Tottenham Hotspur went into today’s match at Aston Villa knowing that a win would put them right back into the top four conversation with a huge week ahead of them. It certainly wasn’t easy, but they got the win right at the end. Spurs overcame an early own-goal from Toby Alderweireld and took advantage of a late mistake from Bjorn Engels (himself a goal-scorer), firing home the winner on the counter-attack in the 94th minute to win 3-2. Sonny had a brace after converting a saved penalty kick, and Alderweireld also scored a lovely goal in the win.
Storm Dennis promised weather at Villa Park, but it wasn’t as bad as everyone predicted. Despite warnings by Birmingham police and advisories of travel, the match between Aston Villa and Tottenham went on as planned and the sun even peeked through the clouds a few times.
Jose Mourinho welcomed left back Ben Davies into the starting lineup for the first time in months, as he lined up in front of Hugo Lloris, across from Serge Aurier, and with a center back pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez. Youngster Japhet Tanganga, who impressed over the past month, was moved to the bench. Both of Tottenham’s new midfield signings — Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso — also started the match on the bench, possibly with an eye to Wednesday’s Champions League match, as Eric Dier and Harry Winks got the start. Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn, Son Heung-Min, and Lucas Moura made up the attacking band.
2’ — In what might be a sign of what’s to come, Sonny takes a body-shot on a Spurs break from Konsa and is slow getting up. Immediately afterwards, Aurier makes a dumb foul on Grealish across the pitch from the ball and a free kick is given which is fired over the ball by El Ghazi.
7’ — We’re not even ten minutes into this match and Aurier has fouled Grealish twice and is very close to picking up a yellow. Drink.
9’ — Goal Villa. Well, that was bad. El Ghazi fires in a cross rom the right and it takes a weird bounce right in front of goal. There’s poor communication between Alderweireld and Lloris, and Toby puts it in his own net. Own goal, Spurs are down 1-0.
15’ — Big chance for Spurs! Lucas dribbles into the box and cuts it back to Dele who is wide open. His shot is blocked by Courtney Hause and scrambled away. That should’ve been the equalizer.
17’ — Lucas looking lively in the opening minutes. He flashes a low shot towards the bottom corner that goes just inches wide.
19’ — Oh my, Grealish just destroys Alderweireld on the right flank, crosses to Luiz who is wide open but he puts it over the bar. Villa should be up two. Then on the counterattack Steven Berwijn puts a lovely ball to Dele’s head who can’t direct it on target.
20’ — Toby Alderweireled took a shot to the gut from close range and goes down for treatment. He’s off to get treatment but looks like he just got the wind knocked out of him. He makes his way back after a minute.
27’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! Toby Alderweireld, his first goal in three years, and it’s not from his head! He catches the corner at the edge of the box, turns on the half-volley and hits it sweetly past Pepe Reina. What a finish! It’s 1-1!
36 — Another big chance from Spurs. Dele gets through on goal on the counter and tries to poke a ball from a very acute angle past Reina but it’s not quite on target. Tricky shot.
37 — El Ghazi fires a 25-yard rocket at Spurs’ goal, but it’s straight at Hugo. The shot has such power on it that the ball ricochets off Hugo’s face. Quality save.
42’ — How did Spurs not score?? Ben Davies with a lovely dribble upfield and cuts a ball into the box for Dele, who’s shot is blocked. Bergwijn gets a chance on the rebound and it’s also blocked. There’s a VAR check for handball, which is ruled not a penalty. Play resumes.
44’ — We have a VAR check for a possible penalty! Winks with a lovely ball from midfield to find Bergwijn who is taken out in the box by Bjorn Engels... AND IT’S GIVEN! Penalty to Spurs!
45’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! IT’S SON HEUNG-MIN! Sonny’s initial penalty is saved by Reina after a weird-looking run up, but he’s right there to tap in the rebound! His fifth goal in five games for Tottenham! SPURS LEAD 2-1!
HALF-TIME! Spurs into the break leading 2-1 and scoring all three goals. Spurs looking a little shaky at the back but pretty good going forward.
