A lethargic first half-hour was followed by a much improved second half performance that was scintillating at times as Tottenham ran out 2-0 winners against Aston Villa on a rainy afternoon in Birmingham. Andros Townsend found the net just before the break with a cross-shot which worked its way into the corner before neat interchanges saw Roberto Soldado net his first Premier League goal from open play.
Hugo Lloris – 7 – Never looked like conceding and patrolled his area well when called upon. His distribution was shaky in the first half but he recovered well from a couple of wayward clearances.
Kyle Walker – 6 – Played quite well but was occasionally exposed by Agbonlahor and a couple of rash challenges suggest that we need to check his head is firmly screwed on.
Michael Dawson – 7 – Has had his fair share of critics in recent weeks but battled valiantly against Kozak and then Benteke to keep Villa at bay: a top-drawer captain’s performance.
Vlad Chiriches – 8 – Perhaps surprisingly thrown in at the deep end with AVB less than impressed with Kyle Naughton but the Romanian shone on his Premier League debut, making a few crucial interceptions and looking comfortable in defence.
Jan Vertonghen – 7 – Not his best position but he is clearly still a better option than Naughton at left-back; the Belgian played solidly and had a decent impact going forward.
Paulinho – 8 – Another excellent all-action performance from the Brazilian, who is becoming renowned for his late bursts into the box. Unlucky not to get a goal, but did provide an assist with a delightful first-time pass into the feet of Soldado.
Sandro – 8 – Great to see this man back and he may have just played himself into a permanent first-team spot. Didn’t look like his previous long-term injury was troubling him at all as he largely kept the Villa attack quiet through the middle.
Andros Townsend – 8 – Awarded man of the match by Gary Neville on Sky Sports and I say deservedly so; he terrorised Antonio Luna and capped an excellent week with a goal, whether he meant it or not.
Lewis Holtby – 6 – Grew in influence after a very quiet first 30 minutes, but did little to prove that he is a better option at number 10 than Christian Eriksen.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 6 – Not a bad performance but with him cutting in from the left and Townsend from the right the side lacks balance and the Icelandic midfielder isn’t really doing enough to justify his selection over more natural wingers.
Roberto Soldado – 7 – A quiet game, but he scored. And that’s what Soldado does. The man with the best strike conversion rate in Europe last season demonstrated just why, with a composed finish after being put through on goal.
Aaron Lennon – 6 – Looked spritely and it is great to see him back to fitness; he is a natural, speedy winger who should prove a vital part of the squad and team in the coming season.
Mousa Dembele – 7 – Came on for Holtby and settled the game down when 2-0 up; strung passes together and serenely dictated the tempo in midfield, as required.
Jermain Defoe – 6 – Had little time to influence proceedings.
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