Adebayor 15, 40
Tottenham moved into 3rd place in the Premier League with a comfortable win over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane. Emmanuel Adebayor’s double strike earned Spurs their seventh win in eight games, and the margin of victory could have been more had the Togolese striker taken all the chances handed to him.
Spurs lined up in a version of a 4-4-2 formation with Brad Freidel in goal opposing his former side for the first time since his summer move from Villa Park. Ledley King lined up in central defence alongside Younes Kaboul. Tottenham posed a real threat down the flanks with Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale providing pace and creativity in the wide areas. With Luka Modric probing from central midfield, Scott Parker added the stability required. Rafael Van Der Vaart lined up just behind Adebayor in the forward area.
Alex McLeish also sent out his Aston Villa side in a 4-4-2 formation, although slightly more defensive minded. Carlos Cuellar at right back was assisted by Alan Hutton sitting just in front of him to attempt to quell the threat of Bale. Chris Herd and Stilian Petrov sat in the middle of the park, with Gabriel Agbonlahor given licence to raid down the left. Up front Emile Heskey partnered Darren Bent.
Spurs attacked from the off, with Aaron Lennon in particular looking dangerous down the right hand side. It was just 15 minutes into the game before Adebayor opened the scoring for Tottenham with a spectacular overhead kick, the former Arsenal man reacting quickest to a half cleared corner.
The threat then switched to the left hand side, with Bale showing his worth to Spurs with a series of raids which had Villa scrambling to clear. The Welsh international created the second goal, his low cross spilled by Shay Given allowing Adebayor to tap home.
The Togo international had numerous chances to wrap up the game and complete his hat-trick but was wasteful with his finishing. Firstly he beat the offside trap to race through on goal, but despite beating Given with his effort, the ball slid wide of the post. Then Adebayor curled an effort just beyond the far post as Spurs continued to dominate, so much so that the overall possession stats were 71% – 29% in the North London clubs favour.
Harry Redknapp could not have wished for a more gentle re-introduction back to the dug-out following his absence recovering from his recent heart surgery. Villa were poor going forward, their only real effort a cross-cum-shot from Emile Heskey. Alex McLeish’s side mustered just three efforts in 90 minutes as they suffered their third defeat in four matches. The result leaves Villa down in eighth place, seven points adrift of Arsenal, and closer to the relegation zone than the European places.
Tottenham meanwhile continued their terrific recent form and look as likely as anyone to provide a challenge to the two Manchester clubs at the top of the Premier League.
Tottenham (4-4-2): Friedel; Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Parker, Modric (Sandro 90), Bale; Adebayor, van der Vaart (Defoe 69)
Aston Villa (4-4-2): Given; Cuellar (Bannan 63), Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Hutton, Herd (Delph 87), Petrov, Agbonlahor; Bent, Heskey
Did you know… Harry Redknapp is now unbeaten in his last 11 games against Aston Villa.
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