Aston Villa (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 28th November 2009


It is not every day that a team scored nine goals in the Premier League, so don't expect that to happen again too soon for Spurs.  And this game pits them against the side just below them and challenging for a fourth place finish come the end of the season.

Villa have been quietly picking up points following their opening day defeat at home to Wigan and have not been grabbing the headlines, but manager Martin O'Neill might prefer it that way, as it will alleviate the pressure on his side.  The Midlands club have suffered injury and loss of form for some players, but the core of the side has been restructured following Gareth Barry's move to Manchester City and Steve Sidwell, formerly a forgotten man, has come back in to link with James Milner in midfield to add some energy and strength.

UP front the team are reliant on Gabriel Agbonlahor's pace, with Heskey's battering ram strength not being so effective until he got back on the score sheet in the week following the international break.  With Jon Carew's height giving the front line a different dimension, his partnership with Agbonlahor has been the most profitable so far.  With Stewart Downing finally making his debut, he will be keen to show Spurs what they missed out on, but it is doubtful he would last the whole game.

With Nicky Shorey out of the picture, he has gone on loan to get some first team action at Nottingham Forest, leaving Stephen Warnock to fill the left back slot, while Luke Young continues at right back for his club if not country.  Carlos Cuellar has settled into the side and is a strong presence in the air at the back, while Richard Dunne has been more effective at the other end of the pitch recently, although is enjoying a change of scenery after a long time at Manchester City.  However, Robbie Keane often has good games against his Republic of Ireland team-mate and might enjoy the opportunity to pitch himself against Dunne.  Missing out is Curtis Davies, but Habib Beye, the former Newcastle defender can provide cover in the centre of defence.

Brad Friedel has been an outstanding keeper in his Premiership years, often having good performances against Spurs, but his positioning can sometimes come unstuck and for a big man, his footwork let's him down on crosses sometimes.  If Crouch is paired with Defoe again, following last week's win over Wigan, there could be some questions asked of the Villa defence.

As for Spurs, maybe Ledley King will be fit to return, with Woodgate alongside him and the midfield that sparkled so brightly last week, will have to make sure they shine again to provide the openings for the front two.

While a win would be what Tottenham need, I think Villa will work extra hard to make sure that Spurs don't get away from them in the table, thus giving a score-line of ...


PREDICTION : -  Aston Villa  1     Tottenham Hotspur   1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


ASTON VILLA :  -  Wilfred Bouma (out - toe); Curtis Davies (out - shoulder); James Collins (doubtful - groin);  - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Luka Modric (out - broken leg); Giovani dos Santos (out - ankle); Carlo Cudicini (out - broken wrist); Ledley King (out - hamstring); - (-);


ESPN - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.20 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:35 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Aston Villa   1   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Villa Park
Saturday 28th November 2009
Kick Off :  5.30 p.m.
Crowd :   39,866
Referee :  Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
Weather :  -  Chilly, rainy
Teams : - 
Aston Villa :

  1  Friedel

  2  L. Young
  5  Dunne
24  Cuellar
23  Beye

  7  A. Young
20  Reo-Coker  (  4  Sidwell 71)
10  Petrov
  8  Milner

  9  Carew  (18  Heskey 75)
11  Agbonlahor

Unused subs: 
22  Guzan
47  Clarke
  6  Downing
16  Delph

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto
19  Bassong
20  Dawson  (c) 
22  Corluka

  6  Huddlestone     
21  Kranjcar    (10  Keane 78)
12  Palacios  (  8  Jenas 66)
  7  Lennon  

18  Defoe
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
  2  Hutton
  5  Bentley

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Aston Villa

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Aston Villa

Agbonlahor 10

Tottenham Hotspur

Dawson 77

Cards : -  
Aston Villa



Tottenham Hotspur 

Huddlestone (foul)  82   


Match Report : -  
After the previous week's high scoring match, this was always going to be a tighter affair, with Villa out to prove that they can match Tottenham's ambitions for a fourth place finish and so it was to be confirmed, with the points shared after each team taking one half of the game apiece too.

