Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey Premier League Match Report - Aston Villa v Spurs, 10.03.24
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Aston Villa v Spurs, 10.03.24


Maddison, 50
Johnson, 53
Son, 90+1
Werner, 90+4

Attendance:- 42,310

Referee:- Chris Kavanagh
Assistants:- Simon Bennett, Dan Robathan
Fourth official:- Darren Bond
VAR:- Tim Robinson
Assistant VAR:- Darren Cann

Aston Villa (5-3-2):- Martinez; Cash, Konsa (sub Diego Carlos, 85), Lenglet (sub Zaniolo, 58), Torres, Digne (sub Moreno, 58); McGinn (Capt.), Douglas Luiz, Tielemans (sub Diaby, 58); Bailey (sub Iroegbunam, 69), Watkins

Subs not used:- Olsen; Kester-Hayden; Duran, Rogers

Sent off:- McGinn (Dangerous foul on Udogie), 65
(Armband to Martinez)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vicario; Pedro Porro, Romero, Van de Ven (sub Dragusin, 49), Udogie; Sarr (sub Bentancur, 70), Bissouma; Kulusevski, Maddison (sub Werner, 87), Johnson (sub Hojbjerg, 88); Son (Capt.)

Subs not used:- Austin; Emerson Royal, Davies; Lo Celso; Scarlett

Booked:- Sarr (foul on Tielemans), Dragusin (preventing free kick)

Four-goal Spurs take the initiative in the race for fourth place.

Villa Park - 10.03.24

Thanks to Andy Park for this picture

In my match preview I made reference to Spurs' 4-0 victory here at Villa Park in April 2022. A run of three wins for Villa against Spurs has now been book-ended by another 4-0 win for Spurs. We've won at Villa Park by that score four times in the last twelve years.

Neither team managed a shot on target in the first half, but Spurs wrested the initiative with quick-fire goals soon after the break. Villa shot themselves in the foot when their angry and frustrated captain flew at Destiny Udogie and was shown an obvious red card. Spurs controlled most of the game thereafter and scored two more goals in the ten minutes of added time. Thus, we are just two points behind Unai Emery's side with a game in hand. We do have some tough games yet to come.

Both coaches made three changes. For Villa, who played Ajax away on Thursday, McGinn, Bailey, and Cash replaced Diaby, Rogers and Iroegbunam. Postecoglou replaced Emerson, Bentancur and Werner with Pedro Porro, Pape Sarr and Brennan Johnson, respectively. Bentancur was prevented from meeting Matty Cash, whose cruel foul in November had given the Spurs man another unwanted absence through injury. Rodrigo did come off the bench and got a foul in against his nemesis late in the game.

Villa had hoped to win and draw eight points clear of their rivals. Both team coaches seemed to have formulated a special strategy. Emery chose to play a back five with Cash and Digne on the flanks; both advancing when Villa attacked, mostly on the counter. Spurs chose a more aggressive style than of late, playing a high line and enjoying 75% possession in the early stages. Whilst the Villa defence kept us away from goal in the first half, the home side were not venturing out much.

The game was played in the prevailing grey, cool and wet conditions, and was preceded by a commemoration of former Villa captain Chris Nicholl who passed away last month. Spurs players had to race to the centre circle from their pre-match huddle.

Spurs kicked off and played towards The Holte End. Brennan Johnson was playing on the left and got in a couple of early strong challenges deep in the Villa half on both Cash and Konsa.

Speedster Micky van de Ven successfully chased down and challenged Watkins as he sought to take advantage of a long ball. Spurs did have an early shot, by Pedro Porro, hit from an angle on the right after Spurs had switched play from the left through Udogie and Sarr, before Kulusevski's final pass. Porro's shot landed on the roof of Martinez's net.

Watkins was seen hobbling after Van de Venn's earlier tackle, but soon recovered. As much as Emmery had tried to use his squad over Villa's Thursday-Sunday agenda, his team did become somewhat leggy as the game proceeded. Spurs' early pressing and aggression was no doubt designed to accelerate that process.

Van de Ven impressed for as long as he stayed on the field (he had to be replaced early in the second half), and I thought Destiny Udogie had an excellent game up and down the pitch. Udogie put in a dangerous cross which passed just in front of Kulusevski.

As Villa got into the game more, Spurs did scare me with some of their play-out football but recovered after a mistake by Bissouma led to a chance for Watkins, well-blocked by Pedro Porro, who was making his welcome return after a two-game absence. After a Spurs free kick, taken by Pedro Porro, Villa broke out and it was Porro again who defended strongly, although Watkins had been offside.

