Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa – Pre-game Assessment

Sunday, Nov 26, 14:00 – Tottenham Hotspur StadiumReferee: Rob Jones

It seems strange to express confidence about our Villans heading to London to take on one of their three big teams.  The reality is that our 5th place standing (two points behind Arsenal, one point behind Spurs and nine points ahead of Chelsea) owes most to our perfect home record, thirteen Premier League wins in a row.  In contrast, our away record is quite pedestrian with only 7 points out of a possible 18!

Rather than asking when we’ll falter at home, we should be asking when is our away form going to catch up with our performances at Villa Park? 

Let us analyse our losses as I expect our manager, Unai Emery, has been doing.  We have lost three Premier League away games this season, to Newcastle, Liverpool, and Nottingham Forest.  The first two losses featured early goals by outstanding home teams and the loss of two of our center backs (Tyrone Mings at St. James Park and Carlos Diego at Anfield).  The disruption to the line-up on top of the early goals compounded our woes and made it impossible to recover.

The loss against Nottingham Forest was against a lower caliber team, but another historically strong home performer.  In this game, we ceded goals at the beginning of each half with both being unnecessary.  Despite having most of the play, our Villans found themselves always chasing the game – a bad scenario.

As for the Wolves game at Molineux, the tactical game plan was to prevent losing.  We achieved that objective and should have won all three points at the end (bad no-call for an obvious penalty and Ollie Watkins headed against the post and not into the net).

Meanwhile, we notched two excellent away wins against Chelsea (1-0) and Burnley (3-1) and we should add to that total this Sunday.  Why?

Before Tottenham Hotspur hosted Chelsea on November 6th, they were a very strong home performer this season.  Now, the team that was unbeaten and led the league for some weeks finds itself without Mickey van de Ven, James Maddison, Richarlison, Cristian Romero, Yves Bissouma, Ryan Sessegnon, Ivan Perisic, and Manor Solomon, for injury and suspension reasons. 

In Spurs’ most recent game against Wolves, their center backs were Ben Davies and Eric Dier, two players who, prior to the game, were not first picks and did not always make the bench.  That duo is likely to repeat Sunday, while the rest of the line-up will be equally sub-par with Son Heung-min and, goalie, Guglielmo Vicario notable exceptions.  Manager, Ange Postecoglou, finds himself with the dilemma of wanting to continue the swashbuckling style that got them to the top of the Premier League but, thanks to the loss of key players, afraid that it will leave them exposed to Villa’s rapier fast counterattacks. 

If Villa did not have enough reasons to feel confident, they also have the memory of pulling off the double against Spurs last season, the absence of Harry Kane (now playing for Bayern), and the likely addition of Villa stars Alex Moreno and Jacob Ramsey to the bench after recovering from injuries.

This represents a great opportunity for our Villans to take advantage of an opponent’s misfortune and climb into a top four slot. 

Result Prediction:

I think our Villans will win on the road.  Prediction:  Aston Villa 3, Spurs 1.

Predicted Villa Line-Up:

Aston Villa: Martínez, Cash, Konsa, Torres, Digne, Luiz, McGinn, Tielemans, Kamara, Diaby, Watkins

Subs: Olsen, Bailey, Moreno, Ramsey, Lenglet, Duran, Chambers, Zaniolo, Dendoncker

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