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Villa 0-4 Spurs - Bale force inspires fine win

Gareth Bale led the way with a hat-trick as a dominant display yielded maximum points at Villa Park.

The first half was as one-sided a game as you'll see in an away team's favour in the Premier League and the only mystery was how it remained goalless at half-time, as a host of chances and possession at 70 per cent in our favour was left unrewarded.

That all changed once Jermain Defoe struck the key opening goal in the 57th minute and Bale took over from there with goals in the 61st, 73rd and 85th minutes to give the scoreline more of a reflection of the performance.

Andre Villas-Boas made two changes to Saturday's line-up against Stoke with William Gallas and Kyle Naughton returning for Steven Caulker and Michael Dawson. Naughton played left-back with Jan Vertonghen slotting back in centrally alongside Gallas.

We were soon on the front foot and Kyle Walker had the first effort of note in the 10th minute, a piledriver that flicked off Ciaran Clark and inches wide. The full-back's driving runs forward were a feature of the first half.

Brad Guzan produced a fine save to deny Bale 30 seconds later, a fingertip flick over at full stretch from a 25-yard curler destned for the top corner.

The goalkeeper had to be lively again to take Gallas' header from Walker's whipped in corner at the near post and then combined with Clark to block out Defoe, who had been sent clear by Emmanuel Adebayor.

Adebayor had the next two chances. The first from one of our many corners, meeting Bale's delivery from 12 yards, a header that Guzan took at the second attempt and then a snapshot from close range that Nathan Baker managed to block.

Villa's only real threat arrived in the 35th minute when Lowton's cross from the right byline was met by Brett Holman sliding in at the far post, but he couldn't turn the ball back on target.

Bale and Guzan crossed swords again five minutes before the break, Bale unleashing another fierce, swerving effort from 25 yards that Guzan managed to shovel away to his right.

Villa were forced into a change just before half-time, Steven Ireland on for Baker and Paul Lambert made another at half-time, introducing Marc Albrighton for Ashley Westwood.

The changes certainly added a bit more zip to the home side and they enjoyed their best spell of possession at the start of the second half, but only really had Lowton's effort from distance to show.

The breakthrough arrived in the 57th minute. The goal owed much to Naughton's perfectly-weighted pass, splitting a congested Villa defence to send Defoe clear and he made no mistake, sliding the ball under Guzan for 1-0.

It was 2-0 five minutes later as Defoe threatened to get away again, he was tackled but the ball fell to Bale, still some way from goal but clear. He sped into the box, skipped past Guzan and slotted home.

Scott Parker entered the fray for Mousa Dembele with 20 minutes left an it was soon 3-0 as Aaron Lennon cut in from the right and rolled a pass into the path of Bale, who controlled and arrowed his shot into the corner from 16 yards.

Defoe skied a good chance before Bale completed his hat-trick. Gylfi Sigurdsson, off the bench for Adebayor just five minutes earlier, cut the ball back from the right byline and Bale did the rest from 10 yards.

Villa (5-3-2): Guzan; Lowton, Herd, Clark, Baker (Ireland, 45), Bennett; El Ahmadi, Westwood (Albrighton, 46), Delph; Holman, Benteke. Unused subs: Given, Bowery, Bannan, Lichaj, Carruthers.

Spurs (4-4-2): Lloris; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton; Lennon, Dembele (Parker, 67), Sandro, Bale (Townsend, 85); Adebayor (Sigurdsson, 79), Defoe. Unused subs: Friedel, Caulker, Dawson, Livermore.

Goals: Spurs - Defoe (57), Bale (61, 73, 84).

Yellow cards: Villa - Delph.

Referee: Mr M Clattenburg.

Attendance: 36,863.