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Aston Villa v Spurs, 24.09.13


Defoe, 45, 90
Paulinho, 49
Chadli, 86

Attendance:- 22,975

Referee:- Mr. J. Moss
Assistants:- Mr. S. Long & Mr. C. Fitch
Fourth official:- Mr. S. Attwell

Villa (4-2-3-1):- Steer; Lowton, Vlaar (Capt.), Baker, Bennett; Sylla, Bacuna; Albrighton, El Ahmadi (sub Bowery, 46), Tonev (sub Robinson, 82); Kozak (sub Helenius, 46)

Subs not used:- Guzan; Clark, Johnson; Weimann

No bookings

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Friedel (Capt.); Walker (sub Dawson, 80), Chiriches, Vertonghen, Fryers; Sandro, Paulinho (sub Dembele, 64); Lamela, Holtby, Kane (sub Chadli, 73); Defoe

Subs not used:- Gomes; Naughton; Townsend; Soldado

No bookings

We score when we want!

Despite fielding a team with 8 changes from the starting line-up at Cardiff on Sunday, Spurs romped to their second consecutive 4-0 win at Villa Park to march conclusively into Round Four, and “on their way to Wembley”, as the away fans chanted several times during the game. We were put in the upper stand of the North Stand, due to the number of fans who travelled. Thus we were opposite The Holte End, which was generally muted in a poorly attended Villa Park.

Villa too made a lot of changes from their side which had beaten Paul Lambert’s old side at Carrow Road on Saturday, but most of these were enforced, as Benteke faces six weeks out with a hip injury, and several other absentees were genuinely injured. Lambert is of course preparing to host Manchester City on Saturday, and despite a couple of creditable away wins so far this season (they won at Arsenal on Day One), it already appears that Villa (the second most successful team in this competition) have turned their eyes upon Premier League survival, casting aside their best chance of a tilt at a trophy.

Mind you, they faced a Spurs side that was still so strong, despite the presence of relative rookies Zeki Fryers, and Harry Kane. Vlad Chiriches made his Spurs debut, and Brad Friedel was captain for the night against his last team.

Jermain Defoe scored a brace to take him to six goals for the season (none of them in the Premier League), but he is now Spurs’ fifth highest goalscorer in all competitions, now chasing Cliff Jones, who scored 20 more than the 139 goal tally currently attained by Defoe.

Another popular chant of course is “We score when we want” and whilst it wasn’t quite like that, because goalkeeper Jed Steer made some good saves, it did seem that Spurs could go up a gear or two at will. They scored goals either side of half-time, which were crucial moments in the game, and then capped their domination with two fine goals towards the end of the game. There was even a moment of controversy before Paulinho scored, when Villa substitute striker Nicklas Helenius raced away from Vertonghen, getting goalside of the defender, and racing onto a long ball over the top. This action was at the far end of the ground to our position, and the word after the game was that Vertonghen not only had hold of Helenius’s shorts, but actually pulled them down. It seems that referee Jon Moss played advantage rather than award a penalty, which would have been a disciplinary problem for Vertonghen. Helenius fired over, and The Holte End was baying for something from the referee. All they got was a Spurs goal at the other end.

Spurs did look at times like a team getting to know each other. In particular, Chiriches’ passing was too often astray, but in the second half, he grew in confidence and demonstrated more than once that he is a defender who likes a run, and to carry the ball, in the same way as Vertonghen. When Kyle Walker was replaced by Dawson, Chiriches moved to right back, and he looked quite a natural there too. As a defender, he does get close to opponents, and blocks well. Early nerves were perhaps responsible for some inaccurate passes.

Lamela had an excellent first half, with plenty of skill; a shot or two; and a display of physicality which will serve him well in the Premier League. Paulinho is surely a genuinely world class footballer, who would find a place in any team, and Lewis Holtby relished the chance to shine for the full 90 minutes, which he did, save a few failed attempts at very clever moves or passes. Lewis was the provider for both Defoe’s goals, and also took the corner which preceded Paulinho’s goal.