With a sloppy performance in the first half, Tottenham were punished in a way they weren't last week.  Some loose control and under-weight passing had already seen Tottenham struggle to hold onto the ball before a set-piece brought Villa a home goal.  A high percentage of the Midlands club's goals have come from corners or free-kicks, with Young's pacy delivery into the near post seeing Cuellar get to the ball first and his header was blocked by Benny Assou-Ekotto's chest on the goal-line.  The ball bounced off into the six yard box and while Wilson Palacios and Michael Dawson tried to hold off Gabriel Agbonlahor, the Villa striker was strong-arming his way between them to get the vital touch that bundled the ball over the goal-line to give the home side a 10th minute lead.

Even before that though, despite Spurs' lackadaisical passing, they went close in the fourth minute, as the ball was laid back into Kranjcar's path by BAE and the Croatian struck a fierce shot as a tackle came in and the force of his drive knocked Friedel off balance, as the keeper tipped it over the bar.  Following their goal, the quick ball wide seemed designed to earn corner after corner, with Crouch and Huddlestone being the prime headers away of the ball.

But a 20th minute free-kick almost brought Tottenham back into the match.  Huddlestone's effort bounced into the penalty area off the wall and Jermaine Defoe missed a good connection on the volley, but the ball came off Friedel to Michael Dawson, whose first time shot was slid off the line by Carlos Cuellar.  Then seven minutes after, a patient spell of passing saw Tom Huddlestone shoot, but a deflection off Reo-Coker made the Villa keeper hurry back to tip the effort over the top before a minute later and following some more good possession on the right, Palacios played a ball in for Jermain to strike on the turn but his volley flew inches over the top.

Kranjcar fired goal-wards from distance after his free-kick came back to him off the wall, but Friedel was right behind it and Dawson tried to loop in a header from a corner, but once more the Villa goalie saved comfortably.  So, although it wasn't the greatest half by Spurs, they still had more clearer chances than the home team, but did not look that likely to score.

The rain started falling in the second half and as the raindrops fell, so did the ball to Tottenham feet.  The second period saw Spurs dominate possession and create most of the meaningful chances.  Just three minutes in, Kranjcar played a hard pass up to Crouch, who flicked the ball back through his legs in the air for Kranjcar to smash a shot towards the right hand side of the goal, until Friedel flung himself full-length to push the ball wide.

While Villa did get forward in the second 45, their crosses flew across goal with nobody on the end of them and at the back, they were desperately throwing themselves in the way of shots to prevent Tottenham getting back in the match.

In the 66th minute, some good inter-play opened up a shooting opportunity for Niko Kranjcar again and Richard Dunne got just enough on it to take it wide for a corner, which was played in and Sebastien Bassong tried an overhead kick, which went too high.  With 18 minutes left, the ball was engineered through to Hud in the box.  He took a touch, turned and side-footed a shot to Friedel's left and he saved, but as the rebound was headed away by substitute Sidwell, Defoe ran in charged the ball down and slotted home.  However, referee Phil Dowd saw it was Defoe's arm that brought the ball down and disallowed the goal.

But still Tottenham poured forward and the Villa closing down, which had been so effective in the first half, ebbed away with the waves of rain that lashed Villa Park.  With Carew taken off and Heskey brought on to try to keep the ball at the Tottenham end, Spurs equalised within a minute.  A corner was knocked on at the near post by Crouch and Defoe got on the end of it only to see Dunne stop his shot on the line.  Play continued and Benoit played the ball back in, with Dunne clearing, but it only went as far as captain Michael Dawson, who chested the ball down and rifled it into the top of the net past Friedel's despairing dive.  It was a fine finish and one not usually associated with Daws, but it was a goal that had been coming and one which sparked a late charge for all three points.

