Spurs vs Aston Villa: How to steal it from the Villains

Spurs vs Aston Villa is next up for us in the Premier League, so we look at the Villains’ weaknesses.

Another home game sees us face another new manger. Kevin MacDonald takes temporary charge for Spurs vs Aston Villa, denying us the chance to face Tim Sherwood.

Just how much will change under the caretaker manager is unsure. What we can look at is where they have been vulnerable this season and what areas should be focussed on for the Tottenham tactics in Spurs vs Aston Villa this time.

Where Aston Villa concede

Aston Villa have had problems keeping the ball out of their net this season, most Tim Sherwood sides do. His penchant for playing without a proper holding midfielder sees his teams being more attack-minded, but also equally prone to leaving their back four exposed. Opposition sides are able to get between the lines and either create chances or score goals from the space that is afforded to them.

Here we can see how James Milner is granted a big enough pocket between the defence and midfield to get his shot away and open the scoring for Liverpool.


James Milner gets between the lines to score.

It was a consistent tactical problem that Tim Sherwood had while managing us. At Spurs, he would give up this space, but he had the firepower to often negate this weakness the other way. At Aston Villa, especially after losing Christian Benteke, he didn’t.

The space between the lines is one thing, but the more porous avenue through the Aston Villa defence has come in the left back zone. Jordan Amavi is aggressive in getting forward; leaving space behind him that is open to attack. Kieran Richardson continues, as he has done at other stops in his career, to look like a midfielder playing as a full back.

In Aston Villa’s last game, Swansea took advantage of the Villains’ weak left side, going at it at every opportunity. Kyle Naughton getting in to this zone and crossing for Andre Ayew’s winner was a textbook example of how you attack this Aston Villa defence.


Swansea chances created vs Aston Villa.

That game saw Kieran Richardson at left back, but Jordan Amavi is an equally weak link in the Aston Villa back line. Leicester City showed that after they turned a 2-0 deficit in to a 3-2 win.


Leicester City chances created vs Aston Villa.

Tim Sherwood’s lack of a holding player to lock the game down after going in to the lead was highlighted, as was the weak left side of their defence.

Just what Kevin MacDonald will do here is unsure. We can expect a counter attacking style, as that is how Aston Villa are built. His main priority may well be to close up the spaces between the lines and make them tough to play through.

The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Aston Villa should focus on attacking the left side of their defence. This makes players like Erik Lamela, who has been scoring a few from the right in recent weeks, a major factor. He has to get in to the game here and we have to look to get Kyle Walker and him the ball down this side.

Aston Villa errors

After facing the most error prone team in the Premier League in Bournemouth, and how Artur Boruc showed that to be true. This time sees the third worst team for defensive blunders come to town.

At the heart of why Aston Villa have committed mistakes at the back, which have led to goals, has been the sloppy distribution of Brad Guzan. The American is a good shot stopper, but has never been the most comfortable on the ball.

Guzan’s whiff of a kick to allow Sergio Aguero a tap in at the end of last season up at Man City was a moment he’d like to forget. This term it has continued with his poor decision to pass out short towards Jordan Amavi at Crystal Palace. This saw Bakary Sako pounce and then lash the ball back past him to earn the Eagles the win.

In Aston Villa’s last away game, Guzan handed Chelsea their opener through an ill-advised and over hit pass towards Joleon Lescott. The awkwardly bouncing ball played hastily by Guzan under pressure squibbed under the central defender’s boot, allowing Willian to hoover it up and square to Diego Costa for a tap in.

After facing an error prone keeper last week, more of the same of the same pressure on him is required this. Pressing Aston Villa when they have the ball at the back is vital to forcing mistakes if they want to continue playing out from their keeper and will lead to chances.

Stopping the Villa crosses

Our defence is one of the meanest in the Premier League for keeping out goals, but we still have a vulnerability in the air. Both Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld have had trouble against centre forwards with good leaping ability. Stefano Okaka, Lacina Traore, Mame Biram Diouf and Andre Ayew have all scored or given us trouble with their aerial ability this season.

In 1.93m Rudy Gestede, Aston Villa have a striker that has both height and leaping advantage on our centre backs. The Benin international requires crosses to thrive and Aston Villa have been providing him with just this. On opening day he rose to nod home the only goal of the game against Bournemouth. Away to Liverpool he struck twice from crosses as he overpowered the Reds.


Aston Villa crosses vs Liverpool, yellow = goals.

The two goals highlighted several things. Firstly how good Gestede is in the air if he gets the service. Secondly, just what a crossing based side Aston Villa are. Thirdly, how they get their full backs high up the pitch to provide service. Alan Hutton provided the cross for the first, Jordan Amavi the second. This is the reward part of their full back’s attacking play, the risky side comes when the ball is turned over and they are left high out of position. This has been a particular problem for their left side where they have been conceding chances.

Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen will play in this game. So, the focus in the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Aston Villa needs to be on stopping the crosses coming in at source. This will see us having to close their wide players down quickly to affect the time and space allowed on the ball in these areas. We also have to be aggressive in our positioning and play higher up the park to push them back.

Spurs vs Aston Villa outlook

This should be a classic case of breaking a counter attacking team down, something we have had trouble with. Pressing and forcing them in to errors at the back is key to creating chances from miscues, but to also build up pressure. A fast start and an early goal will be what Mauricio Pochettino is looking for here. Depending on when it comes could either see an anxious or easy night at White Hart Lane.

Spurs vs Aston Villa prediction: Spurs 2 Aston Villa 1.

Spurs vs Aston Villa betting

Spurs to win at 2/5 with BetVictor.
Erik Lamela anytime goal at 9/4 with 888sport.
Eric Dier yellow card at 2/1 with BetVictor.

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4 Responses to Spurs vs Aston Villa: How to steal it from the Villains

  1. YouShubes 1st November 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    We have been vulnerable from crosses… We need to do more to cut the supply line given we don;t have enough height to stop someone as big as Gestede. He does not have the footwork or ability to work defenders at this level compared to someone like Benteke though

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 2nd November 2015 at 4:58 pm #

      Gestede is only really a threat in the air, which makes him difficult for Alderweireld and Vertonghen to defend. Fazio is not really an option either here as despite speed not being an issue here, he was overpowered by Benteke for their goal in the game last season and he struggled vs Pelle and other powerful aerial players as well, which is strange for such a big man.

  2. Dave N 4th November 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    To sum up Mark, you might say that Fazio is slow, weak in the air, with very poor distribution and prone to clumsy challenges…. Other than that, a top class defender worth every penny we shelled out for him ;)

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2015 at 4:33 pm #

      Spot on. If at least he was strong in the air and could pass the ball you could forgive him the deficiency of being slow, as he would still have his uses against certain teams and players. As it stands, I can’t see any time when we would use him other than there is no one else available!