Tottenham Hotspur once again this Boxing Day provided festive entertainment not only for their supporters, but for the neutral as well. Harry Redknapp’s side passed, probed and fought their way to victory at Villa Park in their English Premier League match against Aston Villa. Villa were without, Stephen Ireland, Ashley Young, Richard Dunne, and john Carew for various reasons, but Spurs were also without the likes of long term absentees Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate.
As per usual when these two sides meet, it was an open game of football which was pleasing on the eye. An exquisite cross field pass from Luka Modric opened up Villa’s defence for Alan Hutton, whom received the ball and duly squared it for Van der Vaart to poke home for Tottenham's first goal, putting the visitors up 1-0 on the 23rd minute.
Soon afterwards, in the 27th minute, Jermaine Defoe was sent off for a stray elbow on James Collins whilst going for a header. A straight red card seemed like a harsh decision from referee Martin Atkinson. I would go so far as to say that it provided further evidence as to why football needs video technology to review big decisions.
After the break, Spurs were still galvanized and caught Villa on a rapid counter attack in the 67th minute. Gareth Bale galloped into the final third, laid the ball to Aaron Lennon, who then passed it back to into the path of van der Vaart who duly put the ball in the net. Van der Vaart’s second took the wind out of Villa’s sails, but it was clear that Villa were always buoyed by the fact that they were playing against 10 men. This proved to be the case when Marc Albrighton later equalised in the 82nd minute, but the Tottenham players remained resolute and held on for the win.
Whilst Harry Redknapp and his players keep their eye on the upcoming A.C. Milan double header in the UEFA Champions League, they must first encounter Newcastle United on Tuesday at White Hart Lane. Gerard Houiller and Gary McAllister have their work cut out for them. The transfer window clearly cannot come soon enough for the Midlands club.