21/03/2021 7:30 pm
Referee: Mike Dean
|Aston Villa||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Alves Morais (29), Kane (68 pen)|
With Aston Villa going through a sticky and inconsistent run of form in 2021, we have undoubtedly dropped points that we shouldn’t have – but it’s been a strange old season and in some ways, there may not have been a better time to welcome Jose Mourinho’s struggling Tottenham Hotspur side to Villa Park for this evening’s Premier League clash.
Least, that’s what we were hoping ahead of kick off as the worry was, with seven changes made, they would actually show a reaction to their last two poor defeats.
It was a slow start from both sides, but Spurs were certainly in a more offensive frame of mind and for large periods ran the game in attack without actually achieving much or testing Emi Martinez in goal. As the half drew on we got more into it and did actually fashion the better and more clear clearances but sadly just couldn’t make it count.
A rare, poor, Emi clearance just ahead of the half hour mark granted Spurs the softest goal you will see and at that point, it was against the run of play and they probably couldn’t believe their luck. We should’ve still defended better mind you and the tracking was woeful.
We lost the momentum but Spurs didn’t really step up a gear either. The half time break was welcome given the utter tragedy that had become our attempts at crossing the ball – the old joke is ‘was that our good half’ but tonight a single shot off target would seem like progress.
The second half started slowly, but we again got ourselves on top but we just weren’t right in the final third again – although we did finally manage to muster an effort on target.
But we shouldn’t have forgotten the Mike Dean effect of celebrating Tottenham goals.
Harry Kane chases a dead ball, the ball is out of play, Kane attacks Matty Cash’s leg for reasons absolutely everyone can see, so it’s totally conceivable that the utter failure in charge of the game gives a penalty.
Oh look, a previously dead and in extreme pain Kane is suddenly well enough to take the shot from 12 yards.
Sums up the game, sums up 2021 for us and whilst some of the criticism at head coach Dean Smith is wildly and massively over the top. Criticism aimed at why we have no alternative formation when this one hasn’t worked for the last three months, criticism centred around why we make the same substitutions at the same times in games regardless of what is actually happening and why for the love of God Bertie is an automatic starter (at least Trez works for the team) and why Barkley still gets minutes is absolutely fair play.
We don’t have a plethora of options on the bench, but when the same things fail to make a difference, at what point will we try something new?
2-0 – now can we drop the European aspiration nonsense and realise exactly where we are as we rebuild?