Well, that’s how you end a bad week. Tottenham Hotspur came in with morale at a season-long nadir after embarrassing losses at Arsenal and Dinamo Zagreb, matches that put Jose Mourinho’s tenure at the club very much in doubt. Faced with a tough match at a Grealish-less Aston Villa, a rotated Spurs side did what was asked of them. Carlos Vinicius scored his first Premier League goal with a tap in at the far post, and Harry Kane added a second half penalty as Spurs came away with a comfortable 2-0 win at Villa Park.
The reports ahead of the match was that Jose Mourinho was going to put out a side that would “ruffle some feathers.” It was different for sure. Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon both moved into the back line for Matt Doherty and Toby Alderweireld, and started with Davinson Sanchez and Sergio Reguilon. Giovani Lo Celso made his first start since coming back from injury, along with Pierre Hojbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele, and Lucas Moura. Harry Kane started up top with Carlos Vinicius, in a rare two striker formation. Youngsters Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine both started on the bench.
6’ — Pretty cagy football early. Spurs not doing much going forward but at least they have the ball.
10’ — A couple of good half chances for Spurs going forward. One on the break through Kane and Lucas, another via Reguilon on the left. Neither results in shots but one forces a corner.
20’ — I’d like to give an update and say that something has happened, but... well, nothing really has. Pretty dull football.
21’ — Right when I type that a Villa free kick comes out to Traore, who fires a long ball to Sanson at the back post. Spurs are able to scramble it out for a corner.
29’ — GOAL! VENI, VIDI, VINICIUS! Carlos gets his first Premier League goal on a great offensive play! Lucas Moura picks off a ball in midfield and then cuts the ball back to Harry Kane. Harry feeds it right back to Lucas who squares it across goal to Vini. It’s an easy tap-in and Spurs lead!
37’ — Highlight reel worthy move from Ndombele who turned and dribbled through three defenders. Lovely skill.
43’ — Off of a corner, Ndombele tries to float a ball at goal off the volley. It was dipping, but not quite enough and hits the top of the net.
HALFTIME: Tottenham take a narrow lead into the break, but Villa have shown signs of life. This job is not done, by any means.
No changes for either side as we start the second half.
49’ — Harry Kane takes a couple of steps and fires from the top of the box. Alas, it goes achingly wide of the right post. Meanwhile, Sergio Reguilon got clattered and gets up limping.
51’ — Traore tries to scoop a ball to the back post for Ollie Watkins, but Mike Dean calls a foul for a shove in Tanganga’s back.
56’ — Reguilon is down again, he’s been moving super gingerly and is in a lot of pain. He’s coming off for Ben Davies as Tottenham’s first sub.
59’ — Chance for Villa. McGinn has one shot cleared off the line by Joe Rodon and then a second that’s saved by Hugo.
60’ — Sub for Villa — Traore is off, and Anwar El Ghazi is on.
62’ — El Ghazi with a powerful shot for Villa, but it’s wide. Hugo had it covered regardless.
62’ — Yellow card for Gio Lo Celso. I didn’t see what he did, but Mike Dean takes his number.
65’ — Second sub for Spurs, Steven Bergwijn is coming in for Lo Celso. Also one for Villa as Ross Barkley is on for Sanson.
67’ — PENALTY TO SPURS! Matty Cash goes in on Kane right on the end line and Mike Dean points straight at the spot!
67’ — GOAL! HARRY KANE CONVERTS FROM THE SPOT! 2-0!
74’ — Yellow on Matty Cash after clattering Lucas Moura in midfield. Deserved, that.
78’ — Hojbjerg with a sliding tackle to dispossess a Villa player, then he got up and ripped one on target that forced a save from Martinez. Just after, Vinicius flat out trucked a dude to prevent a break, no call from Mike Dean, lmao
80’ — Final sub for Spurs, Moussa Sissoko is coming on for Ndombele.
82’ — Ben Davies crashes the box and tries to play a square pass across the face of goal but it’s knocked out for a corner. Just after, Carlos Vinicius gets his yellow card, which probably deserved about five minutes previously.
90’ — Four minutes of extra time and I’m not jinxing it but I think the odds are pretty good Spurs are gonna win this.
FULL TIME! A solid win to cap off a terrible week for Spurs. That’s just what they needed. Job done.
- Lucas Moura had a really nice match, working well with Kane and Vinicius, and getting back to make some good defensive plays too. He continues his solid run of form.
- Lovely to see Vini get his first Premier League goal today. He was isolated a lot of the time, but despite not playing a ton with most of these players he kept making good moves off the ball. Was in the right place at the right time to tap home the goal.
- Kane probably sold that penalty well, but it was a dumb challenge by Matty Cash and there absolutely was contact. Mike Dean was well within his rights to call that penalty.
- Rodon and Sanchez did quite well on the whole, never really letting Villa get good shots off. Sanchez picked up a couple of cheap fouls for flapping a chicken wing, but neither looked particularly derpy.
- Also credit to Japhet Tanganga who played really well, never looking flustered and making some key blocks down the stretch.
- This was pretty classic Joseball, and it worked. Spurs never really let Villa get much going forward and while they didn’t create much themselves, they took their offensive chances when they could.
- You know how crappy a week Spurs had this week? With this win they’re three points back of fourth place. What a ridiculous season. Next match is at Newcastle.