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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Aston Villa v Spurs, 21.03.21

Last season's game - Aston Villa 2 Spurs 3, 16.02.20
Premier League Matchday 29 - last year
See the current injury list for all Premier League Teams
All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats

Full Record of Spurs -v- Aston Villa

Prem          Pl  W  D  L   For-Ag  Pts
Home          25 13  7  5   41 -25  46
Away          25  8  8  9   30 -29  32
Total(Prem)   50 21 15 14   71 -54  78  1.56 Pts per game
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)   50 21 15 14   71 -54  78
Total(Div 1)  94 42 17 35  171-152 110
Total(Div 2)   4  1  2  1    5 - 6   4
Grand Total  148 64 34 50  247-210 192

Last Six Premier League results:-

A. Villa   -    DLWLDD

Brighton   0-0    A. Villa
A. Villa   1-2    Leicester
Leeds      0-1    A. Villa
Sheff Utd  1-0    A. Villa
A. Villa   0-0    Wolves
Newcastle  1-1    A. Villa

Spurs      -    LLWWWL
Man City   3-0    Spurs
West Ham   2-1    Spurs
Spurs      4-0    Burnley
Fulham     0-1    Spurs
Spurs      4-1    C. Palace
Arsenal    2-1    Spurs

Pos           P  W  D  L   F-A   GD  Pts
8. Spurs     28 13  6  9  47-30  17   45 
9. A. Villa  27 12  5 10  39-28  11   41

Every game is a cup final now

After our disgraceful Europa League exit on Thursday our fixture list for the remainder of the season has been denuded of five potential Europa League games. Now we have eleven more games to play, one of which is a mountainous challenge in the League Cup Final against Manchester City next month. Sitting in eighth place going into this game against Aston Villa, we have to treat every remaining game like a cup final, aiming to win and to finish as high in the league table as possible. A Champions League place, quite frankly, looks beyond us, but we need to aim for fifth to ensure at least a place in next season's Europa League. Winning the League Cup final this year wins you a place in UEFA's latest (third tier) European Competition - The European Conference League - where the opposition would no doubt be far flung places in Eastern Europe.

In our way tomorrow and of course aiming to prevent us winning our first "cup final" are Aston Villa, hoping to include the returning Jack Grealish who is as much a talisman to Villa as any player in any side. Dean Smith has said that Grealish will be assessed tomorrow, but strong rumours abound that Grealish will not play. Grealish's last game was a 0-0 draw at Brighton on 13th February, since when the "Villans" have managed one win - a tight 1-0 away to Leeds. Without Jack, they lost at home to Leicester, managed to become only the fourth team to lose to Sheffield United (in the Premier League) this season, then drew against Wolves and Newcastle. If absent, Villa will miss Grealish.

It must be very rare for a team to wait until March to play their first game against a league opponent in an English football season. This game had been originally scheduled for midweek around 12th January, but had to be postponed because Villa had suffered Covid issues. Fulham stepped in, and now this game has been put back to FA Cup quarter-final weekend. The game kicks-off at 7.30pm tomorrow and is being shown on Sky Sports. Our home game against Villa is currently scheduled for 15th May, but there is a slight possibility of that being put back to allow all teams to have a home and away game in front of a crowd as the Covid restrictions are due to ease with effect from 17th May. We have to wait and see.

I've found another occasion when we didn't play Aston Villa until March. In the early 1920s the league fixtures were arranged so that teams would often play their home and away games in consecutive weeks, usually with the same referee. For example in the 1920-21 season we played Villa on 11th & 18th September. The following year it was 24th September and 1st October. In 1922 we met on 7th & 14th October. In the 1923-24 season our first meeting was on 15th March, when we drew 0-0 at Villa Park. The following week, at White Hart Lane we lost 3-2. Jack Elkes and Alex Lindsay scored our goals, whilst Villa's Len Capewell scored a hat-trick. A quirky fact is that Villa's numbers 1, 2 and 3 were all named Tommy - Jackson, Smart and Mort!

We had even later first meetings of the season in 1924 with Liverpool, Everton and Burnley. The Burnley games were the last of the season, played on 26th April and 3rd May. Similar trends can be found in the previous three seasons.

After evading relegation by one point last season, Villa made an astounding start to this season, winning their first four league games, including an amazing 7-2 win over phenomenal league champions Liverpool, and a 1-0 win away to Leicester. They were booted out of the League Cup at an early stage, and Covid issues meant they had to play a Youth team in their FA Cup home defeat to Liverpool. Thus, Villa have been able to concentrate on their League campaign, and were still in the top four in November. Villa fell behind regarding games played due to Covid, and they've still played one less game than any other team.

Villa have lost form in their last six games and scored just three goals. One of those was an own goal at Newcastle. Spurs have lost their form in their last two games, and no more needs to be said about that here. Harry Kane had been keeping social media silence until today, but has now said "Time to bounce back tomorrow after a very disappointing week. No words will atone for the last 2 games, we just have to show our response on the pitch!" That says it all really.

Players to look out for on the Villa side are striker Ollie Watkins - another Dean Smith signing from his former club Brentford last summer for the fee of 28 million. Watkins has scored 10 league goals and has been named by Gareth Southgate in the latest England squad, which also includes Villa defender Tyrone Mings. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was signed from Arsenal, and has held down the number one shirt despite the return to fitness of Tom Heaton.

Ross Barkley is on a season-long loan from Chelsea, but has been in and out of the side. Full backs Matty Cash and Matt Targett have impressed, and if fit, look out for Bertrand Traore who has pace and not a little skill in the attacking midfield department.

Spurs will be missing the suspended Erik Lamela and the injured Heung-min Son. Son was injured in last season's away game, a 3-2 win, and it's a good job we didn't find out about that till after the game, beause "Sonny" scored at the end of each half! The leadership of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will be very much required in front of the defence. I'd like to see Lo Celso start this one behind Harry Kane, which might leave a space for Ndombele next to Hojbjerg. I'm not going to speculate on the rest of the team, but whoever plays will know they need to play like tigers and try to rip the "Villans" to shreds. Rather stupidly and optimistically, I predicted a 2-1 win for Spurs last week, and I will stand by that forecast.

Our match referee for the 73rd time since his first Spurs game on 21st October 2000 will be Mike Dean. Mr. Dean's last Spurs game in the middle was our successful Carabao Cup semi-final in January. Mr Dean recently had a short respite from his duties following death threats he reported after the sending off of Tomas Soucek in the Fulham - West Ham game in early February. He had also sent off two Southampton players in their 9-0 defeat at Old Trafford. When he did return to Premier League refereeing duties on 20th February, Mr. Dean found himself having to send off West Brom's Ajayi for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity.

Did you know? Spurs won their first away Premier League game against Villa at the eleventh attempt in January, 2003. Teddy Sheringham scored the only goal of the game. Since then we've played another 14 away league games against Villa, winning 7, drawing four and losing three. Our last defeat at Villa Park was in January 2008.

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