20th October 2013
Having picked up seven points from last three matches, Aston Villa can climb to the top half of the standings with at least one point from the Tottenham clash. Meanwhile, top 4 positions are still within reach for Spurs in spite of the shocking 3-0 defeat to West Ham, but this will feel as a must-win game for the visitors.
Paul Lambert produced quite a coup last season by steering youthful Aston Villa side clear of relegation zone even with many nominating his side as one of the main candidates for the drop. He then somehow persuaded in-demand Christian Benteke to remain at the club in spite of the huge interest from England’s top clubs, so nobody was really surprised by Villa’s promising start to the season. The opening victory over Arsenal at the Emirates was followed by three straight defeats, but the team then showed a lot of character to compensate for Benteke’s absence and picked up no less than seven points from last three league fixtures. Bar the goalless draw against Hull City, the Villans have been scoring and conceding goals for fun this term, and chances are we are about to see another high-scoring match. This time the hosts are brimming with confidence and are likely to have talismanic striker Christian Benteke back to the side, which should give them a good chance to get revenge on Tottenham for the 4-0 Capital One Cup. Charles N’Zogbia, Jonas Okore and Gary Gardner remain sidelined, but they are unlikely to be sorely missed.
Following the summer arrival of a number of world-class players at White Hart Lane, nobody is talking about Gareth Bale any more, but the main focus is rather on Andre Villas-Boas’ attempt to make his side gel as quickly as possible. And while the likes of Paulinho, Eriksen and Soldado have already nailed down regular starting berths and showed what they are capable of producing, some of the old guard have been impressive as well. New England hero Andros Townsend has clearly made the biggest breakthrough, making the place on the right wing his own and handing his manager a genuine selection headache now that fans’ favourite Aaron Lennon is back in contention. Meanwhile, Gylfi Sigurdsson has continued his rich vein of form and he is currently Spurs’ top scorer in the Premier League. However, while the team have done pretty well most of the time, the 3-0 home defeat to West Ham is enough to suggest that Spurs are still not at their best. With the tough game against Aston Villa next, Tottenham desperately need to rediscover their scoring touch if they are to continue their nine-match unbeaten run against the Villans (W6 D3), having bagged mere 6 goals so far.
Aston Villa are playing with a lot of confidence and seeing as how Christian Benteke is likely to return, the hosts can be trusted to make life difficult for their more illustrious opponents. Meanwhile, Spurs cannot keep firing blanks for much longer and I do expect them to score a couple at Villa Park.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 1.73 (8/11)