Although Spurs didn't get the opportunity to cost Tim Sherwood his job, they may have sent new manager Remi Garde rushing to the airport to book the soonest flight back to France. Villa were completely inept for almost the entirety of the match, and other than a twenty minute spell to end the game they looked deserving of their place in the table.
Spurs got off to a perfect start, with Mousa Dembele getting on the scoresheet in the third minute. Danny Rose scooped a hopeful ball over the defense to find Dembele in the left channel. Dembele proceeded to end Ciaran Clark's career as he outmuscled him into the box, practically dragging Clark behind him, before finishing neatly between Brad Guzan's legs.
For the rest of the half, Spurs controlled the game comfortable without creating a lot of great chances, but Villa rarely managed to string two passes together. Scott Sinclair was the danger man for Villa, creating a couple decent opportunities out of nothing on his own, but Walker and Lamela together marshalled him very well. Other than that, it was pretty much one-way traffic.
In the 25th minute, Eric Dier put Harry Kane through with a gorgeous through ball, but Guzan was able to parry the strike over the bar. Rose followed up with another great strike from the resulting corner, but Villa held on. Finally, just before half time, Eriksen slid Rose in behind the defense, and the defender's cross was headed clear only as far as Dele Alli at the top of the box. Alli did brilliantly to take the ball off his thigh and hit it on the volley into the bottom corner, despite four Villa defenders closing him down.
The second half started much the same, with Spurs comfortably controlling the match without really turning the screws. But then Villa brought on Carles Gil and Spurs took off Mousa Dembele around the 70th minute. The introduction of Villa's best creator and the loss of one of Spurs' key midfield controllers swung the momentum in Villa's favor for the first time all match. Despite looking completely outclassed for the entire match so far, Villa realized that they were in fact professional footballers.
Ten minutes later Villa's awakening paid off, and a Ryan Mason giveaway in midfield fell to Jordan Ayew outside the box. Ayew struck the ball well, but was fortunate to see his strike deflect off of Jan Vertonghen. Hugo Lloris was completely wrong-footed, and Villa were on the scoresheet.
Aston Villa seemed to gain confidence from the goal, and Spurs looked rather rattled and incapable of passing to their own teammates. For a minute there, it looked like Spurs would throw it all away and let Villa steal a point.
But there was no need to worry. A brilliant counter involving Ben Davies, teenage debutante Josh Onomah, Eriksen, Lamela, and Harry Kane in the 90th minute sealed the match. Davies played a quick one-two with Onomah to drive down the left touchline, and then found Eriksen in the center of the park. The counter looked about to die when Kieran Richardson gave Eriksen a shove in the back, but the Dane held on and swung the ball wide for Lamela. Lamela calmly centered the ball for Kane, who burried it in the back of the net with a rocket to the upper 90.
Spurs once again looked like a good team with good players who are understanding their coach's tactics. We just might be for real y'all.
- For most of the match, Christian Eriksen ran absolutely everything, pressing and passing equally well. He even tracked back to save a chance in our box. Love this guy.
- Dembele is once again reminding us of the player we signed. He is good at football.
- The interchange between Dembele and Alli in midfield made us almost like a 4-3-3, and it was really effective.
- Our defense recognized quickly that Scott Sinclair was the only dangerous player on the pitch, and we double and triple teamed him as needed to prevent Villa from generating any real attacks.
- Lamela had a really strong 7/10 type match. Normally we see him vacillate wildly between fantastic and inspid, but to see him put in a solidly competent match is one of the most encouraging things for me.
- Josh Onomah made his Premier League debut and he played rather well. Hope we get to see more of him soon.
- We've seen many games where a comfortable performance ends in a feeble collapse when the going gets tough. But not this Spurs.