Aston Villa – Tottenham (Premier League)
The clash between Aston Villa and Tottenham will be the only Premier League event for this Sunday. But it sure promises to be a treat for football fans. Face to face we will have two teams that enjoy playing on the offensive and both expect to gain pace towards their season’s ambitions. The moment is now.
Aston Villa occupies n.º 10 on the Premier League table. In seven matches they won 3, lost 3 and draw 1, an 0-0 against Hull City just before the International break. Their last defeat was almost a month ago, facing the Spurs for the Capital One Cup. In fact, both games involving the two sides ended with the same comprehensive victory for Tottenham: 0-4. Since then things evolved for Villa. Paul Lambert’s side was undefeated in their last 3 games and even managed to beat Manchester City (3-2) at Villa Park. Also, the Villains can argue that they have been without their main attack reference. But that is about to change. If Beneke is deemed fit he will play. And if he does Villa could turn back to their more familiar 4-3-3 system. If the forward is clear then everyone else will be at Paul Lambert’s disposal, except for Okore (knee) and N’Zogbia (achilles), long-term absentees.
Probable lineup: Guzan – Bacuna, Vlaar, Clark, Luna – El Ahmady, Westwood, Delph – Weimann, Agbonlahor, Benteke.
The Spurs come to Villa Park hoping to shake the 0-3 loss with West Ham. That was not on the program. They are 6th in the PL table with 13 points. If we include Europa League and the Capital One Cup it’s 12 games, 9 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. Not a bad track record. But the fight for the Premier League’s top four is tighter than ever before. The Spurs can’t afford to drop points loosely. The controversy for this match is André Villas-Boas striker of choice. Should he maintain Jermain Defoe or will he bring Roberto Soldado back to the starting XI? Both players score mainly within the box, relying on the service of their team-mates. But the Spaniard seems to have a more positive impact on the Spurs game, bringing others into the game and playing with his back to the goal. Andros Townsend made quite an impression on his debut for England, against Montenegro. He’s sure to be on Villas-Boas plans for Sunday. Danny Rose (toe) and Etienne Capoue (ankle) are out, Younes Kaboul is still in doubt. Winger Aaron Lennon is back in training after a two months absence with a foot injury. Most likely he will start on the bench.
Probable lineup: Lloris – Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton – Paulinho, Dembélé – Sigurdson, Eriksen, Townsend – Soldado.
When Villa and Tottenham go head-to-head the Londoners usually get out on top – they have not lose in any of the last 10 matches. Plus, in the latest Spurs visits to Villa Park, both with Villas-Boas as Manager, the squad scored 4 and conceded none. Will the three times is the charm apply or are the Villains prepared for a rematch?