Tottenham Focus - Spurs hoping recent history against Villa is repeated
It’s back to Premier League business for the Spurs diaspora when they take on another team in the claret and blue as Tottenham visit Aston Villa on Sunday.
The Lilywhites will be looking to put the loss to West Ham behind them and keep pace with their rivals around them. Recent history may favour Tottenham, who have not lost to Aston Villa in their last 10 fixtures and have won 4-0 in their last two meetings at Villa Park, including a League Cup clash in September. The Villans have had mixed results but victories over Arsenal and Manchester City and narrow defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool show Spurs need to be wary.
The game may throw up some interesting match ups. Christian Benteke - if fit - against his international teammate Jan Vertonghen; Gabriel Agbonlahor against Kyle Walker and Spurs will hope to see Danny Rose return to counteract Andreas Weimann.
Until the West Ham match Spurs had the best defensive record in the league, joint with Southampton, and Coach André Villas-Boas will want to see his defense return to their best against a team carrying a potent attacking threat.
This threat may leave the Portuguese with a difficult decision in centre midfield. Both Mousa Dembélé and Paulinho have been in good form but their natural inclination appears is to get forward rather than hold and this can leave the Spurs back four unprotected. There may be a strong argument for bringing Sandro in to the starting XI in more of a holding role, especially if Villas-Boas believes Villa will pack the midfield again in a 3-5-2 formation, as they did against City.
Spurs’ main issue in the league however has been scoring goals. Sunday’s match may see Roberto Soldado return after being dropped for Jermain Defoe against the Hammers. The Spaniard is arguably more adept than the Englishman in the 4-2-3-1 Spurs employ. His ability to hold the ball up and bring teammates into play, coupled with his need to play to continue to integrate in the team, should see him start. The question may be the service he gets.
Andros Townsend has had a pretty good week in a white shirt so far and despite tiring against Poland it is difficult to see him not starting on Sunday. On Spurs’ left flank Gylfi Sigurdsson has started the season strongly too. However, with both preferring to cut in, the middle becomes too crowded for Soldado and Christian Eriksen. If Villas-Boas switches Sigurdsson and Townsend on the flanks would it affect the Icelander’s effective play coming in off the left?
Perhaps the answer is in the young Englishman, as Townsend will have arguably benefitted from his England experience. In both matches he mixed his play, not just attacking both outside and inside the full-back as well as drifting inside. His passing was also at times measured and incisive. Spurs fans will certainly hope Townsend can continue his good week and form. If he can create like chances like he did for England, Spurs should get back to scoring ways.
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