Vicario punched clear aa McGinn free kick. Villa soon broke out again with McGinn sending the ball to Cash, but Van de Ven's tackle ensured an end to that threat. Referee Chris Kavanagh had "words" with Douglas Luiz and James Maddison who had a contretemps.

After another Van de Ven interception, Maddison tried to tee up Son, but the ball was just too far in front of our captain. The referee (confirmed by VAR) deemed there had been no foul by Bissouma when he challenged Bailey in the box.

The nearest we had to a shot on target was a cross/shot by Johnson from the left, which was smothered by Martinez outside his right-hand post. Both Johnson and Son were in the Villa area soon after that, but Johnson over-hit the ball after Son's pass.

Romero competently blocked a shot by Watkins, and with added time approaching, Villa's best chance fell to Digne who had advanced and made contact (probably with his shoulder) with McGinn's cross from the left.

There were no changes at the start of the second half. Cash had an early shot blocked by Van de Ven before Son and Johnson managed to make a hash of a golden opportunity to score after a Villa error and a pass by Maddison. Dragusin had been spotted warming up at half-time and it seems Van de Ven was struggling, needing to be replaced early on. Matters were not helped when Micky perhaps over-stretched to clear a Villa threat which was subsequently flagged offside. I understand his injury will not be long-term.

I was a little concerned about Dragusin's ability to read the pace of the game, but overall, he was well-protected and little threatened by Villa, who soon fell two behind!

Spurs took the lead following impressive play in his own half by Kulusevski, before he launched a long ball down the line, which was chased by Sarr. Sarr delivered the perfect cross, which was met perfectly by Maddison striking the ball with his left foot and hitting the net inside Martinez's left post. Maddison is a regular Holte End target, and gave the opposite stand his dart-throwing celebration.

A shot at the other end by Tielemans was half-blocked and picked by Vicario. Spurs went on the attack again with Son feeding Udogie, but he was well-blocked. Spurs went two-up when Kulusevski seized upon a poor pass by Konsa and passed to Son. "Sonny" quickly pushed the ball to his left where Johnson smashed home his fourth Spurs goal.

Emery quickly made three changes replacing Lenglet, Tielemans and Digne with Zaniolo, Diaby and Moreno.

A cross from the left by Son passed too far ahead of Kulusevski. After more scary play in their own half, Pedro Porro came to the rescue when Villa tried to take advantage. McGinn clearly became frustrated at his team's failings and flew at Udogie with a forceful high tackle. This led to a melee on the touchline near the benches, and ultimately McGinn's red card. Villa missed their play-maker for the rest of the game, and he will have to sit out three league games now.

Son and Kulusevski shared a one-two pass going into the Villa area, but again failed to make the most of their chance to increase their lead. Son was also not happy with Kulusevski when he hit a 22-yard shot high over the bar when he had good passes available - not least to Son!

Johnson had a shot blocked from the left of the box after Kulusevski had reached the bye-line before crossing. Cash defended well to prevent Son taking advantage of a Pedro Porro ball.

Villa won two corners on the right and after the second of these and a close-range shot at the back post by Cash, Vicario needed treatment for a head injury. It was actually Villa's first shot on target, well covered by our keeper.

Spurs made two late substitutions with Werner on for Maddison and Hojbjerg replacing Johnson. Hojbjerg was soon impressing as he fought his way out of his half and passed forward to Son, who crossed from the right for Kulusevski who had a shot blocked.

Spurs' third goal came after great work by Pedro Porro and Kulusevski on the right. Kulusevski crossed and "Sonny" smashed the ball home from 15 yards out in the centre of the Villa area. It was Son's 159th club goal and he has now drawn level with Cliff Jones as our fifth highest scorer. Only Martin Chivers (174), Bobby Smith (208), Jimmy Greaves (266) and Harry Kane (280) lie ahead of Son, who has now made 396 Spurs appearances.

Villa Park - Spurs celebrate their third goal with their fans

Thanks to Eugene Gasper for this picture

Son had two assists today and his second came in the fourth minute of added time when he passed inside to Werner who scored his second club goal in two consecutive games.

This was "Big Ange's" biggest Spurs win and clearly the most important in context. I also think this was our most impressive performance of the season. Bring on Fulham next Saturday!

P.S - This was the second time this season we were refereed by Mr. Kavanagh. We beat Newcastle 4-1 at home in his other game. He can come again!

. Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
. Read the preview for this game.
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