Season 2021/2022, Villa Run into a Spurs Team with Something to Prove!

While our Villans were ready and confident at the kickoff at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, their hosts were just as prepared to greet them.  We should have reminded ourselves that Spurs had only lost once at home this season and that was to the very talented and determined Chelsea team.

That was the day Spurs were introducing their two new major acquisitions (Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal).  As usual, Spurs found themselves adding excellent talent on the fly, with little opportunity for them to acclimate to their teammates.  The result, that day, was missed assignments and easy goals for their cross-town rivals.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and Romero, the Argentinian international and Serie A defender of the year for the 20/21 season, and Royal, the Brazilian international and Barcelona financial refugee had had more time to settle and were ready.

Meanwhile, Manager, Nuno Esperito Santo, had figured out that both Lucas Moura and Oliver Skipp offered more grit than Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso, and, with Tanguy Ndombele, they might be able to match the torrid pace set by Villa’s dynamic trio of McGinn, Luiz, and Ramsey.

Still, all that would have been for naught if not for the brilliant play of Son Heung-min.  He was a one-man wrecking crew whose incisive running and pinpoint passing set the stage for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg to pass the ball into the net in the first half and forced Matt Targett to concede an own goal when Moura was right behind him for a tap-in just a few minutes after Ollie Watkins had tied the game in the second half.

Sure, it would have been a different game if McGinn, in the first 10 minutes, had not let a perfect Luiz pass run, allowing Royal to get his body in the way.  If McGinn had not committed that rare error for him, or if Royal had not been so alert, McGinn would, with Targett outside, have had a two-on-one with the wingback in the penalty area, something the Scot usually converts clinically.

That missed opportunity and Spurs’ quick response after Villa’s equalizer meant Spurs built the confidence of their crowd and that energized them.  Compare that with what happened at Old Trafford when our Villans frustrated the Red Devils, and the crowd, for the whole game.

Credit to our claret and blues to keep fighting to the end and coming close in the 77th minute, when Ings almost got a hold of a Targett volleyed pass to test, but not beat, Lloris.  The pressure to tie the game created openings at the back and Spurs could have easily added to their tally, but Martinez, aided by our superb backline, was sharp and confident and made sure to keep our Villans in the game to the final whistle. For all the details go to the Game Report.

Back to the friendly confines of Villa Park where, after the international break, a similar effort should be enough to overcome an inconsistent Wolves team but one with another South Korean threat, Hwang Hee-chan.


Pre-game Assessments

Game Reports

AVFC Women’s Team