Back to winning ways in the Premier League with victory over Villa - report and reaction
Spurs 2-1 Aston Villa
Sun 03 October 2021, 15:59|Tottenham Hotspur
We returned to winning ways in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon with a hard-fought but well-deserved victory over Aston Villa at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Having suffered three straight defeats in the division, we got back on track with a solid team performance and thanks to a strike from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and an own goal from Matt Targett.
After a lively opening period, the deadlock was broken in the 27th minute as Hojbjerg received Son’s pass and provided a wonderfully-composed finish from the edge of the area into the bottom corner.
Both sides were showing real endeavour in what was an entertaining game, full of intensity and although we had restricted the visitors to no shots on target in the first half, they levelled on 68 minutes when Ollie Watkins converted Targett’s cross.
But we hit back three minutes later to regain our lead as Son raced clear down the left and delivered a perfect low cross which Lucas Moura and Targett challenged for at the far post, the final touch coming off the Villa man. There were spells of Villa pressure late on but we managed the game superbly in the closing stages to record three big points ahead of the international break.
A big win back on home soil
There was a real intensity to the game with both sides committed in the tackle as each tried to win the midfield battle, although there were few chances of note in the opening half of the first period.
It wasn’t until the 22nd minute that the first chance came, Harry Kane firing well over but he went so close a few minutes later. Tanguy Ndombele was fouled by Douglas Luiz just inside the Villa half and Kane hit a quick free-kick which needed a save at full stretch from Emiliano Martinez. Son then dragged a shot wide but we were ahead just after. Hojbjerg started the move, picking the ball up on half-way and feeding Son down the right, and when he received a return pass just outside the area, the Danish international took a touch and applied a measured finish into the bottom corner.
Villa applied pressure with a string of balls into our box from corners, set-pieces and long throws, but we dealt well with them defensively and their closest chance came on 42 minutes with John McGinn half-volleying just wide from 20 yards.
Two great pieces of defending preserved our lead just two minutes after the interval, Oliver Skipp’s overhead clearance preventing Danny Ings poking home from close range with Cristian Romero getting in a great block to deny Targett’s angled drive. At the other end, Emerson Royal’s drive was headed clear by Tyrone Mings before Son volleyed over the bar and then the South Korean international broke away down the left and into the area, shrugged off Kortney Hause but Martinez denied him from close range.
Ndombele produced some superb trickery in the box to work some space but Martinez saved his shot low down before Villa equalised on 68 minutes, Targett’s low cross tucked home inside the six yard box by Watkins. But we weren’t behind for long, showing a great response as Son got away down the flank again and this time, his low centre was knocked over the line by Targett as he attempted to deny Lucas. Villa tried to respond again, Danny Ings testing Hugo Lloris but the best chances in the closing stages fell our way. Substitute Giovani Lo Celso curled wide and then should have done better on 87 minutes after Kane’s clever back-heel fell perfectly for him but, while he beat Martinez, he was denied by Ezri Konsa’s block. A minute later, Kane was in on goal but Martinez saved again to keep Villa just about in the game, but for the duration of stoppage time, we were able to keep the ball deep inside Villa territory to take the sting out of the game and pick up a battling victory.
Head Coach Nuno Espirito Santo made three changes from our last outing in the Premier League at Arsenal as Royal, Romero and Skipp came in for Japhet Tanganga, Davinson Sanchez and Dele. There were eight changes from Mura on Thursday night with Romero, Sergio Reguilon and Skipp retaining their places in the starting XI.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'We conceded and we reacted'
Nuno said after the game: "What it means for us, the fans… it was important. It was a hard game and the way we played, the way we responded, it’s a big, big moment for us.
"We started well, controlled it, created chances and produced a fantastic goal from Pierre, the way he started and finished the action was really good movement. We had something we’ve improved on, we conceded and we reacted, that’s important, because in football you can concede and we made a step forward. There were more goals for us in this game, I feel. We had enough chances to kill the game in our favour."
Highlights on Spurs TV
Spurs 2-1 Aston Villa
Spurs (4-4-2): Lloris (c), Royal, Romero, Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Ndombele (Lo Celso 76), Lucas (Bryan 89), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gollini, Doherty, Rodon, Sanchez, Winks, Dele, Scarlett.
Villa (3-5-2): Martinez, Konsa, Hause (Traore 81), Mings (c), Cash, McGinn, Douglas Luiz, J Ramsey (Buendia 69), Targett, Ings (Archer 90), Watkins. Substitutes (not used): Steer, Tuanzebe, A Young, Nakamba, El Ghazi, Philogene-Bidace.
Goals: Spurs – Hojbjerg 27, Targett (OG) 71; Villa – Watkins 68.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Skipp, Romero; Villa - Ramsey.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Sunny intervals, moderate breeze, 16 degrees.