Tottenham Hotspur play host to one of their former managers on Saturday. Tim Sherwood brings his Villa side to the ground he called home last season as his side look to strengthen their campaign for Premier League survival. Pochettino and his men meanwhile are 7 points off a Champions League spot, but with the Manchester Derby this weekend it is an opportunity to close the gap on one of those sides. The disappointment of a draw against Burnley will be fresh in the Spurs’ players’ minds and it would be wise to expect they are looking to remedy that on Saturday. Aston Villa picked up a huge point in the end against QPR courtesy of a Christian Benteke hat-trick. Sitting in 16th with two teams below them holding games in hand is not a position Sherwood wants his side in at this time of the season. Spurs away may not be a fixture that Villa are expected to pick up 3 points in on their run in, a draw could be a bonus to their target, however, Spurs aren’t the toughest outfit going and Sherwood may personally want massive confidence boosting victory against the side that ousted him.
Tottenham fans will be hoping that first choice centre-back Jan Vertonghen can make his recovery in time for the visit of Aston Villa. The Belgian defender missed the trip to Burnley through illness. Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris looks set to miss out again as will right-back Kyle Walker. Kyle Walker went off injured against Burnley with what was feared to be a broken foot. Tottenham are confident it is not a break but it is highly unlikely he’ll be back in time for Saturday’s game. Lloris is set to continue to miss out having not recovered from his knee injury in time for the fixture.
Besides long term absentees Chris Herd (8 weeks) and Libor Kozak (TBC) Villa could be crossing a few names off the injury list for the visit to the capital on Saturday. Scott Sinclair, Ashley Westwood, Philippe Senderos, Alan Hutton and Ali Cissokho are all set to return from injury in two days. Whether that is enough time for each of those players to make the match day squad is unlikely, however, the return of names like Hutton and Senderos will be welcomes after their side’s defence conceded 3 goals against QPR midweek. With Benteke starting to find the net again Villa will need their strongest defence possible to keep the goals out of their end and keep them in the Premier League.
- Spurs are unbeaten at White Hart Lane against Villa in their last 5 visits
- The last time Villa managed to pick up 3 points at White Hart Lane was September 2008
- Villa haven’t even scored at White Hart Lane since October 2010
- Spurs have won all of their last 5 Premier League games against Villa scoring 2 or more in each game.
- White Hart Lane is the highest scoring stadium in the league this season with 51 goals
- Spurs were 2-1 winners when they met earlier this season at Villa Park.
- Jermain Defoe, Rafael Van Der Vaart, Dion Dublin and Stan Collymore all scored 4 goals in this Premier League fixtures, the most scored by players in this fixture.
Tottenham Hotspurs: Christian Eriksen
Harry Kane’s breakout season aside, Christian Eriksen has been the key performer for Spurs this season. The Ajax youth product has stepped up and displayed the class that made him one of the most coveted young talents in Europe when Spurs signed him. The 9 goals he has picked up are a tangible assessment of his season, but he is much more than goals. His poise and intelligence on the ball puts him in the upper bracket of top performers in the League, especially considering he only recently turned 23. A danger from set-pieces, comfortable on the ball and an eye for goal, all the attributes you want from your chief creative officer on the pitch. With his goals having dried up in recent weeks I’d expect Eriksen to put in a big performance against Villa after Spurs disappointing result against Burnley last week. The biggest worry for Spurs is that if Eriksen keeps performing as he can they are going to face transfer bids from some of Europe’s elite like they have for their key stars in the past.
Aston Villa: Christian Benteke
When you net a hat-trick that earns your side a point against relegation rivals, who else can be considered key man but you? I have said for weeks, whether Villa stay up or not will depend on if they can get Benteke regularly finding the net again. Well he now has 4 in his last 2 games. The only problem is in those two games Villa have picked up 1 point. Benteke is now holding up his end of the bargain with 7 goals in his last 5 matches. It is up to rsst of the squad to do their bit now. Benteke can now score from here till the season is over but it will all be in vein if his team mates don’t pull their weight as well by keeping the opposition out. Against a side like Tottenham is expected Villa won’t have as many chances as they did against QPR, when do come they need someone to take them and Benteke is that man. If he can put away just one of his chances then his side could end up picking up another invaluable point on their road to Premier League security.
Spurs should be looking to bounce back from the draw away at Burnley. For a team that had goals of Champions League qualification not picking up a win against two relegation candidates would be criminal. However, anything is possible if Christian Benteke can continue on from where he left off against QPR midweek. The Belgians hat trick could prove pivotal in Villas survival hopes and he is a striker of enough quality to score against any opposition, look no further than his striker against United at Old Trafford last week. For me it’s hard to believe Spurs attack could take another week off against a defence that is as exposed at Villas, Kane will want immediately back on the score sheet and players like Christian Eriksen should be able to create those opportunities.
2-1 Tottenham win