The battle for European football continues at Villa Park, as Tottenham travel to face Aston Villa. Champions League is gone for both clubs, but the contest to secure Europa League football continues. For Spurs, it is important to remain in European competition to ensure. However, the potential prize is more alluring for Villa, as it would be a return to continental football. Unai Emery is a specialist in the Europa League and it would be exciting for the home side to qualify for the competition. A win for the hosts will take them level on points with Spurs.
It has been a remarkable second half of the season for Aston Villa. Unai Emery came in when the team looked destined for mid table mediocrity, but they have forced themselves into the European fight. Although the last few weeks have been disappointing, they still have a chance to finish in the top seven and face several of the teams above them. Their fate is certainly in their own hands.
Tottenham are approaching a summer of change once again, with a new manager set to be appointed. Ryan Mason has injected some fresh impetus to the season though, with the team trying different tactical set-ups to the ones that became ingrained under Antonio Conte and Christian Stellini. This has given the fans something to get behind once more and they will be hoping that the team can take some momentum into the summer.
Aston Villa have not dropped points at home since they lost to Arsenal in February.
Tottenham’s clean sheet against Crystal Palace was their first in the Premier League since September.
It has been an incredible few months for Ollie Watkins, as he has been central to Aston Villa’s surge up the league table. There has been talk about an England recall and it would be deserved based on his recent form. The last couple of weeks have seen his goals dry up, but he will be the player that the team are relying on in the coming weeks. He has immediately suited the way Unai Emery wants the team to play. This season, he now has 14 goals and six assists in the Premier League, which is an impressive return. If he gets another goal, it would be his best goal-scoring season in the top flight. This underlines his development under Emery. If the Spaniard had been in charge for the entire season, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that he would have reached 20. Tottenham kept a clean sheet last week, but their defensive away record is a real worry. Watkins could return to the score-sheet this weekend.
There have been signs of life in the form of Son Heung-min in recent weeks, but Harry Kane remains the talisman of the current Tottenham team. He will be the player that Emery is worried about on Saturday. Even if Spurs are playing poorly, Kane is good enough to carry his team to a win. Last weekend, it was his winner that secured the victory against Crystal Palace. Erling Haaland has stolen the headlines this season due to his record-breaking goal-scoring form, but Kane has continued to consistently find the back of the net. He has scored 26 times in the Premier League and he will be desperate to reach 30 for only the second time in his career. It is within his reach, but he needs to end the campaign strongly.
Matty Cash is getting closer to a return, but he is unlikely to be risked this weekend. Diego Carlos is pushing for a recall after his own injury.
Clement Lenglet is a doubt for the weekend. Emerson Royal is back after his return last weekend. Yves Bissouma is also back from his injury. Hugo Lloris and Rodrigo Bentancur won’t be seen again this season.
This is a difficult match to call. A few weeks ago, and it would have looked like an obvious home win. However, Aston Villa have dropped their levels recently and Tottenham got back to winning ways last weekend. However, it remains to be seen how Spurs perform away from home. Their recent defensive performances on the road are a big concern. Villa should have enough to win this game.
Aston Villa 2-1 Tottenham