Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to close down the gap to the top four when they face off against Aston Villa this weekend at the Villa Park.
Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches across all competitions when they travel to the Villa Park to lock horns against relegation battlers Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Jose Mourinho’s men haven’t been playing the best of football, but have managed to string together a positive run of results, winning four of their last six games in all competitions (D2). Their most recent fixture ended in a lucky 3-2 win against Southampton in the FA Cup.
Tottenham are currently in the sixth place in the Premier League table, four points below fourth-placed Chelsea. With the Blues scheduled to play fellow top four rivals Manchester United on Monday, Spurs will be hoping to make the most of it, by grabbing an important victory this weekend.
Aston Villa are fighting for survival in the English top-flight. Dean Smith’s side are 17th in the table currently, following their 2-1 defeat to fellow strugglers Bournemouth earlier this month. The Villans are just a point above the drop zone and will need to put together a run of good results to pull away from the relegation battle at the earliest.
The reverse fixture, played on the opening day of the season, saw Tottenham beat Aston Villa 3-1. And ahead of their latest meeting at Villa Park this weekend, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Dean Smith has a few injury issues heading into the game against Tottenham, with star midfielder John McGinn ruled out along with Keinan Davis, both of whom are expected to return to action next month. Tom Heaton and Wesley are out for the season, while Jed Steer is also sidelined for Villa.
But, there is some good news with Ezri Konsa and Danny Drinkwater being fit for the weekend encounter. Smith has opted to set his team up with a three-man backline in recent games and is expected to stick with the same when Spurs come visiting this weekend.
January signing Pepe Reina ought to start between the sticks for Villa, shielded by a three-pronged centre-back unit of the fit-again Konsa, along with Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause. Frederic Guilbert and Matt Targett ought to occupy the wing-back slots on the right and left sides respectively, providing the width going forward for the hosts.
With no McGinn, Villa are once again likely to field a two-man midfield unit of Marvelous Nakamba and Douglas Luiz, with Drinkwater also a potential option at the manager’s disposal.
Villa captain Jack Grealish, who has been linked with a summer move away, will line up on the left flank and look to cause problems cutting in from the wing. Anwar El Ghazi will take up the spot on the opposite side while Mbwana Samatta, who scored on his Premier League debut against Bournemouth, will spearhead the Villa attack.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Reina; Konsa, Mings, Hause; Guilbert, Luiz, Nakamba, Targett; El Ghazi, Samatta, Grealish
Tottenham have three confirmed absentees for their trip to Aston Villa with Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Juan Foyth all being ruled out. Erik Lamela is a doubt for the game with a groin injury, but Ben Davies is back in training, handing Mourinho a boost, while Giovani Lo Celso is also fit and ready to return after missing the cup tie against Southampton.
Mourinho is expected to set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation against Villa, with Hugo Lloris manning the goal. Serge Aurier is a certainty at right-back, while Japhet Tanganga is likely to be retained at left-back despite Davies’ return to fitness. Toby Alderweireld, back after the birth of his second child this week, should partner Davinson Sanchez at the heart of the Tottenham defence.
Harry Winks ought to be the deepest of the three midfielders for Tottenham ahead of Eric Dier, who is being linked with a transfer away from the club. The fit-again Lo Celso should start on Sunday and provide the creativity going forward for Tottenham, while the third slot in the middle of the park should be taken up by Tanguy Ndombele.
Dele Alli is unlikely to be involved as Mourinho might look to take him out of the firing line following his recent post on social media, for which he is under investigation by the FA.
January signing Steven Bergwijn made immediate impact on arrival, scoring on his Premier League debut against Manchester City. Having missed the FA Cup clash against Southampton, the Dutchman should return to the starting XI, slotting in on the left flank. Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min the obvious starters in the remaining two slots.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Tanganga; Lo Celso, Dier, Ndombele; Moura, Son, Bergwijn
- In all competitions, Tottenham have won 10 of their last 11 meetings with Aston Villa, losing the other 0-1 at White Hart Lane in April 2015.
- Aston Villa are winless in their last eight Premier League home games against Spurs (D2 L6), losing each of the last four in a row.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 22 Premier League away games against promoted sides (W18 D4) since a 0-1 loss at QPR in April 2012.
- Jack Grealish has created 63 chances for his teammates in the Premier League this season, more than double that of any other Aston Villa player.
- Tottenham have had fewer shots on target (110) than they have faced (125) in the Premier League this season – the last time they faced more than they had in a single season in the competition was in 2003-04 (194-179).
Player to Watch
The 22-year-old completed a high-profile transfer from PSV Eindhoven to Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window and has wasted little time in making his presence felt at his new club. Making his Premier League debut against reigning champions Manchester City, Bergwijn played a pivotal role as Tottenham won 2-0, scoring the opening goal for his team.
With that goal, Bergwijn became became the 250th player to score on his Premier League debut. No player from Netherlands has managed to score in their first two appearances in the competition and the 22-year-old will be hoping to make that record to his name when Tottenham visit Villa this weekend.
Aston Villa 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Aston Villa find themselves involved in the relegation scrap having won just two of their last six Premier League games. However, five of their seven league wins this season have come at home and they will back themselves to get a positive result on their home turf.
Tottenham, on the other hand, are unbeaten in six games in all competitions, which has helped them move close to the top four in the table. However, Spurs’ form away from home hasn’t been the best, with the North Londoners failing to win their last three fixtures on the road making Sunday’s contest will be a difficult one to call.
However, Jose Mourinho’s men are likely to be in high spirits after back to back wins against Manchester City and Southampton, which is why The Hard Tackle is predicting a narrow victory for Tottenham on their visit to Villa Park.