47’ — Spurs with a half-chance right away as Bergwijn pushes forward on the break but can’t get a shot away after a Villa player gets a last-ditch foot in. A nice run, though, and he earns a corner that amounts to nothing.
54’ — Goal Villa. Bjorn Engels with a header off of a corner after out-jumping Toby. It’s 2-2 now. Crap.
58’ — Another corner for Villa and again a Villa player gets a head on it. This time Hause puts it over but this is starting to get scary.
59’ — First sub of the match for Villa — Drinkwater is off for Nakamba, and one for Spurs as well as Dier comes off for Gio Lo Celso.
61 — Son with a chance! Lucas passes to Son in the box who evades one defender and shoots on target. Reina makes a great save.
69’ — Second sub for Villa as El Ghazi comes off for Trezeguet.
71’ — Another chance for Spurs! Aurier’s cross into the box is blocked away. Bergwijn has a crack but it’s deflected out for a corner. Sooooo many breaks, so few goals.
74’ — ANOTHER break and Pepe Reina somehow keeps Dele out. This is starting to feel like one of THOSE matches.
75’ — Winks fouls Grealish on the edge of Spurs’ box and picks up a yellow.
81’ — Aurier’s been... uh, not great today but is there to make a really good tackle in the box ahead of Trezeguet. Potentially goal-saving.
83’ — Gedson Fernandes is Spurs’ second sub; he replaces Dele who’s had a tough outing today.
84’ — Sonny with a blast from inside the box and Pepe Reina makes another save. Then seconds later he has ANOTHER shot from a corner and Reina saves AGAIN. He’s having a blinder today and it’s not fair.
85’ — Yellow card on Guilbert, who took out Bergwijn.
90’ — We’re into extra time and there will be four additional minutes. Still time for a winner from either side.
91’ — Nice from Gedson, who picks Targett’s pocket, spins and earns Spurs a corner.
92’ — GAAAAAH Lo Celso with a nice strike and Reina down low to save. Immediately afterwards, Nakamba picks up a yellow for Villa for taking out Bergwijn.
94’ — GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL SON HEUNG-MINNNNNNNNNNNNN!!! Davinson Sanchez with a long ball out of the back, which takes a touch off of Bjorn Engels’ back heel. It finds Sonny who is streaking forward and he puts it past Reina!! SPURS LEAD 3-2 AT THE DEATH!
HERE’S THE GOAL WITH KOREAN COMMENTARY
February 16, 2020
94’ — Mourinho immediately makes a final sub — Vertonghen comes on for Bergwijn.
FULL TIME! Spurs get the three points! It wasn’t easy but Sonny’s last-minute goal gives Tottenham a HUGE win in an important week!
- I was all set to write about how it felt appropriate that Spurs get football’d in this match when the Engels error and Son goal made me delete nearly everything.
- The story of this match was Tottenham creating so many chances but not finishing them. Part of that was Pepe Reina who had a blinder of a match, but also Spurs just weren’t able to capitalize on a number of chances that could’ve put the match away early.
- Sonny was creating and getting on the end of opportunities going forward but was frustrating to watch. That said, he scored twice including the winning goal, so how can I be mad at him?
- Same can be said for Dele, who again tried hard but nothing was coming off. He feels cursed or something right now and needs a goal to go in off his ass.
- Grealish looked really good going forward. He absolutely tortured Serge Aurier on Spurs’ right, which left Toby out to dry numerous times during this match. He’s really, really good and in some ways Spurs were lucky not to lose this match.
- Set pieces were Tottenham’s bane in this match — they looked really shaky, especially on Villa corners. Engel went high over Toby to score and there were a couple of free headers that luckily weren’t on target.
- Harry Winks — look, he’s just good now. I can’t explain it, but I sure am glad. Mourinho has done SOMETHING to him, I’m not sure what, but his passing is soooo much better.
- Ben Davies looked like he hasn’t played a match in a few months but he did have one nice dribble upfield and pass for a good Spurs chance.
- Tottenham are now one point behind fourth-place Chelsea, with the Blues hosting United at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. Come on you dropped points!