Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur – Pre-game Assessment

Sunday, March 10, 14:00 – Villa Park

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Over the last couple of seasons our Villans and London’s Spurs have found themselves competing for the same marbles.  By the slimmest of margins, we nipped Spurs for 7th place by one-point last season, a point gained almost miraculously at Anfield by repelling the Reds with brilliant saves by Martinez and desperate defending by every Villan on the field to gain a 1-1 tie.  That came one week after we had triumphed over Spurs at Villa Park thanks to two excellent strikes by Ramsey and Luiz (Douglas’s being a perfectly placed freekick from outside the box).  Combined with a final victory over Brighton, we qualified for the Europa Conference League and left Spurs without Kane (transferred to Bayern Munich) and the team excluded from European competition.

By beating Spurs at Villa Park this Sunday, we would be making it difficult, though by no means impossible, for our visitors to hang on to the 5th spot in the Premier League.  That spot is likely good enough to be rewarded with a Champions League qualification for next season.  Regardless, even without Kane, it looks like the team will be playing back in Europe next season one way or another.

Given memories of recent encounters, it would be a boost to Villa fans to have Jacob Ramsey fit again and to reach the level he played at in the final run-in last season.  Almost as reassuring would be to see Pau Torres holding the Left Center Back position.

Of course, if Spurs rise to the occasion and win the fixture, they would be well set to challenge us for the 4th spot.  In other words, it’s yet again a key game for both teams.

On this season’s form so far, our Villans have to be favored.  While Spurs raced out of the gate and led the Premier League for a couple of months, injuries to key players took their toll, and they slipped out of the top four with our Villans (2-1) win at Tottenham Stadium in November being a key factor.  The year-to-date statistics (Villa with 17 wins and 55 points out of 27 games, Spurs 15 wins and 50 points out of 26 games) speak for themselves and, having won the last three encounters, is also to our benefit.

Emery will expect this to be a very tough challenge but a challenge that will be greatly aided by the vocal support of our fans.

Having held Ajax to only one shot on goal, in a 0-0 tie, in the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16 contest at Johann Cruyff stadium, the team is well positioned to advance to the quarterfinals.  This will only help the team’s morale going into Sunday’s game.

Result Prediction:

Prediction:  Aston Villa 3, Tottenham Hotspur 2

Predicted Villa Line-Up:

I anticipate that Emery will start with one change from the eleven that started against Luton with Torres taking the left center back slot, Lenglet moving over to the right and Konsa starting for Cash.

Aston Villa: (4, 3, 2, 1) Martínez, Konsa, Lenglet, Torres, Moreno, McGinn, Luiz, Tielemans, Bailey, Ramsey, Watkins.

Subs: Marschall, Cash, Diaby, Chambers, Iroegbunam, Rogers, Kellyman

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