Managerless Aston Villa will be hoping to start turning things around after losing eight of their last nine Premier League games, but face a tough ask on Monday evening as they visit a Tottenham side which has not lost over the same period.
Were it not for the fact they have drawn five of their matches, Tottenham would be much closer to the top of the Premier League, but recent form does suggest that they are serious top four contenders. Last time out the Londoners hit back brilliantly from the early setback of a going a goal down within the first minute at Bournemouth, with Harry Kane grabbing a much-needed hat-trick with the support of Christian Eriksen and opposing goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino deserves immense credit for turning Spurs into a much more difficult side to beat and with Villa currently in the depths of despair, they will be quietly confident of continuing their good run. Eriksen in particular is finding form again after an injury-disrupted start to the season and if he is given the space here, his quality alongside that of the improving Erik Lamela can help add to the visitors’ multitude of problems.
With just four points from their opening 10 Premier League matches, the Aston Villa hierarchy lost patience with manager Tim Sherwood, who has been deprived of the chance to return to his former club here. He had only eight months in the role and did very well to keep the club up last season and take them to the FA Cup final, but after overseeing a number of new signings over the summer the club has simply failed to compete so far and look like huge relegation candidates.
Frenchman Remi Garde is the favourite to take over, but whoever comes in will inherit a squad which has a mixture of youth and experience, while they have occasionally shown flashes of creativity. Not enough of the new men have made impact, with Idrissa Gueye struggling most profoundly in his attempts to prove an able replacement for Fabian Delph in the centre of midfield, but coming into this one – as massive underdogs – they might decide they have nothing more to lose.
Ryan Mason should return for Tottenham after recovering from injury, but this game is likely to come too soon for fellow midfielder Nabil Bentaleb. Federico Fazio and Son Heung-min are definitely out.
Villa caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald does at least have a near fully-fit squad to choose from, with defenders Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards expected to shake off knocks which kept them out of the Capital One Cup defeat to Southampton.
Last Meeting: Tim Sherwood returned to White Hart Lane and masterminded a fine 1-0 victory to provide a significant boost to Villa’s survival chances in April as Christian Benteke made the decisive contribution. The Belgian striker produced a wonderful header from Leandro Bacuna’s cross to leave goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for dead and his side held on for a deserved win despite the sending off of Carlos Sanchez.
Played for both – Brad Friedel: One of the best goalkeepers in recent top-flight history, Aston Villa helped him become a record breaker, as he started every single Premier League game in his three years at the club, helping them to sixth place in both 2009 and 2010 and to a League Cup final. At the age of 39 he moved to Tottenham and continued to be ever reliable between the posts, but eventually he was phased out and retired earlier in 2015.