Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Tottenham 2 Aston Villa 0

In front of the Prime Minister, White Hart Lane paid homage to the man at No10. Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice and could have had five as Tottenham Hotspur rose to third in the Premier League with a performance brimming with pace and élan.

In front of Harry Redknapp, who ignored doctors’ advice to attend the game after heart surgery, Spurs impressed all over. Ledley King was a model of composure and authority at the back. Scott Parker ran midfield. Gareth Bale, who was superb, and Aaron Lennon kept flying down the flanks. Bale was magnificent, all speed, touch and athleticism, the Welshman whipping in some exceptional crosses. In the centre, Rafael Van der Vaart was all deft Dutch influence.

Adebayor shone not only with his brace but also his industry, even winning two tackles. This well-received victory had the additional bonus for Tottenham fans of pushing Chelsea out of the top four.

Spurs were as good as Aston Villa were impoverished, the visitors handicapped by Alex McLeish’s negative tactics. Gabby Agbonlahor foraged hard for meagre reward, young Chris Herd toiled hard in midfield and Barry Bannan brought some belated composure but overall this was woeful from the visitors.

McLeish brought an optician into Bodymoor Heath last week; there will be blurred vision after this as Bale in particular kept speeding past them. Villa’s right side of Alan Hutton in midfield and Carlos Cuéllar was led a merry dance by the Welshman.

Taxi for Hutton? Taxi for Cuéllar? The way Bale destroyed Villa’s right flank in the first half conjured up memories of his humiliation of Inter Milan’s famed Brazilian full-back. Taxi for Maicon? Echoes abounded of that night in the Champions League.

Bale was unplayable, shredding McLeish’s cautious game-plan, creating both of Adebayor’s first-half goals. Even David Cameron, a Villa fan, would have struggled to sort out the right wing. Cuéllar and Hutton patently failed in their attempt to double up on Bale.

Villa had been almost paranoid about Tottenham’s wingers. On the other flank, McLeish had stationed Emile Heskey to protect Stephen Warnock from Lennon’s pace. No chance. Within moments, Lennon was spiriting the ball elegantly around Warnock, spinning away and disappearing upfield.

McLeish shouted at his team to push up but they were camped on the 18-yard line, scared of Tottenham’s fliers. Villa’s strikers seemed increasingly isolated and frustrated. Heskey’s dragged ball across goal was the closest they came in a first half that must have made dispiriting viewing for the Villa faithful who had travelled south.

Spurs were so in control. King strolled with the ball around Agbonlahor. Then the hosts put together a wonderful move, the ball arrowing from Benoît Assou-Ekotto, resplendent in different coloured boots, to Lennon. The England winger’s cross deserved far better than Adebayor’s inaccurate header. Redknapp rose from his seat, becoming involved in the emotion of the occasion. Not what the doctor ordered.

Yet Redknapp eschewed any celebration moments later when Spurs inevitably broke through, making a mockery of McLeish’s policy of containment. Van der Vaart’s corner fell to Bale, who hooked it into the area. Adebayor responded quickest, meeting the ball with a bicycle kick that flew past Shay Given.

Spurs fans were being treated to their white-shirted idols at their imperious best. Parker bestrode midfield as if it was his private fiefdom. One moment he was conducting moves, releasing Lennon and Kyle Walker down the right, the next he was sprinting back to dispossess Darren Bent with a perfect sliding tackle.

Then Van der Vaart drilled a majestic pass to Adebayor, a pass that drew admiring gasps from the locals who sighed with ennui when the striker wasted the moment. Then Walker accelerated down the right, almost causing whiplash for Warnock.

On the rare occasions when Villa entered Tottenham’s domain, Redknapp’s side defended stoutly. When Parker lost out to Agbonlahor, Younes Kaboul covered smartly. Moments later, Kaboul repeated his rescue act.

More creativity was soon flowing from the hosts’ quick feet. Luka Modric was quietly influential in the middle, releasing Bale through the middle but the Welshman’s touch was poor for once.

Villa hinted at a goal. Heskey dragged the ball across goal, neither worrying Brad Friedel nor enticing Bent to attack it. Spurs then showed them how it was done. Bale again destroyed Villa’s right flank, crossing low and hard towards the near post. James Collins went for the ball, missed it, putting off Given, gifting Adebayor the simplest of goals.

Villa were more assertive after the break, although they could have hardly have been less. A good ball in from Herd was met by Bent, whose header was comfortably plucked from the cold north London air by Friedel. Yet the force remained with Spurs. Adebayor missed a one-on-one chance. He appealed for a penalty when challenged by Stiliyan Petrov.

McLeish had seen enough of the travails on Villa’s right, withdrawing Cuéllar, sending on Bannan and pulling Hutton back to full-back.

Bannan brought some invention to Villa’s midfield, drifting inside and playing some fine passes. Redknapp also made a change, setting the visitors yet another challenge, replacing Van der Vaart with Jermain Defoe.

Still Adebayor’s work-rate impressed, the striker tracking back to put in a couple of tackles. With 14 minutes remaining, he should finally have had his hat-trick but Given saved well. Still Spurs poured forward, Parker having a left-footed drive deflected wide.

The final whistle brought chants of “Bale, Bale” and a salute to Adebayor. They were both that good. So were Tottenham.

Related Posts

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.