Home » EPL, Latest, League Cup » League Cup Match Report: Aston Villa 0 Tottenham 4

It is a reflection of the rude health of Tottenham Hotspur when even their alternates can win on autopilot. Andre Villas-Boas bleated about fixture chaos ahead of this confrontation, which arrived within 48 hours of their last-gasp win at Cardiff, but his charges wore the workload lightly as two goals from a revived Jermain Defoe decorated an ominous victory.

“We’re on the way to Wembley,” crowed the fans restless for a repeat of their run to the 2009 final, and their optimism is hard to dispute.

The club cockerel is squawking with renewed gusto. Tottenham, level with Arsenal at the Premier League summit, looked capable of fighting on several fronts as they filleted Villa with surgical precision.

While Defoe was the evening’s leading man, with two clinical finishes to remind Villas-Boas of his enduring quality, Brazilian starlet Paulinho and Belgian newcomer Nacer Chadli weighed in with elegantly taken goals that emphasised the sheer depth of the squad.

From first kick to last they left Villa exposed, both figuratively and literally, as the home side appealed for a second-half penalty when Jan Vertonghen accidentally pulled Niklas Helenius’s shorts down.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen something like that,” admitted manager Paul Lambert, struggling to stop laughing. “I don’t think anybody could believe it.”

Villas-Boas’s own sense of wonder was inspired more by the richness of his options in a world without Gareth Bale.

On their last visit to Villa Park in December his team had won by the same scoreline, courtesy of a hat-trick from their inspirational former winger, but this time they boasted a panoply of alternatives as Defoe and Lewis Holtby – who supplied his own hat-trick of assists – took Villa apart.

“It was a great performance,” the Portuguese reflected. “Without Gareth there is an opportunity for other players to flourish.”

Tottenham, on a sequence of eight wins in nine matches, could afford to field only three of the players who vanquished Cardiff and still prevail at a canter.

“Above all we have a great team spirit this season, and an ambition to do well,” Villas-Boas explained.

“We are on a good run and I hope our blip doesn’t come soon.”

His players were ruthless in demolishing an injury-ravaged Villa side, shorn of talismanic striker Christian Benteke with a hip strain. The Belgian’s absence could be a serious hindrance as Lambert indicated last night that he could be out for a further six weeks.

Harry Kane was deployed on the left for Tottenham to offer some simulacrum of Bale and the 20-year-old applied himself gamely, darting on to Erik Lamela’s cross only to be denied by Nathan Baker’s fine covering tackle.

Defoe, too, was everywhere, never letting his commitment dip as the centre-forward played in the fashion of the frustrated understudy in front of his usurper, Roberto Soldado, who looked on from the bench.

The breakthrough, when it finally arrived, was exquisite as Holtby, angling a sumptuous ball over the top, found just the right weight for Defoe to head the ball in.

It was practically the last touch before half-time but Villas-Boas did not allow his team’s level to drop, as they struck again early in the second half, when Holtby’s corner from the left was stabbed home by Paulinho.

It was a feeble goal for Villa to concede, given that Aleksandar Tonev appeared to dive out of the way to allow Paulinho to run through unchecked.

The home side offered some vestiges of resistance, not least when Tonev’s stinging 25-yard strike needed to be parried by Brad Friedel, but the game was up when Chadli, capitalising on Villa’s poor touch in midfield, fired in at the near post.

Tottenham’s fourth verged on cruel as Defoe skipped around Jed Steer for a tap-in. The exuberant touchline celebrations of Villas-Boas, conscious that his team can pose a genuine threat to all-comers this season, told their own story.

Match details

Aston Villa (4-2-3-1) Steer; Baker, Bennett, Vlaar, Lowton; Bacuna, Sylla; Albrighton, El Ahmadi (Bowery h-t), Tonev (Robinson 82); Kozak (Helenius h-t).
Subs Guzan (g), Clark, Weimann, Johnson.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-5-1) Friedel; Walker (Dawson 80), Chiriches, Vertonghen, Fryers; Lamela, Paulinho (Dembele 64), Sandro, Holtby, Kane (Chadli 73); Defoe.
Subs Gomes (g), Soldado, Naughton, Townsend.
Referee J Moss (Tyne & Wear).

Source: Telegraph

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