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What happened in the Premiership in Match 14 2008-09

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Full Record of Spurs -v- Aston Villa

Prem          Pl  W  D  L   For-Ag  Pts
Home          17  7  6  4   26 -21  27
Away          17  2  6  9   13 -23  12
Total(Prem)   34  9 12 13   39 -44  39
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)  47 25  6 16   99 -77  62
Away (Div 1)  47 17 11 19   72 -75  48
Total(Div 1)  94 42 17 35  171 -152 110 
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)   2  1  1  0    4 - 3   3
Away (Div 2)   2  0  1  1    1 - 3   1
Total(Div 2)   4  1  2  1    5 - 6   4
Total(Prem)   34  9 12 13   39 -44  39
Total(Div 1)  94 42 17 35  171-152 110
Total(Div 2)   4  1  2  1    5 - 6   4
Grand Total  132 52 31 49  215-200 153

Last Six Premiership results:-

Aston Villa

A. Villa   2-1   Chelsea
Wolves     1-1   A. Villa
Everton    1-1   A. Villa
West Ham   2-1   A. Villa
A. Villa   5-1   Bolton
Burnley    1-1   A. Villa 

Spurs      5-0   Burnley
Bolton     2-2   Spurs
P'tsmouth  1-2   Spurs
Spurs      0-1   Stoke
Arsenal    3-0   Spurs
Spurs      2-0   S'derland
Spurs      9-1   Wigan

Pos         P  W  D  L  F-A  GD  Pts
4 Spurs    13  8  1  4 32-18 14  25
5 A. Villa 13  6  4  3 21-13  8  22
Crouch to be the unlucky fall guy

When Spurs beat Aston Villa at Villa Park in March this year, it was the fifth match in an unbeaten run of 6 league games that ultimately secured our Premier League status after such a horrible season. Robbie Keane played an integral part in that run, which has been mentioned by manager Harry Redknapp in a local press article this week. The inference must be that Harry intends to change the team that won so magnificently last week at home to Wigan. Peter Crouch will be the expected fall guy. That will be a shame for the player, as Villa are one of Peter's several former clubs. he played there between 2002 and 2004, playing 37 Premier League games and scoring just 6 goals. Peter also spent some time on loan at Norwich during this period.

Whilst a Villa player Crouch played against Spurs in three games.These were the two Spurs wins in the 2002-03 season, when Jamie Rednapp scored at home, and Teddy Sheringham scored the goal in a rare away win for Spurs at Villa Park. Then in May 2004, Crouch played in a game which Villa won, thanks to a 5th minute goal by Angel. Robbie Keane, who was first signed by Spurs in 2002, did not play in the first of those games, making his first Spurs debut in September against West Ham.

There are plenty of fans who do not think that Harry should change this winning team, but Villa will of course provide much sterner opposition than Wigan, who weirdly did gain an away win here on the first day of the season.

Going back to that game in March, it was Jermaine Jenas who gave us a fifth minute lead, after Friedel could only parry Lennon's cross, which Jenas headed home from close range. Spurs took a two goal lead thanks to Darren Bent, stealing the thunder from Robbie Keane, whose shot would have crossed the line anyway. This was the game where Harry tried the speedy Zokora at right back against Ashley Young, but it was the guile of Corluka that was more effective after he replaced Zokora after just 35 minutes. Carew got an 85th minute goal to keep us on edge for the closing phases of the game.

There are rumours that Villa's summer signing from Middlesbrough - Stewart Downing - may be fit for this game, after coming through a mid-week reserve game, but I'd bet on him starting on the bench, with Young and Milner on the flanks for Villa.

Martin O'Neill is in his fourth season as Villa manager and has got them into Europe through their league position in the last two seasons (finishing sixth in both seasons). Last season they were eliminated in the "Round of 32" by CSKA, who were beaten by our conquerors and the ultimate winners - Shakhtar Donetsk. Unfortunately, this season Villa went out at the qualifying stage against Rapid Vienna - but only on away goals.

Villa went above us for a day last week, after their draw at Turf Moor, a result that they managed after Emile Heskey's late equaliser. It was Heskey's first goal of the season, and his first domestic goal since April. His competitor for an England World Cup place has scored 13 domestic goals in that time!

Villa had a great start to the season, with 4 wins out of 5 games, but their form has dipped somewhat in the last 8 games, of which the have won 2, drawn 4 and lost 2 (at West Ham and at Blackburn). Villa fans have been a little starved of home games in the last month, but they did see a 5-1 thrashing over Bolton.

Both Villa and Spurs are relatively blessed in the Premier League, as they have few injury problems. Villa's main absentee will be centre back Curtis Davies, whilst they hope to see recent signing James Collins (from West Ham) back either this week or soon after. Spurs have Cudicini out for the season, but Luka Modric trained fully last week, and must be close to a return, whilst we don't ever know just how ready Ledley King is for a match.

Villa's team last week was Friedel; Luke Young, Dunne, Cuellar, Warnock; Sidwell; Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov; Carew, Agbonlahor. Heskey and Downing made brief substitute appearances.

Personally, I think there is a case for stiffening up the midfield, but Tom Huddlestone has started every game, and played more minutes than anyone else, so I doubt we will see change there. I suspect there will be the one change (Keane for Crouch), and if we see King, Modric and Crouch amongst the substitutes I'd be well pleased about our strnegth in depth.

Thanks to our goal blitz last week, we could afford to lose this game by one or two goals, and retain fourth place. However, we are good enough to get a draw, and might even snatch a win. I'll predict a 2-1 to Spurs!

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