Tottenham Hotspur knew they had a tricky tie against a resurgent Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday, but despite an anemic first half might feel a little unlucky that they didn’t come away with at least a draw. Harry Kane inexplicably missed a golden chance one-on-one with Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez, Dejan Kulusevski narrowly missed the goal on a breakaway, and Kane pulled another goal back late on a penalty. It wasn’t quite enough as Villa held on for a 2-1 win, which pulls them level with Spurs on points and goal differential.
Here are my match reactions from this defeat.
- That first half can be summed up in one word: dreadful.
- Pedro Porro might be fun going forward, but he makes the dumbest fucking passes in the defensive third. Two bad ones in the opening minutes before Villa’s goal.
- Credit to Villa for putting together a good looking team goal, but Tottenham’s defense was a shambles on that play. Cuti went to ground first, which left Pedro Porro to defend Ramsey... and we all know what Pedro Porro’s defense is like.
- Mason didn’t set up Tottenham to press in this match, and going down early allowed Villa to just sit with the ball and try and pass through them. It led to some really frantic defensive moments and was definitely frustrating to watch.
- As frustrating as the first half was, the plan was clearly to try and beat the offside trap, and you could see that plan. However, no shots and like a billion offsides in the first half is almost always bad, especially when you’re living off the back shoulder, and there was very little ball movement otherwise.
- Speaking as someone who likes Oliver Skipp and wants him to succeed, he is just not good right now and playing him ahead of Sarr is kinda inexplicable.
- I honestly don’t know how Harry Kane missed that shot early in the second half. He buries that 99 times out of 100.
- A Bissouma sighting! Really nice to see him back, even if I wanted Sarr to come on. And he was good!
- As soon as Deki and Yves came on, Spurs started to press Villa and things began to open up offensively. A more dynamic system of play, even if they did continue the unabated streak of offsides. So it’s predictable that they conceded shortly afterwards.
- The second Villa goal was all Forster. That should’ve been an easy save for any competent keeper — nowhere near the post and right at head height. He should’ve had it.
- Martinez’s foul on Kane looked like a penalty but I really, truly, honestly thought they wouldn’t give it because Tottenham can’t have nice things. Happy to be wrong. Great penalty from Kane.
- Sonny. How many times was he offside today? It’s like his GPS was slightly miscalibrated. Scoring a goal called back in the waning moments was just the final indignity. A really weird match for him.
- Villa are a good team and this was a tricky match, but the nature of how the game played out was just super dispiriting. I’ve never wanted an end to a season more.
- The loss puts us level on points and goals with Villa, and puts a pretty decent sized dent in Tottenham’s chances for European competition next season.