Tottenham have their first home game since the World Cup break as they welcome Aston Villa to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It is a big game for them, as they have been inconsistent during their last few matches. Antonio Conte will be pleased that his team fought back in their first match back, but to drop points was a disappointing. All of their rivals won, which increases the importance of Spurs winning this weekend.
The focus will be to finish in the top four. Tottenham need to stay in the Champions League to ensure they can continue to push on and continue their development under Conte. The Italian will want to challenge for major honours and won’t stay around unless the club match his ambition. There is still investment needed in the playing squad.
Aston Villa are undergoing their own rebuild under Unai Emery. It was hoped that Steven Gerrard would be the right coach to lead Villa back into continental competition. In hindsight, it was asking a lot for Gerrard to be that man. He was inexperienced, but that won’t be the same issue with Emery. He has done his best work with clubs of a similar size to Villa. Supporters will hope that he is given time to build Villa in his image. The early indications are positive as there has been a big improvement on the pitch.
Tottenham have beaten Aston Villa in 12 of their last 14 meetings.
Aston Villa have only won once on the road this season. That came in their last away match against Brighton.
There would have been some worry that Harry Kane would have a hangover after the World Cup. He missed the crucial penalty for England and that would have had a lasting impact on some players. However, he has an excellent mentality and he has returned to Tottenham in good form. He scored in his first match back with a well taken header. If Tottenham are to finish in the top four again, they will need Kane to play a leading role. He has now scored six headers in the Premier League, which is more than any player this season. People wouldn’t say that his aerial strength was one of his biggest, but this underlines the different threats he poses to an opposition team. His total for the season stands at 13. If Erling Haaland wasn’t in the league, his goal scoring would be getting spoken about a lot more.
Ollie Watkins looks to be in a better place following the break. There were concerns about his form when the Premier League stopped. Now, he seems to be in a good run of form, with three goals and an assist in his last five Premier League matches. It looks like Unai Emery has found the right balance to get the best from the striker. Against Liverpool, he was a constant threat and he managed to score. That will give him confidence ahead another Champions League side. His movement will cause Tottenham problems, as Spurs are not performing at the back.
Djed Spence and Cristian Romero are doubts for the weekend. Richarlison will remain out of action for another few weeks. Rodrigo Bentancur remains on the sidelines.
Emi Martinez could be back to play his first game since winning the World Cup. Jacob Ramsey and Diego Carlos are not available.
Aston Villa have been much improved under Unai Emery. This will be a difficult match for Tottenham. They need to play much better than they have been to get a win this weekend. Home advantage should be enough to see Spurs back to winning ways.
Tottenham 2-1 Aston Villa