Aston Villa produced a strong performance to see off Tottenham Hotspur in London, in a game that saw senior debuts for Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this evening, the place where they first stepped foot on their return to the Premier League – hoping to fix recent poor form with Jack Grealish starting from the off.
A poor touch from Marvelous Nakamba allowed Steven Bergwijn through on goal, with the Dutchman able to strike powerfully into the roof of the net from close range in the seventh minute.
Aston Villa took the game from the scruff of the neck from this point onwards, putting pressure on and having a number of attempts on goal – but rarely testing Hugo Lloris.
In the 20th minute, however, the scores were level. Marvelous Nakamba attempted a crossed ball to Ollie Watkins, whish Reguilon attempted to clear – instead slicing the ball and volleying it backwards into his own net.
From this point, Aston Villa were in control.
Seven minutes before half-time, Ollie Watkins scored again in North London. Another mistake from Reguilon, who attempted to clear the ball and ended up bouncing it against Bertrand Traore. The ball nestled at Ollie Watkins’ feet, who still had a lot to do, before the forward struck towards the bottom right of Lloris’ goal and found the net.
Anwar El Ghazi had the opportunity to further extend Aston Villa’s lead in added time at the end of the first half, finding himself in acres of space but scuffing his shot high and wide after excellent work from John McGinn and Ollie Watkins first created the chance.
There was another chance in the final minute of added time too, as Tottenham looked at sixes and sevens. Ollie Watkins found himself with a shooting opportunity that was saved by the legs of Lloris, before the forward scrambled again for the ball but couldn’t quite get a shot off.
The sides went in at the break with the Villans ahead.
[ Half time XG: Tottenham Hotspur (0.14 xG) – (0.78 xG) Aston Villa ]
Aston Villa started the second half strongly, but it was Tottenham Hotspur that came closest to scoring in the opening five minutes. Martinez looked to be in no-mans land after a goalmouth scramble, but the Argentinian ‘keeper managed to scramble back into a central position to deny Bergwijn a second goal, before Tyrone Mings blocked a rebound attempt from Dele Alli.
Five minutes later, and Tottenham had another attempt as Kane found Bergwijn again – but Martinez was wise to the shot and denied it the Dutchman from scoring again.
Aston Villa found some of their momentum again as the game edged closer to the hour mark, but that didn’t mean that Tottenham Hotspur were going to go down with a whimper.
There was a chance for Ollie Watkins to make it three in the 65th minute as he found himself one-on-one with Hugo Lloris, but the forward couldn’t get his feet right to beat the Frenchman who got down low early. Watkins would have been called offside regardless.
The 71st minute saw Gareth Bale enter play, replacing Bergwijn, while Douglas Luiz would replace Jack Grealish in the same minute. Two minutes later, and Tanguy Ndombele replaced Harry Winks for Tottenham Hotspur.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, Japhet Tanganga was stretchered off and replaced by Matt Doherty after picking up an injury in a tussle with Anwar El Ghazi. Aston Villa at this point struggled to get out of their own half.
On the 88th minute, 17-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka would arrive onto the pitch to make his Aston Villa debut, replacing Marvelous Nakamba.
Another debut would follow, with four minutes of added time remaining. Jaden Philogene-Bidace would arrive onto the pitch, replacing Bertrand Traore.
Carney Chukwuemeka almost scored a debut goal with a shot from outside of the box in the 94th minute, with his attempt trickling past Lloris and onto the post.
[ Full Time XG: Tottenham Hotspur (0.96xG) – (1.59 xG) Aston Villa ]