Tottenham Hotspur must be confident of continuing their strong start to the season with a win against manager-less Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on Monday (20:00 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
Spurs have looked very solid so far this season and come into Monday’s match undefeated in league play since their opening-day defeat to Manchester United. They are sixth in the Premier League table with 17 points from four wins, five draws and a single defeat.
Tottenham recorded a 5-1 win away to Bournemouth last Sunday. Their hosts took an early lead, but Spurs fought back quickly and went in 3-1 up at the break thanks to goals from Harry Kane (pictured), Moussa Dembele and Erik Lamela. Kane completed his hat-trick with two further strikes after the break to round off a convincing performance and victory.
Spurs finished fifth last season despite having the fifth worst defensive record in the Premier League. But this season their defensive solidity has been one of their strong points. The arrival of Toby Alderweireld and the deployment of Eric Dier as a powerful shield in front of the back four have contributed to them conceding a league-joint-best eight goals to date.
The attack has continued to produce a similar output to last season despite the fact that Kane, last year’s top scorer with 21 league goals, scored just once during their first nine matches of the new campaign. They have lacked a little incisiveness at times but are yet to get an extended run out of summer signing Heung-Min Son, who has the ability to fix that.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino is unable to call upon the injured Son (foot), Alex Pritchard (ankle), Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Nacer Chadli (ankle). Federico Fazio (hamstring) is unlikely to play.
Aston Villa parted company with manager Tim Sherwood last weekend after picking up just a single point from their previous nine league matches. They are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table with four points from one win, a draw and eight defeats.
The Villans suffered their fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions with a 2-1 loss away to Southampton in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. It was a fairly bright performance, particularly during the first half, but one that brought no reward as two well-taken goals from their hosts rendered Scott Sinclair’s late penalty worthless in the larger picture.
Kevin Macdonald took temporary charge of the team for that match and will do so once more against Spurs as the club continues their search for a new manager. Former Lyon man Remi Garde is the favourite, although his potential arrival has been delayed by a dispute with the French club. That centres on his desire to take two of his former assistants with him to Villa Park.
Whoever takes on the role will inherit a side who have conceded nearly twice as many goals as they have scored this season, albeit one whose underlying statistics suggest that they have been a tad unlucky to have done so. The squad is not exactly packed with talent but better organisation and a reversal of fortune would at least bring about some improvement.
Macdonald has no confirmed injury absentees for this game, although both Joleon Lescott (knock) and Micah Richards (knock) are doubtful.
Our Preview’s Spurs v Aston Villa Betting Tips
Villa triumphed 1-0 in last season’s equivalent fixture after Spurs had won 2-1 in the earlier meeting at Villa Park. Tottenham have a very strong record against Villa in recent years, having won eight of the last 10 league meetings between the sides. Indeed, they had been undefeated against them in 13 encounters in all competitions prior to that 1-0 defeat in April.
Spurs have started the season well and look well placed to challenge for a top-four finish, particularly so in light of Chelsea’s early-season struggles. They are playing with great assurance in Pochettino’s second season at the helm and have a sufficient quality advantage at both ends of the pitch to suggest the three points should be theirs in this game.
Aston Villa’s season has taken the exact opposition trajectory to that of their hosts. They won on the opening day of the campaign but have not done so since, and find themselves bottom of the league, already four points from safety. They were fairly bright against Southampton in midweek but it is difficult to see them getting anything from their trip to White Hart Lane.
We therefore expect Spurs to record a relatively comfortable victory.
- Back Tottenham Hotspur to win to nil @ best odds of 11/8 with SkyBet.
- Kane got himself back amongst the goals with a hat-trick last weekend and can be fancied to end his lean spell at White Hart Lane by finding the back of the net against a side he scored against in Tottenham’s 2-1 win at Villa Park last season. Back Harry Kane to score at anytime @ best odds of 20/21 with Bet365.