Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Both sides for this Sunday lunchtime kick-off are very much in “need the points” mode, as Aston Villa sit just a point above the relegation spots while Spurs are four behind the Champions League places. In a big week for the visitors, which sees them back in European action before a huge match with Chelsea next weekend, a result here would be more than welcome for Jose Mourinho’s side.
They’ll have to battle to get it: Villa have their own reasons for seeking the win here, and they’ve shown a fighting spirit recently that has won them a place in the League Cup final as well as picking up some vital points in the battle against the drop. Last time out, though, they lost a six-pointer against Bournemouth. The Villans’ focus will need to be firmly trained on winning, or at least taking a point, here.
Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Such has been the inconsistency of most of the Premier League’s clubs this season that this game is seriously difficult to predict. Spurs are on a six-game unbeaten run – their longest all season. Great. That that run includes draws at Watford and Southampton, however, tells the story that they’re not the force they once were. Villa, for their part, have played three games in their last four against sides around them in the relegation battle. One was won, one drawn and one lost – so a lot depends on which version of Aston Villa turns up this weekend – and a draw seems entirely possible here.
Our recommended tip: Draw
There is a definite feeling that Jose Mourinho is most comfortable when he can lay a trap for an opponent and watch them walk into it. The recent smash-and-grab 2-0 win over Manchester City, in which the London side barely attacked for most of the match, is a case in point. When the expectation is on Spurs to take the game to an opponent – which it will be here – they suddenly look very ordinary, and can be dragged into losing points. Unibet have 14/5 on the draw here, a result that would suit Villa, and is more than a realistic proposition.
Back in August, Villa played their first Premier League game for three years, facing a Spurs side that had recently finished runner-up in the Champions League. On the day, Villa took an early lead, John McGinn finishing on nine minutes. Tottenham, at that time managed by Mauricio Pochettino, remained behind for most of the game until Tanguy Ndombele marked his full debut with a goal on 73. Just as Villa thought they would escape this tough away fixture with a point, Harry Kane struck twice in the closing four minutes to secure all three for the hosts.
Top 3 Premier League Bookies
Players to watch: Jack Grealish & Japhet Tanganga
With Euro 2020 on the horizon, Grealish will be fully aware that a good finish to the season might be enough to see him involved in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the finals. The midfielder has been a huge factor in Villa’s positive return to the top flight; he’s always been useful on the ball, but has added steel in the defensive phases of his game and matured all-round as a footballer. With McGinn out through injury, Grealish might have shown signs of strain, but if anything, he’s blossomed in his midfield partner’s absence.
Tanganga is a product of the Spurs youth system, and has been given his full debut by Jose Mourinho. He must be pretty decent, then, because Mourinho is entirely allergic to the kind of risk that comes with throwing youngsters into the side. In fairness, the Hackney-born full-back shows every sign of being up to the challenge, having filled a problematic berth in the side that had become synonymous with Serge Aurier’s comedy carousel of ill-chosen passes out of defence.