Tottenham did what was expected of them on Sunday, heading into Villa Park and putting two past a listless and broken Aston Villa side, winning 2-0. Harry Kane got a brace and could easily have had more, as Tottenham continued to pile pressure on league leaders Leicester City in the Premier League title race.
Tottenham looked lively in the first few minutes, but eventually Villa found their footing and had a few dangerous stretches of play. Spurs seemed to switch off at points midway through the half, letting Villa control possession and at times hit back on counter-attacks. For a few stretches, they looked like they might make something happen, but ultimately every attack withered on the vine.
Thats not to say that Spurs didn't have chances of their own: they did, many of them. Harry Kane could've had a hat trick in the first half, but a combination of Brad Guzan's good saves and horrible luck kept him scoreless. Kane hit the crossbar on a chipped shot in the opening minutes, and Guzan saved his shots on two other occasions. Late in the half, Erik Lamela fired a low shot to the bottom left but Guzan somehow got a finger on it and deflected it off the right post.
That's not to say that Villa did nothing: Rudy Gestede got on the end of a Villa corner and fired a volley from inside the box that was nicely saved by Hugo Lloris.
Things finally broke Spurs' way just before halftime. Dele Alli was fouled in midfield, but had the foresight to quickly take the free kick. He found a streaking Harry Kane who held off former Hotspur Alan Hutton and fired a beautiful ball from the left past Guzan. It was a skillful finish from an intelligent free kick. Spurs took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but it easily could've been 3 or 4.
The second half started out much like the first half ended: with a Harry Kane goal. Spurs won the ball back in midfield and immediately moved forward. Erik Lamela found Dele Alli on the left side, who fired in a beautiful cross that was met by Kane. Guzan had no chance, and Spurs led 2-0.
From there, the result was never really in doubt. Tottenham took their foot off the gas but never really relented defensively, and Villa quickly gave up, never mounting much of a threat for the rest of the half despite Rudy Gestede ripping a shot off the crossbar late in the match.. It looked almost like a training match for a while as Spurs seemed to focus on passing the ball into the box rather than ripping shots from outside. Spurs brought on Tom Carroll, Ryan Mason, and Nacer Chadli, and it hardly made a difference either way. The final score was 2-0 and it was never much in doubt.
- As frustrating as the first half was, Spurs were clearly the better side and were let down by good goalkeeping by Guzan and terrible finishing luck. But Spurs should've lead by at least three at halftime.
- A fantastic day from the Tottenham fullbacks. Kyle Walker was magnificent down the right flank, easily getting forward and ripping several shots on target. Danny Rose also looked very good both going forward and in defense.
- Dele Alli didn't start the match very well but grew into the game and ended up with two nice assists. His intelligence to see Kane on the back shoulder of Hutton and finding him with the fast free kick was wonderful to see.
- Harry Kane had his second straight excellent league match. He should've had a hat trick, and his second LOOKED like an easy goal but was most definitely not. He's one of our own.
- Credit to Tottenham: this was a banana-peel match that Spurs might have lost in past years, but they buckled down and never really looked like losing. Full credit to everyone today: it was a good team win.
- This was a match that Spurs absolutely needed to win before a awful stretch run, and they did. But the title is still firmly in Leicester City's hands.
- The biggest positive thing for Villa was the debut of 17-year old Andre Green. Good for him. Villa will need players like him to step up next season in the Championship.
- Pray for Villa fans.