LAWRENSON'S PREDICTION (BBC):
This is the battle of the pretenders. Villa dropped points at Burnley last week, while Tottenham had an unbelievable 9-1 win over Wigan.
It's going to be close, but being as Villa are at home I'll go for Martin O'Neill's side.
Verdict: Aston Villa 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday afternoon's match will be the 157th meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa.
The clubs met at Wembley in the 1971 Football League Cup Final with Spurs winning 2-0 with both goals scored by Martin Chivers.
A further Wembley meeing took place in 1981 when the clubs contested the Charity Shield, which was shared after a 2-2 draw.
Here are the results of all the previous 156 games with Spurs' score shown first:
11-Apr-1896 Friendly - H L 1 - 3 Logan 23-Jan-1897 Friendly - H D 2 - 2 Lanham (2) 25-Apr-1898 Friendly - H L 2 - 3 Hartley, Black 21-Apr-1900Friendly - A L 3 - 4 Cameron, Copeland (2) 07-Mar-03F.A. Cup 3 24,500H L 2 - 3 Woodward, Copeland 20-Feb-04F.A. Cup 2 32,000H X 0 - 1 (Abandoned due to crowd trouble after 38 mins) 25-Feb-04F.A. Cup 2 Replay30,000A W 1 - 0 Jones J. 20-Nov-09Division 1 25,000A L 2 - 3 Minter, Steel R 02-Apr-10Division 1 34,000H D 1 - 1 Humphreys 19-Nov-10Division 1 28,000H L 1 - 2 Humphreys 25-Feb-11Division 1 17,000A L 0 - 4 18-Nov-11Division 1 30,000A D 2 - 2 R Steel (2) 23-Mar-12Division 1 19,000H W 2 - 1 Middlemiss (2) 26-Oct-12Division 1 18,000H D 3 - 3 Cantrell (2), Middlemiss 01-Mar-13Division 1 27,000A L 0 - 1 13-Dec-13Division 1 30,000A D 3 - 3 Walden, Cantrell, Bliss 18-Apr-14Division 1 22,000H L 0 - 2 24-Oct-14Division 1 25,000H L 0 - 2 27-Feb-15Division 1 16,000A L 1 - 3 Bliss 06-Mar-20F.A. Cup 4 52,179H L 0 - 1 11-Sep-20Division 1 55,000A L 2 - 4 Walden, Dimmock 18-Sep-20Division 1 42,000H L 1 - 2 Bliss 05-Mar-21F.A. Cup 4 51,991H W 1 - 0 Banks 24-Sep-21Division 1 47,017H W 3 - 1 Clay (pen), Seed, Bliss 01-Oct-21Division 1 40,000A L 1 - 2 Dimmock 07-Oct-22Division 1 50,000A L 0 - 2 14-Oct-22Division 1 43,252H L 1 - 2 Seed 15-Mar-24Division 1 30,000A D 0 - 0 22-Mar-24Division 1 28,771H L 2 - 3 Lindsay, Elkes 01-Nov-24Division 1 19,054H L 1 - 3 Handley 07-Mar-25Division 1 25,000A W 1 - 0 Lane 05-Dec-25Division 1 28,821H D 2 - 2 Osborne, Elkes 17-Apr-26Division 1 11,774A L 0 - 3 06-Nov-26Division 1 19,496A W 3 - 2 Seed (2), Dimmock 26-Mar-27Division 1 30,614H L 0 - 1 12-Nov-27Division 1 30,759A W 2 - 1 Osborne (2) 26-Mar-28Division 1 21,537H W 2 - 1 Grimsdell (pen), Lindsay 02-Sep-33Division 1 44,974H W 3 - 2 O'Callaghan, Hunt GS, Evans W (pen) 06-Jan-34Division 1 35,296A W 5 - 1 Meads, McCormick (2), Howe, Hunt GS 17-Feb-34F.A. Cup 5 44,365H L 0 - 1 22-Sep-34Division 1 42,088H L 0 - 2 02-Feb-35Division 1 36,973A L 0 - 1 07-Nov-36Division 2 37,220A D 1 - 1 Morrison 13-Mar-37Division 2 35,652H D 2 - 2 Meek, Miller 04-Dec-37Division 2 37,238H W 2 - 1 Hall GW, Morrison 16-Apr-38Division 2 43,730A L 0 - 2 02-Feb-46Football Lge Sth 30,736A L 1 - 5 Burgess 20-Feb-46Football Lge Sth 19,300H W 3 - 0 Jinks (2), Whitchurch 30-Sep-50Division 1 36,538A W 3 - 2 Murphy, Duquemin, Medley 17-Feb-51Division 1 47,842H W 3 - 2 Ramsey (pen), Baily, Medley 20-Oct-51Division 1 49,247H W 2 - 0 Bennett, Duquemin 08-Mar-52Division 1 56,475A W 3 - 0 Walters, Duquemin (2) 22-Nov-52Division 1 32,265A W 3 - 0 Bennett, Duquemin, Dicker 11-Apr-53Division 1 39,217H D 1 - 1 McClellan 19-Aug-53Division 1 50,202H W 1 - 0 Parkes og 12-Dec-53Division 1 27,480A W 2 - 1 Walters, Baily 21-Aug-54Division 1 44,193A W 4 - 2 Dowsett, Bennett (2), Baily 18-Dec-54Division 1 28,131H D 1 - 1 Baily 26-Nov-55Division 1 23,836A W 2 - 0 Clarke, McClellan 07-Apr-56Division 1 36,235H W 4 - 3 McClellan, Harmer, Smith R, Brooks 15-Sep-56Division 1 43,947A W 4 - 2 Harmer, Smith R, Stokes, Robb 19-Jan-57Division 1 38,934H W 3 - 0 Smith R, Stokes (2) 16-Nov-57Division 1 28,390A D 1 - 1 Smith R 29-Mar-58Division 1 34,102H W 6 - 2 Medwin (2), Smith R (4) 27-Mar-59Division 1 45,059H W 3 - 2 Medwin, Smith R, Jones 30-Mar-59Division 1 34,354A D 1 - 1 Norman 24-Sep-60Division 1 61,356H W 6 - 2 Mackay, White (2), Smith R, Allen, Dyson 11-Feb-61Division 1 50,786A W 2 - 1 Smith R, Dyson 18-Feb-61F.A. Cup 5 65,474A W 2 - 0 Jones, Neil og 30-Sep-61Division 1 38,099H W 1 - 0 Dyson 21-Feb-62Division 1 49,892A D 0 - 0 10-Mar-62F.A. Cup 6 64,000H W 2 - 0 Blanchflower, Jones 20-Aug-62Division 1 55,630A L 1 - 2 Medwin 29-Aug-62Division 1 55,650H W 4 - 2 White, Greaves (2), Jones 16-Sep-63Division 1 36,643A W 4 - 2 Jones, Greaves (2), Dyson 25-Jan-64Division 1 36,394H W 3 - 1 Posse, Greaves, Dyson 21-Nov-64Division 1 29,724H W 4 - 0 Mullery, Robertson, Greaves, Dyson 19-Mar-66Division 1 28,371H D 5 - 5 Brown L, Robertson, Greaves, Saul, Gilzean 03-Apr-65Division 1 24,930A L 0 - 1 25-Sep-65Division 1 29,856A L 2 - 3 Norman, Robertson 29-Oct-66Division 1 31,014H L 0 - 1 04-Mar-67Division 1 31,718A D 3 - 3 Mullery, England, Gilzean 04-Sep-68League Cup 2 24,775A W 4 - 1 Jones, Chivers (3) 12-Feb-69F.A. Cup 5 49,986H W 3 - 2 England, Greaves (2, 1pen) 17-May-69Tour - ND 2 - 2 Greaves (2) (Match played in Atlanta, USA) 27-Feb-71League Cup Final 100,000W W 2 - 0 Chivers (2) 02-Aug-72Friendly - A D 0 - 0 11-Oct-75Division 1 40,048A D 1 - 1 Pratt 13-Mar-76Division 1 24,169H W 5 - 2 McAllister, Perryman, Duncan, Robinson, Nicholl og 20-Apr-77Division 1 42,047A L 1 - 2 Armstrong 30-Apr-77Division 1 30,690H W 3 - 1 Hoddle, Jones, Taylor 23-Aug-78Division 1 47,892H L 1 - 4 Hoddle (pen) 24-Mar-79Division 1 35,486A W 3 - 2 Jones, Hoddle (2) 15-Dec-79Division 1 30,555H