Both Villa and Spurs lost two games in quick succession during the Christmas period and now they can see a gap opening between the top six sides and themselves.
Villa's 3-1 reversal at Derby County was a shocking result and one that saw the Villains' supporters increase their seemingly timeless attack on chairman Doug Ellis. Their main complaint is that he has not given adequate funds to manager John Gregory, though a simple totting up of the total cost of the Villa team suggests that maths is not the strength of the Holte End.
The 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool on Boxing Day was far more unfortunate, with the Reds scoring their opening goal thanks to a cruel deflection from referee Andy D'Urso. Such a vagary of fate enraged John Gregory so much that he was banished from the touchline and faces yet another FA inquiry.
Tottenham fans were left disgruntled on the second day of Christmas as Southampton exacted revenge for the loss of Glenn Hoddle and Dean Richards to north London with a 1-0 win at St Mary's. This followed a disastrous home defeat to Ipswich, a result that shattered much of the optimism surrounding White Hart Lane. surreySPORTS offer tempting odds of 5/4 on a third successive Tottenham loss.
When the two sides clashed on the opening day of the season the entertainment was hard to find in a 0-0 draw but when Villa and Spurs meet in Birmingham there are usually plenty of goals - 19 in the last six games. But it has been a long time since Spurs have journeyed back down the M1 with three points, more than 15 years in fact.
Tottenham are hoping that Teddy Sheringham's recent red card will be rescinded after referee Mike Riley has studied the video of the incident, as the England man is a key man in Hoddle's team and surreySPORTS make him 6/1 to score the opening goal at a ground at which he has enjoyed success before. Another defeat for Villa will see the pressure on the chairman and manager increase to perhaps an intolerable level.