With Keane on for Kranjcar, Aaron Lennon was getting into the game more and with just four minutes remaining, he ghosted past Luke Young on the right wing and played in a cross low to the waiting Defoe.  Like last week, the striker got their first, but a challenge by Beye did just enough to deny him another goal. 

Into added time, all the good work Tottenham had done was nearly wiped away, as a cross from the left by Ashley Young was flicked on by Heskey and the ball headed towards the far top corner, with Gomes not looking like he would get it, but the ball went six inches over the bar and Tottenham drew a breath of relief.  Play switched straight to the other end and Jermain Defoe found some space to turn away from his marker and crack a low drive that went inches wide of Freidel's left hand post.

The final whistle signalled an end to the game and a soggy 22 players trooped off knowing that they had kept up their challenge at the top, but ruing the fact that three points would have given one of them a major step up.  With the way Tottenham played in the second half, it is a marked improvement in the way the team had operated away from the Lane, so gives a lot of hope for future points being collected in away games against lesser sides than Villa.

arthur chance





Fan Reaction : -



Wyart Lane's report on the game can be found at the Times Online Fanzine Fanzone by clicking here.
Once more Spurs fail to win against one of the challengers for a top four place, but perhaps they used up a lot of their goals last week.  Brad Friedel always plays well against us and always has, so it was going to take something special to beat him.  While Defoe had a few chances, his shots were off target, so it was lucky for us that Daws had his shooting boots on. 

Whatever went in last week was kept out this week - either by the keeper or the defenders, who threw themselves in the way as if their life depended on it.  We will have to get used to this tactic, as teams set themselves up to prevent our attacking abilities doing damage.

east stan

With the way Spurs started the game, you might have thought that they expected to roll over Villa as easily as Wigan, but they obviously responded to Harry Redknapp's half-time team-talk ... just as they did last week.

There were times in the second half, when it looked as though Spurs were the home side, as the claret and blue shirts were regularly running back towards their own goal.  Only a staunch defensive display by the home team stopped Tottenham getting what they deserved from the second half showing, but there are times when they need to be more deadly when the opportunities present themselves.

I know this sounds a bit odd after last week's demolition of Wigan, but the same applies to any team they face, as 9-1s will not come along as often as we might like.

purcell cole



Other League scores this weekend :
Blackburn Rovers 0 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Fulham 1 Bolton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Manchester City 1 Hull City 1 Saturday
Portsmouth 1 Manchester United 4 Saturday
West Ham United 5 Burnley 3 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 3 Sunday
Everton 0 Liverpool 2 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Birmingham City 1 Sunday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 14 12 0 2 36 8 36 +28
2 Manchester United 14 11 1 3 30 13 34 +17
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 14 8 2 4 33 19 26 +14
4 Arsenal 13 8 1 4 36 18 25 +18
5 Liverpool 14 7 2 5 31 20 23 +11
6 Aston Villa 14 6 5 3 22 14 23 +8
7 Manchester City 13 5 7 1 24 17 22 +7
8 Sunderland 14 6 2 6 21 20 20 +1
9 Stoke City 14 5 5 4 13 15 20 -2
10 Fulham 14 5 4 5 18 16 19 +2
11 Birmingham City 14 5 3 6 12 14 18 -2
12 Burnley 14 5 2 7 19 31 17 -12
13 Blackburn Rovers 15 5 3 7 16 28 17 -12
14 Wigan Athletic 14 5 2 7 15 31 17 -16
15 Hull City 15 4 4 7 17 31 16 -14
16 Everton 14 4 3 7 17 25 15 -8
17 West Ham United 14 3 5 6 24 26 14 -2
18 Bolton Wanderers 13 3 1 7 16 27 12 -11
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 14 2 4 8 12 27 10 -15
20 Portsmouth 14 2 1 11 11 23 7 -12



Position before the weekend :  4th
Position after the match :   3rd
Position after the weekend :   3rd

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