L 1 - 2 Ardiles 26-Apr-80Division 1 29,549A L 0 - 1 18-Oct-80Division 1 30,940A L 0 - 3 21-Mar-81Division 1 35,091H W 2 - 0 Archibald, Crooks 22-Aug-81Charity Shield 92,500W D 2 - 2 Falco (2) 05-Sep-81Division 1 31,265H L 1 - 3 Villa 13-Feb-82F.A. Cup 5 43,419H W 1 - 0 Falco 17-Feb-82Division 1 23,877A D 1 - 1 Crooks 30-Oct-82Division 1 25,992A L 0 - 4 23-Mar-83Division 1 22,455H W 2 - 0 Falco (2) 27-Dec-83Division 1 30,125A D 0 - 0 18-Apr-84Division 1 18,668H W 2 - 1 Roberts (pen), Mabbutt 22-Sep-84Division 1 22,409A W 1 - 0 Chiedozie 30-Mar-85Division 1 27,971H L 0 - 2 30-Nov-85Division 1 14,099A W 2 - 1 Mabbutt, Falco 03-May-86Division 1 14,854H W 4 - 2 Falco (2), Allen C (2) 23-Aug-86Division 1 24,712A W 3 - 0 Allen C (3) 24-Jan-87Division 1 19,121H W 3 - 0 Hodge (2), Claesen 28-Oct-87League Cup 3 29,114A L 1 - 2 Ardiles 29-Oct-88Division 1 26,238A L 1 - 2 Fenwick (pen) 01-Mar-89Division 1 19,090H W 2 - 0 Waddle (2) 09-Sep-89Division 1 24,769A L 0 - 2 21-Feb-90Division 1 32,472H L 0 - 2 29-Sep-90Division 1 34,939H W 2 - 1 Lineker, Allen 16-Mar-91Division 1 32,638A L 2 - 3 Samways, Allen 07-Sep-91Division 1 33,096A D 0 - 0 05-Jan-92F.A. Cup 3 29,316A D 0 - 0 14-Jan-92F.A. Cup 3 Replay25,462H L 0 - 1 04-Apr-92Division 1 26,370H L 2 - 5 Lineker, Teale og. 21-Nov-92FA Prem 32,852H D 0 - 0 10-Mar-93FA Prem 37,727A D 0 - 0 28-Aug-93FA Prem 32,498A L 0 - 1 12-Jan-94League Cup 5 31,408H L 1 - 2 Caskey 02-Mar-94FA Prem 17,452H D 1 - 1 Rosenthal 19-Nov-94FA Prem 26,889H L 3 - 4 Sheringham, Klinsmann, Bosnich og 25-Jan-95FA Prem 40,017A L 0 - 1 23-Aug-95FA Prem 26,598H L 0 - 1 21-Jan-96FA Prem 35,666A L 1 - 2 Fox 12-Oct-96FA Prem 32,840H W 1 - 0 Nielsen 19-Apr-97FA Prem 39,339A D 1 - 1 Vega 27-Aug-97FA Prem 26,317H W 3 - 2 Ferdinand (2), Fox 26-Dec-97FA Prem 38,644A L 1 - 4 Calderwood 07-Nov-98FA Prem 39,241A L 2 - 3 Anderton (pen), Vega 13-Mar-99FA Prem 35,963H W 1 - 0 Sherwood 29-Dec-99FA Prem 39,217A D 1 - 1 Sherwood 15-Apr-2000FA Prem 35,304H L 2 - 4 Iversen, Armstrong 11-Nov-00FA Prem 33,608A L 0 - 2 28-Apr-01FA Prem 36,096H D 0 - 0 18-Aug-01FA Prem 36,059H D 0 - 0 29-Dec-01FA Prem 41,134A D 1 - 1 Ferdinand 24-Aug-02FA Prem 35,384H W 1 - 0 Redknapp 18-Jan-03FA Prem 38,576A W 1 - 0 Sheringham 23-Nov-03FA Prem 33,140H W 2 - 1 Ricketts, Keane 01-May-04FA Prem 42,573A L 0 - 1 22-Nov-04FA Prem 35,702A L 0 - 1 30-Apr-05FA Prem 36,078H W 5 - 1 Kanoute (2), King, Reid, Kelly 17-Sep-05FA Prem 33,686A D 1 - 1 Keane 21-Jan-06FA Prem 36,243H D 0 - 0 14-Oct-06FA Prem 42,551A D 1 - 1 Angel og 26-Dec-06FA Prem 35,293H W 2 - 1 Defoe (2) 01-Oct-07FA Prem 36,094H D 4 - 4 Berbatov, Chimbonda, Keane (pen), Kaboul 01-Jan-08FA Prem 41,609A L 1 - 2 Defoe 15-Sep-08FA Prem 36,075H L 1 - 2 Bent 14-Mar-09FA Prem 41,205 A W 2 - 1 Jenas, Bent
LAST TIME WE MET...
