Vinicius and Kane give us key win at Villa - match report and debrief
Aston Villa 0-2 Spurs
Sun 21 March 2021, 21:31|Tottenham Hotspur
A goal in each half saw us return to winning ways at Villa Park on Sunday night as our 2-0 win over Aston Villa moved us up to sixth in the Premier League table, just three points off fourth spot.
Carlos Vinicius – on the week of his 26th birthday - set us on our way with his first Premier League goal and victory was secured midway through the second half when Harry Kane converted a penalty, his 17th goal in the league this season.
Perhaps there was a slight hangover from the disappointing defeats in our previous two away games as we struggled to find much rhythm to our play in the early stages and the home side were initially the better team. But the closest they came to scoring was when Matt Targett stretched at the back post to meet Bertrand Traore’s deep cross, with Japhet Tanganga clearing the danger. Instead, we took the lead in the 29th minute with the first shot of the game, Kane and Lucas Moura combining with the latter squaring a lovely pass for Vinicius to tap home from close range. In fact, Villa didn’t have a shot at goal throughout the entire first half, the first time they had suffered such a fate since April, 2014.
Kane went close three minutes after the break but his curling effort flicked off Tyrone Mings and flew inches wide, while Villa tested Hugo Lloris for the first time in the 58th minute with a low drive from John McGinn. We doubled the lead from the penalty spot 10 minutes later after Kane had been fouled by Matty Cash close to the byline and our England forward stepped up to send Emiliano Martinez the wrong way from 12 yards.
That goal certainly made it an easier game for us to manage and we almost added a third but Martinez saved well from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s fierce drive. At the other end, Villa didn’t cause us too many problems, the most dangerous attempt coming six minutes from time when substitute Ross Barkley’s effort from the edge of the area was heading in until Tanganga slid in and diverted the ball wide.
Slow start, strong finish
Although we took a while to get going on Sunday evening, the goals came at good times for us and allowed us to see out the game without too many troublesome moments. Villa were hoping to capitalise against a team that might have been low in confidence following the disappointing Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb three days earlier and they started brightly, but for all of their possession in the opening 25 minutes, they didn’t pose too much of a goal threat.
It might have been against the run of play, but the opening goal was excellent in its creation. Martinez had rushed off his line to thwart Vinicius initially but Lucas beat Cash to the loose ball and found Kane, he returned the ball to Lucas who had continued his run and his square pass across the six yard box was tapped into an empty net by Vinicius. Just before the break, a corner was punched clear by Martinez to Tanguy Ndombele just outside the area and although he sliced his volley, it looped up and just cleared the crossbar on its way down. And we so nearly made it 2-0 in the 48th minute with Kane’s deflected effort flying just wide.
At the other end, Morgan Sanson’s cross from the left fell to Trezeguet but Joe Rodon was in the right place to scoop away his shot at goal and, as Villa recycled the ball back into the box, McGinn hit a low shot which Lloris gathered low to his right.
Anwar El Ghazi hit a fierce drive which had Lloris concerned but the ball hit the side-netting, before we scored the vital second goal which effectively wrapped up the points. Kane chased a pass from Lucas towards the byline and, although he stepped over the ball without touching it, Cash slid in and caught the striker, with referee Mike Dean immediately pointing to the spot. Kane made no mistake from 12 yards with his 160th Premier League goal. Defensively, we held firm and didn’t really give Villa a sniff of a chance, seeing out the remaining minutes to pick up three vital points which moves us right back into the top four equation.
Another win over Villa
In all competitions, this was our 12th victory in our last 13 matches against Aston Villa, only losing once in April, 2015.
Vinicius has now scored nine goals in nine starts for us in all competitions and this was his 10th goal in total. Kane has now had 30 goal involvements in the Premier League this season, with 17 goals and 13 assists. He is now the joint top scorer in the competition this campaign, along with Mo Salah, and is out on his own for most assists.
Team news saw Jose Mourinho make four changes to the team that started our last Premier League fixture at Arsenal last weekend as Tanganga, Rodon, Giovani Lo Celso and Vinicius came in for Matt Doherty, Toby Alderweireld, Gareth Bale and Heung-Min Son. It was Vinicius’ second start in the Premier League. Alderweireld and Serge Aurier missed out through illness.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'Harry Kane and Vinicius, they were our two best defenders'
Jose told Spurs TV at Villa Park: "In the first half, speaking with the analysts at half-time, it was clear - zero shots on target conceded. The game was totally in control, and it was totally in control because Harry Kane and Vinicius, they were our best two defenders. The team was always high, pressing high, compact and not playing amazingly well, but we were always in control, even when the opponent had the ball.
"The second half, the feeling was, okay, they had a reaction, a couple of crosses, they played more direct, they had a couple of shots that were blocked, Hugo had one simple save, but the feeling was the game was always under control, the team was always a team, the effort was always there... Lucas, Vinicius, Harry, they never stopped pressing high, the guys in midfield working hard, people with cramp going until the last seconds."
Aston Villa 0-2 Spurs
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings (c), Targett, Sanson (Barkley 66), Luiz, McGinn, Traore (El Ghazi 60), Watkins, Trezeguet (Davis 79). Substitutes (not used): Heaton, Taylor, Nakamba, Engels, El Mohamady, Ramsey.
Spurs (4-3-1-2): Lloris (c), Tanganga, Rodon, Sanchez, Reguilon (Davies 57), Hojbjerg, Ndombele (Sissoko 81), Lo Celso (Bergwijn 66), Lucas, Vinicius, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Dier, Dele, Devine, Bale, Scarlett.
Goals: Spurs – Vinicius 29, Kane 68 (pen).
Yellow cards: Aston Villa – Cash, McGinn, Targett; Spurs – Lo Celso, Vinicius.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Venue: Villa Park.
Weather: Light cloud, light winds, five degrees.