Tottenham came back fighting from the International break to record a well fought 2-0 win over Aston Villa tonight. Goals from Andros Townsend and Roberto Soldado made sure that Spurs climbed back up the table to fifth.
The game began on rather shaky ground for the visitors. Villa pushed well for the early minutes however it seemed that Spurs could have been the masters of their own downfall with some rather sloppy forward passing letting Villa to pounce despite little creativity. The majority of possession came by Michael Dawson and Vlad Chiriches (making his first Premier League start for Spurs) as the pair often found themselves passing along the back-line as Tottenham struggled to poach a threat to the hosts’ defence.
The game sprang into life around the 20 minute mark as Westwood’s dangerous free-kick was received by Lloris who did well to get down and push the ball away. Just minutes after, Tottenham had their own chance at the other end. Lewis Holtby whipped a free-kick into the Villa area but was just too far for Michael Dawson and later Jan Vertonghen at the back post.
The lead was taken on the half an hour mark. The player everyone is talking about in the form of England International Andros Townsend, received the ball from Roberto Soldado and cut the ball back to strike a cross however the eventual ball travelled the full distance and landed in the net to make it 1-0 to Tottenham. The moment got to Townsend who couldn’t fully appreciate the surprise of the goal as he scored his first Premier League goal for Tottenham. The lead was almost doubled before the break as Gylfi Sigurdsson met Vertonghen’s cross with a header, only to put the ball over from about eight yards. Villa did continue to push as they had throughout however the half time whistle came before any threat could be entertained.
The second half saw a new, more relaxed Tottenham. The sun began to come out despite earlier torrential conditions and play became more calm with passing much improved on the sloppy state seen earlier. Guzan was called into action just five minutes after the break as Paulinho drilled a half-volleyed effort towards the Villa goal in the area but the venomous punt was comfortable enough for the American. Michael Dawson picked up a yellow for chopping down Weimann just minutes later as the home side began to threaten Spurs. The moment to spark this threat came in the form of Belgian international Christian Benteke who replaced Kozak. Benteke familiar to AVB after his summer enquiry. He was instantly called into action as he climbed high for a header but stabbed it over, much to the delight of the travelling side.
Spurs replied with their own, much welcomed substitution. Aaron Lennon returned from his long ankle injury to make his first appearance since the opening day of the season. He was instantly involved with a sparkling run down the left hand side which was previously occupied by Gylfi Sigurdsson who was some what a ghost on this appearance. The game however was finished on the 69th minute. Roberto Soldado linked very well with Paulinho in the centre and received the final pass to tuck home his first goal from open play for Spurs and his 3rd this season. The goal was very welcome to Spurs as Villa and Benteke were causing some trouble prior to the thoroughly celebrated goal.
The game began to fold not long after. Andros Townsend continuously made runs down the right flank however despite run after run, he could not get the end product to unfold with an effort into the area just missed by the diving Paulinho. Aaron Lennon and Walker picked up needless bookings in the final minutes, Lennon’s being cautioned for a vicious swipe. The game however went to Spurs as they got back to winning ways.
Lloris – 9/10, Some excellent stops in tricky conditions and another clean sheet
Walker 7/10, another silly booking overshadowed a good defensive performance.
Chiriches – 6/10, the odd clever challenge on his first Premier League appearance
Dawson – 7/10, Solid throughout but got booked for a silly challenge
Vertonghen – 8/10, some great challenges and very good skills
Sandro – 7/10, Brought balance to a previous puzzled midfield.
Paulinho – 7/10, good passing and clever play in general. An assist too!
Sigurdsson – 6/10, very quite from the Icelander but some good crosses
Holtby – 7/10, again another quiet figure.
Townsend – 9/10, battled all day long and received the benefits.
Soldado – 10/10, a goal, assist and won everything all day long. My MOTM.
MOTM – Roberto Soldado. An excellent performance. He worked tirelessly all game and fought for the ball well in the air. His goal will please many fans and he contributed to the first goal. Well done Mr Soldado.