A resurgent Harry Kane will be looking to get a goal or two, as Spurs take on a manager-less Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on Monday. The Spurs hitman quadrupled his 2015-16 goal count in the Premier League against Bournemouth last Sunday, with a hat-trick in a 5-1 demolition at Dean Court. Last season, the 22-year-old scored 34 times for club and country and is now hoping that his goal drought is over and the team can focus on firing themselves into the Champions League places with a win over the lowly Villa.
While Tottenham are mostly enjoying their football at the moment, Aston Villa are currently dealing with their manager situation. Tim Sherwood was sacked this week after failing to overcome Swansea in a 2-1 defeat, leaving them to languish at the bottom of the table. The woes continue, with former manager Paul Lambert commenting that expectations are too high at the Birmingham-based club.
Aston Villa are currently under the control of caretaker manager Kevin Macdonald, with rumours swirling around of David Moyes returning to the Premier League and more likely, of former Lyon manager Remi Garde joining the club. Sherwood may have taken Villa to the FA Cup Final last year, but after six-straight defeats in the league, it was time for him to leave. The Villans will be looking to put all of the drama behind them this time out, including another 2-1 defeat to Southampton in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night.
The two sides will be relatively unchanged going into the match, with Aston Villa unlikely to make any changes, needing a strong selection to take on an unbeaten Tottenham. Pochettino is still without Heung-Min Son and Nacer Chadli, but the ranks will be boosted by the news of a return from Ryan Mason. The England international made a brief appearance against Bournemouth, however, he is unlikely to fully return just yet. Kane has insisted he is almost 100% fit after a small problem with his knee, felt after the 0-0 draw with Liverpool.
1. Aston Villa is one of an elite group of seven clubs that has played in every Premiership season. Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are the other six.
2. Villa currently holds the record number of league goals scored by any team in the English top-flight – 128 goals were scored in the 1930-31 season.
3. The record fee Aston Villa have paid for a player was £18 million for Darren Bent from Sunderland in January 2011.
4. Villa legend Archie Hunter became the first player to score in every round of the FA Cup in Villa’s victorious 1887 campaign.
5. Aston Villa are one of four English Teams that have won the European Cup. They did so on 26 May 1982 beating Bayern Munich 1-0. The others are Liverpool, Manchester United and Nottingham Forest.
6. Charlie Aitken holds the record for the most appearances for Aston Villa – 657 between 1959–1976.
7. The club’s all time top-scorer is Billy Walker, who played for 20 years from 1919. He scored an impressive 244 goals in 531 appearances.
LEAGUE HEAD TO HEAD
11/04/2015 Premier League Tottenham Hotspur 0 – 1 Aston Villa
02/11/2014 Premier League Aston Villa 1 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
11/05/2014 Premier League Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 0 Aston Villa
20/10/2013 Premier League Aston Villa 0 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
24/09/2013 League Cup Aston Villa 0 – 4 Tottenham Hotspur
26/12/2012 Premier League Aston Villa 0 – 4 Tottenham Hotspur
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Eric Dier
Dier has been one of the biggest surprises of the season, stepping forward from his usual defensive role to a holding midfield berth in the absence of Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason.
The former Sporting Lisbon man has been arguably Spurs’ most consistent performer, a real testament of his versatility and more importantly his underlying ability to perform whenever needed. On Monday, he will undoubtedly feature again in Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield and he will be tasked with getting the better of Villa’s Idrissa Gueye, an extremely underrated figure.
ASTON VILLA: Idrissa Gueye
Gueye’s superb performances this season can be demonstrated by the fact that he has posted better averages than Dier in five key midfield categories.
The former Lille man averages more tackles, interceptions, defensive duels won, ball recoveries and accurate passes per Premier League fixture than his upcoming opponent.
Villa may be bottom of the table having suffered eight defeats in their last nine matches, yet they do possess some quality, with Gueye and left-back Jordan Amavi among their better performers.
My prediction is a 2-1 victory for the Spurs. Even without a couple of key players, Mauricio Pochettino’s men are looking very strong at the moment with their unbeaten run in the league. Aston Villa are still without a long-term manager and judging by their last six defeats in the league, Spurs should be able to glide past easily, however, the previous two times the sides have met each other the games have been close. This time Villa seem to be under a bit more pressure to win considering their position, but Tottenham will have that slight edge coming off the back of a 5-1 result the previous weekend.