BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 11TH MAY, 2014
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(3) ASTON VILLA 0(0)
Baker (o.g.), 35
Adebayor (pen), 38
Referee:- Mr. Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- Mr. S. Long & Mr. L. Betts
Fourth official:- Mr. K.A. Woolmer
Spurs (4-1-3-2):- Lloris; Naughton, Dawson (Capt), Chiriches, Rose; Sandro (sub Veljkovic, 62); Sigurdsson (sub Pritchard, 83), Paulinho (sub Bentaleb, 75), Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane
Subs not used:- Friedel; Fryers; Capoue; Soldado
Booked:- Naughton (foul on Weimann)
Aston Villa (4-4-1-1):- Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar (Capt.), Baker, Bertrand; Bacuna (sub Robinson, 83), Westwood, Delph, Weismann; Bowery (sub El Ahmadi, 46); Agbonlahor
Subs not used:- Steer; Clark, Sylla, Grealish, Holt
Spurs maintain their average.
In a highly unremarkable game, the second half of which was described by the noisy Villa fans as "a funeral", Spurs ran out cosy 3-0 winners, with all goals scored in the first half.
Spurs have now beaten Aston Villa 15-0 in their last five games, so today's scoreline ensured they maintained their average. I have recorded little action of note, and I do not think that Spurs mustered one shot on target in the second half, when they were clearly happy to play within themselves, and try to defend their comfortable lead.
With Manchester United losing at Southampton 1-0 at one stage, Spurs were four goals to the good, and the win secured Europa League football next season. United ultimately drew, and the word is that their fans greeted our success with glee, seemingly happy to be able to focus on Premier League improvement next season.
Talking of shots on target, Villa fans (many in fancy dress) cheered their first chance which came just before the break, and then wildly cheered each of Fabian Delph's second half attempts on goal. Other Villa chants sounded familiar, such as "We want our Villa back." And "We're s**t and we know we are".
Those away fans were mainly in a very cheerful frame of mind though, celebrating survival with 38 points - a total that used to see teams relegated. It wasn't clear who their chant of "Getting sacked in the morning" was aimed at. I suspect it was Tim Sherwood, who once again found himself fielding questions about his impending departure in the post match conference.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy had an end of season message for those who read the programme, which was apologetic in tone, referring to "what might have been", making reference to the unfortunate mid-season change of manager, but significantly making no reference whatsoever to the current incumbent (at the time of writing)
As for the football, Villa did not play the flat back five that was seen mid-week at The Etihad, but a more orthodox 4-4-1-1, with Jordan Bowery operating either just behind, or alongside Gabby Agbonlahor. When Bowery was replaced at half-time by El Ahmadi, Villa had a five man midfield, that tried and succeeded in putting a degree of pressure upon Spurs.
Sherwood mixed the Spurs formation, with Sandro playing behind the midfield three of Sigurdsson, Paulinho and Eriksen. There was no sign of Lennon, and there has been no explanation. Sometimes we play without a defensive midfielder. Other times, we play without a winger.
Spurs had a nice move after five minutes, started and finished by Harry Kane, who I thought had a decent game. Kane had made a short run through the middle, passing to Adebayor towards the left. After several passes, across the field and back, Adebayor crossed from the left, and Kane met it with a header, which was held by Guzan.
Kane had another chance saved after another Adebayor cross - this time from the right. Kane met the ball towards the near post, and saw his shot blocked. Spurs took the lead in the fourteenth minute. Naughton started this move with a win in the midfield, spreading the play to Danny Rose. Again, some passing play ensued, this time short passes involving Eriksen, Sigurdsson and Kane, before Paulinho had his first attempt saved, before following up, and scoring from close range.
Paulinho had another chance a minute later, following a cross from the right, which he met on the right side of the Villa area. Paulinho fired wide across goal.
Danny Rose intercepted and carried the ball forward, passing inside to Kane, whose left side cross won a corner.
The lead was increased after Eriksen got the ball to the bye-line on the left, after which Danny Rose crossed into the middle of the area for Kane. Nathan Baker scored a headed own goal to send up the cheers at The Park Lane End, and to increase the despair amongst the travelling support. That's at least four own goals in our favour in The Premier League this season.
Shortly after that, Kane was again put through, but his shot was blocked for a corner. Then, after a powerfully driven shot by Sandro, Agbonlahor handled in the box. Referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot, and Adebayor fired to the right of Guzan, who had committed to his left.
Just before the break, and after a corner on the right, Michael Dawson had a header well saved by Guzan, diving to his left and stretching high.
There is so little to report about the second half, which offered hardly any excitement or entertainment. Delph had the first of those shots after 56 minutes.
With an hour gone, and the three goal lead still preserved, Sherwood starting blooding the youngsters, with Milos Veljkovic getting his second substitute outing of the season, replacing Sandro. Sandro's departure was booed by the home fans.
Just about the only piece of attacking action for Spurs was a clash between Harry Kane and Guzan, after Paulinho had sent Kane away in a chase for the ball. Kane challenged Guzan for the ball, and both tumbled. Kane stayed on the ground. Guzan got up, but then got a knock from one of his own players. Somehow the referee interpreted this event as a foul by Kane. There was no punishment, except for a free kick in Villa's favour.
Bentaleb came on for Paulinho, and Alex Pritchard, who spent most of the season on loan at Swindon, and was unused on the bench last week at Upton Park, replaced Sigurdsson late in the game. By then, Delph had had another pot shot, which was saved by Lloris.
At the end of the game, with many home fans already leaving, Paul Coyte encouraged us to stay for the tradition awards and appreciation by/for the players. Before this he introduced the season highlights, and I could be the fan referred to in a Telegraph report, who shouted a resounding 'No'!
I was disappointed to learn that Christian Eriksen got both the young player and player of the season awards, when my stand-out player of the season has been Hugo Lloris. The accumulated Spurs Odyssey grades are very much in Hugo's favour.
In other news, Man City were confirmed as Champions, and Norwich joined Fulham and Cardiff in being relegated to the dreaded Championship.
Whilst I didn't stay till the end of the "appreciation", hopefully you've stayed till the end of this report. Thanks for reading. Have a great summer. I will be back next season!
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