Aston Villa vs Spurs
Despite the sense of doom and gloom around Villa Park at the minute it might not be the worst time to play Spurs, who are having problems of their own. Spurs have enjoyed this fixture in recent years though, and we’ve failed to score against the London club in the last five encounters, which we’ve also lost – just like our last five league games…
Be warned, Lambert is on the verge of breaking another record… the Premier League record for consecutive loses without scoring, which is currently held by Ipswich with seven games.
Lambert on confidence and Spurs
“Monday night was really disappointing because we conceded goals that should have been prevented.
“But it’s up to us to go and pick it up again on Sunday.
“I’m sure on Sunday we will come out here with a reaction. The confidence will be fine.
“It’s a tough game, a really tough game. I thought Tottenham were a good team last year and nothing has changed my opinion this year.
“They are one of the top sides. But we are at home and we have to put a show on.”
Benteke on the pressures of football
“I knew that when I was coming back that people were going to expect that [goals] – not to save the team but to contribute or to score some goals.
“I understand. When I came here I was playing football but now I’m like a story so I have to take my responsibility with that. It’s motivation for me.”
Pochettino expected to change his squad around for Villa clash
“I could think only that I need to pick Harry [Kane] for the next game but he shares the minutes with the other strikers, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado, and all the players have the opportunity to play.
“We always put the strongest side out that we can. We have a strong squad. Soldado, Kane and Adebayor are all different players and we are in more than one competition.
“After we go to Aston Villa we go to Asteras in Greece, so when you play in all these competitions you need all the players”
20th October 2013 Aston Villa 0 Spurs 2
With Benteke on the bench it was left to Libor Kozak to lead the line in the home fixture last season. The Belgian’s introduction in the second half couldn’t prevent a 2-0 loss thanks to goals from Townsend and Soldado.
Villa– Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2
Spurs – Last five matches away: W 1, D 2, L 2
Villa have only taken two points from Spurs in the last five home games against them
One to Watch
Erik Lamela – against Villa’s unorganised defence the talented Argentine could score another rabona
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
The last time we beat Spurs at home was in January 2008. That’s 12 games ago. Only Agbonlahor remains at the club from the team that picked up a 2-1 win that day.
To find so much as a goal against the London club you have to look back to May 2011. The last occurrence was when Ciaran Clark scored an outrageously flukey goal in a 1-1 draw at Villa Park in the midst of McLeish turmoil.
In the five occasions (including a game in the League Cup) since that unlikely result, Spurs have suffered no such problem, scoring 15 times against us both home and away. This season alone Spurs have scored more goals in the opening half hour of their matches than we have all season (five compared to four).
Despite losing 2-1 in their last league game against Newcastle, Adebayor netted and will be relishing a trip to Villa Park, having scored more Premier League goals against Villa (seven) than he has against any other team.
Rightly or wrongly there’s always criticism of the lack of possession Villa tend to have in matches but this at least improved against QPR. The ineffectiveness of such possession however was evident as we failed to get anything from a struggling QPR side – despite Vlaar and Benteke back in the ranks.
Claret and blue fans would snatch your hands off if your offered them a Villa goal on Sunday, if only to add to the worryingly low tally of just two goals at Villa Park this season. That might be all we can hope for.
Tottenham have had three different managers since we appointed Lambert but we’ve never quite managed to get the better of them, and given our recent form it seems unlikely this will change on Sunday.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
A decent atmosphere. Villa’s lack of confidence is a massive problem and nerves will be tested against a Spurs side desperate to make amends for their defeat to Newcastle. Given recent form (as well as the match being shown on TV) there could easily be a muted atmosphere which might play into Tottenham’s hands. As daft as it sounds, some early decent shots on target would also be most welcome, helping to get the fans behind the team during what could be another tough encounter. Lambert has called for Dortmund-esque fan support, so lets hope we see a performance that warrants it.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
All the focus will be on Villa’s woes but Tottenham are under-performing. Mauricio Pochettino’s recent criticism of the size of White Hart Lane’s pitch suggests that things possibly aren’t going the way he wants them to. With a Europa League match on Thursday, squad rotation might prove to be Spurs’ undoing. On the road Tottenham have only picked up one win from four so will be wary of a Villa team desperately hoping to stop the rot. Hopefully we can pick up a rare win against Spurs that leaves Pochettino searching for further excuses.
Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball
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