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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Aston Villa Preview: No breathers

Spurs need to stop the bleeding but face a tough match on Sunday.


Perhaps predictably, the Chelsea loss yielded residual detriments for Tottenham Hotspur, with suspensions and injuries contributing to the loss at Wolves. While the squad will gradually return to full strength, the impending fixtures against Aston Villa and Manchester City are not looking too favorable.

On the positive, Spurs are still fourth in the table and were frankly overdue for a loss or two. Another pair of defeats of course changes the perception here, but if Ange Postecoglou can find a way to right the ship during this adversity, supporters will be feeling quite positive heading into the heart of the festive period.

The issue is that Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven will still be absent, leading to no fantastic options at center back. The hope is that Destiny Udogie is actually healthy and can return this weekend following his suspension, making James Maddison the only other irreplaceable part of the starting XI to miss out.

Postecoglou will need as many available bodies as possible, as Aston Villa has been one of the league’s brightest spots so far, coming in just a point behind Spurs. Villa has beaten the clubs it should, but has lost to Liverpool and Newcastle, so this one feels like it could go either direction. Tottenham really needs to get back on track, though, so nothing under three points is going to feel good.

Tottenham Hotspur (4th, 26pts) vs. Aston Villa (5th, 25pts)

Date: Sunday, November 26
Time: 9:00 am ET, 2:00 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
TV: USA Network (USA)

After finishing seventh last season, Villa has continued to look the part, fueled by an attack that has scored the second-most goals in the league. Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz are again leading the charge, and the hodgepodge Spurs backline cannot feel too great heading into this one.

The Villa defense has been more middle-of-the-pack and did allow a combined eight goals to Liverpool and Newcastle. It has been a while since Tottenham generated that sort of output, which single goals in each of the last two and just 13 over the past eight, but perhaps this is a good time to see some revived production.

Lilywhite Spotlight: Sprinting off the bench

There is another injury that has hit this squad, which has taken Richarlison out of the rotation. While the Brazilian has been starting (on the left) while healthy, he has not been as productive as hoped, so his absence opens a window for someone to take his place. The healthiest — and most logical — replacement for him is Brennan Johnson, who started and scored against Wolves and should continue to slot in as the left winger.

Johnson has not played a ton since coming in as Tottenham’s top summer signing, but he did look lively in a start against Arsenal and also assisted Heung-Min Son’s winner at Palace. He is a much different player than Richarlison, but perhaps his pace and willingness to drive into the box will help unlock this attack while Maddison is out. He may not be a superstar, but it is worth seeing what he can do with a run of consecutive starts.