Aston Villa 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
14th March 2009, Premier League, Villa Park
Goals right at the start of each half helped Tottenham to an unlikely but hard-fought victory at Aston Villa. Jermaine Jenas gave Spurs an early lead with a diving header after Brad Friedel parried Aaron Lennon's cross but Villa went on to dominate the first half. Darren Bent made sure Robbie Keane's goalbound shot crossed the line after the restart, again set up by Lennon. Substitute John Carew's late header from a James Milner cross gave Villa hope but Spurs held on for victory.
Tottenham began brightly, with Jenas quickest to react when Friedel pushed out Lennon's pass from the right wing, but their early breakthrough just ushered in a period of total domination by Villa. The visitors' defence took a pummelling as Villa went all out in attack, with Ashley Young their tormentor-in-chief. Didier Zokora had no answer to Young's pace on the left wing and was fighting such a losing battle that he had already been booked before he was released from his torment and replaced by Vedran Corluka after just half an hour.
Stilyan Petrov flashed a long-range shot just over and Emile Heskey put the ball in the side netting as Villa hammered their opponents, but despite their dominance, a combination of poor final balls and impressive defending by Jonathan Woodgate restricted them to few clear chances. Villa's cavalier approach also left them open to the counter attack, and Tottenham had a couple of chances to add to their lead. Only a timely touch by Nigel Reo-Coker prevented Bent having a decent crack at goal, and Keane cut a frustrated figure when Luka Modric tried his luck from an angle, rather than pass to the striker who was unmarked in box.
A hugely entertaining first-half ended with Villa's best chance to that point - Gareth Barry volleyed a delightful pass in from the left wing and Heskey climbed above the challenge of Ledley King to rattle the bar with a powerful header.
The second half started just like the first - with a Spurs goal set up by Lennon. His pass from the right put in Keane, whose shot across the goalmouth was probably going to creep in at the far post anyway, but Bent slid in to make sure it went over the line. Villa seemed shell-shocked to find themselves further behind but the introduction of attacker Carew in place of defender Zat Knight showed manager Martin O'Neill was determined to try and fight his way back into the game. Friedel had to be at his best to prevent Keane extending Spurs's lead with a full-stretch save after he shot from outside the box.
As the minutes ticked by and their side failed to make inroads on Tottenham's lead, the frustration of the Villa fans was plain to hear.
With five minutes to go, Carew got above Woodgate to head home Milner's cross, raising hope of a late Villa revival, but ultimately they were made to pay for failing to make the most of their first-half dominance.
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
"The first goal knocked us back a bit but it looked like we would get a goal, and coming into the dressing room at half-time there was plenty of confidence. "The second goal was a major setback, we were trying to chase the game and we became ragged and lost composure for next 10-20 minutes, and Tottenham took advantage. "I felt we would always break them down and a goal was always on the cards, some moments it might not go in for you, but if you can get a few options together it might go for you. We shouldn't have let the setbacks kills us off.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp:
"We're beginning to realise what it takes to win - hard work - and we're doing it now. "We had one bad patch in the season but its turned now, and we deserve any luck we get. "We've got Chelsea next week which will be tough, but we've got 35 points now, we're gradually getting ourselves up the table where we want to be."
Friedel, Reo-Coker, Cuellar, Knight (Carew 60), Luke Young, Milner, Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor (Delfouneso 79), Heskey (Gardner 82).
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Harewood, Davies, Shorey.
Goals: Carew 85.
Gomes, Zokora (Corluka 35), King, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Modric (O'Hara 82), Bent, Keane.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Bentley, Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko, Dawson.
Booked: Zokora, Keane, Modric.
Goals: Jenas 5, Bent 50.
Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham Hotspur's Aaron Lennon