Lamela put an excellent ball over the defence for Harry Kane, who came in from the left to move into the space. Kane probably should have done better but fired more or less at Steer, who gratefully saved. At the other end, Fryers had a battle with Albrighton, who looked as if he got past the young left back, but Zeki just managed to get a foot in and take the ball off the Villa winger. More nice play by Lamela in the middle gave Spurs more than chance to fire on goal, but somehow they never managed to get the ball past the defence.

Villa were industrious throughout, closing down Spurs in all areas, but just succumbing to the additional skill levels on occasions. Lamela had a shot after 13 minutes, but fired wide across goal. Sandro was having a great game, and won a midfield fight for the ball, before carrying it and passing to Lamela. The move continued from the right via Lamela and Sandro, before Defoe tried a right foot curler that passed wide of the keeper’s left post.

Friedel had to get down to his left after 15 minutes to save a shot by Albrighton, who had found space on the left side of the box. Steer then had to make a good save from Defoe’s drive, which followed excellent work by the in-form Kyle Walker, who won the ball off Tonev on the wing, before crossing. Defoe then nearly scored when closing down and blocking Steer’s attempted clearance, but the ball went out for a goal kick.

Good skill by Holtby in the middle before his pass to Kane gave the youngster another decent chance, but he fired wide. Kane again played from the left side, and I thought he had a very good game. There was a point in the second half, when Defoe tried his hardest to tee Kane up for a goal, but Spurs couldn’t get past the Villa defensive wall at this point. Back to the first half, and Villa had another chance after Sandro was out-numbered and deprived of the ball in the middle. Walker did well to quell one attack, but Albrighton did still get another shot, but it was well over. After a spell of poor passing by both sides, a chance did fall to Tonev on the left of goal, but his effort passed harmlessly wide.

Lamela and Holtby had a lovely exchange down the left channel, before Lamela unleashed a powerful shot, which Steer saved one-handed to concede a corner. Nice play from the left by Kane gave Defoe another chance, but Steer saved this too, and his defence cleared. They couldn’t stop Spurs scoring a crucial goal in first half added time though, as Holtby chipped a delicate pass over the defence, and Defoe actually headed the ball into the net inside the keeper’s right post.

Villa made two second half changes, one of which was Helenius, who was involved in that incident with Vertonghen. Kyle Walker was fouled just outside the box on the right side at the other end, and Lamela’s free kick was deflected for a corner. Holtby took it from the left, and Paulinho scored seemingly on the rebound after his first effort was blocked. They all count! Now Fryers too was gaining in confidence, making good tackles at the back, but also getting involved up front. He started a move that was worked through Kane and Defoe, before Paulinho had a shot held by Steer. Holtby found Kane on the left side with a lovely ball. Kane had done well to find the space, but he didn’t get a shot on goal.

Now Spurs slowed down a bit, with Paulinho and Kane both getting great ovations when they were replaced by Dembele and Chadli respectively. It was good to see Chadli back in action so quickly, and he had an impact on the remainder of the game. First though Tonev hit a powerful right footed shot, which Friedel could only pat away. Subsequently, Chiriches made a great powerful ad determined run to the half-way line, almost losing the ball, but managing to get the ball to Holtby who tried what would have been a great pass to Chadli, which was just intercepted.

Chadli scored in the 86th minute when Defoe collected a loose ball, and threaded his pass to Chadli on the left side. Nacer hit a low powerful and Steer did get a touch, but the ball still passed into the back of the net. Now Chiriches was provider as right back for Defoe, who fired over, before in added time, Lewis Holtby sent Defoe clear with a wonderful pass through a now dejected defence. Defoe was able to run the ball around the keeper before planting it in the net for his second and Spurs fourth goal. Many of the home crowd had already started heading for the exits, as the Spurs crowd celebrated with glee.

The next round will be played in the week commencing 28th October. In the meantime, we must prepare for a Premier League crunch game against Chelsea. See you there!


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