Player Ratings: Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur


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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  1. A win, but a f***ing dire performance and match. We ain't no better than last season and can't see us getting anything out of the top teams again.

  2. Thought Dawson was worth a 6 tops got caught three times in the first half, it was sandro that marked benteke in open play Dawson couldn't get near him

  3. I viewed some of the performances a bit differently. I thought Walker had by far his best game of the year. His defensive play was much improved and he recovered well to his occasional lapses. This may have been because he didn't have to range forward as often. His passing was at times suspect and he clearly missed Holtby a couple times, but I'd have given him a 7.

    I'd give Daws a 7 as well, and he was great defensively, but a couple of his long passes missed Siggy and Vertonghen by quite a lot.

    Agreed on Chiriches. By far our defensive man of the match. He and Vertonghen make for a strong left side. I'd be willing to leave Rose on the bench for this tandem if Jan is willing to play LB. He plays LB for Belgium and was impressive in both the game against Croatia and Wales during the break.

    I hope this performance locks Sandro back in our 11. Great game from him.

    The Brazilian tandem between Sandro and Paulinho was GREAT to see, they read each other well, and one clearly falls back to cover for the other ranging forward (most often Sandro covering).

    Andros had his best game for Spurs this week. Not mistake free, but inspired performance. He's having a Hell of a week.

    I thought Holtby and Siggy both deserved 7. Siggy was more involved today then he has been and he showed moments of going outside and crossing, but the defense seemed to be inviting him to cut in and he did so well. I do agree that Holtby didn't make his case over Eriksen, but I don't think it has to be either/or. He's a great option and I wouldn't mind seeing them together on the field both looking to feed Soldado.

    Which leads me to our #9. Soldado put to rest all doubts about him being our #1 striker and this game showed we are making progress at getting him quality service. There were still too many instances of him racing off to the corners to fetch balls and a couple times he got the ball in only to have us wishing it was our midfield doing that so he could be on the receiving end. His goal scoring only tells half the story, his movement off the ball was immense. He found Andros for his goal and was constantly feeding teammates. I'd have given him at least a 7, though an 8 might have been warranted.

    Great to see Lennon back in lilywhite on the pitch. I was surprised that in his time he and Andros didn't swap sides a bit like Lennon used to do with Bale.

    Dembele was as solid as always, and I am hoping that Adebayor comes good. I'm kind of sour on Defoe these days, but that could change.

  4. IMO siggurdson shouldn’t have started.he offered nothing for64 tedious minutes and looked shocked to be taken off.somebody tell Dawson he isn’t Ronald koeman so stop hitting 60yard balls into touch.its not rugby!this game was crying out for width on both sides off the pitch,and azza or lamela should have started.width creates space for holtby/paulie to put in soldado and what happens next?.oh yes he scores.easy from the terrace I know,but can’t everybody else see this?

  5. Lloris- 6- Everything Hugo was asked to do, bar some hurried clearances in the first half, he did well.

    Walker-7- Had a very good game at RB, for the most part. Used his pace and energy to good effect, both in defence and attack. Let himself down slightly, near the conclusion of the match, with a bizarre challenge on Agbonlahor when NOWHERE near man, or ball.

    Dawson- 7- Had a nervy beginning to the game with an early miss-timed clearance, which gave Villa a good opportunity at goal. But grew into a match which suited his style, with Villa's biggest threat/weapons coming from aerial situations.

    Chiriches-7- Played well on his EPL debut, making some crucial first-half interceptions to foil Villa's forwards. Handled the pace of the match, and the conditions, with a great sense of composure. Promising signs.

    Vertonghen -6- Decent display from Jan without being particularly good. Gave the ball away under pressure in the first-half a little too easily, and showed little appetite to go forward. Was caught out of position once or twice through a lack of concentration.Vertonghen did however provide the team with a better balance offensively.

    Sandro-8- Simply the BEAST!!! This was Sandro close to his very his best. Fierce in the tackle, strong in the challenge (aerially, shoulder to shoulder, etc) and the epitome of commitment, the Brazilian was just what the doctor had ordered, following a defeat in our last game, where we were out-muscled, and too susceptible counter-attacks !!! I lost count of the amount of times he won the ball in our defending third. Sandro read the game SUPERBLY throughout, and prevented Villa from breaking on the counter, through the middle of the park. Made Dawson and Chiriches jobs SO much easier with the protection he gave them both, and in the end he simply terrified Delph and co into submission.

    Paulinho-7- Game of two halves. Flattered to deceive in the first 45min when there wasn't much room to operate in, in a congested midfield. Lacked bite and energy in defensive areas, and, indeed, if it wasn't for the excellent Sandro beside him, Spurs could have been badly exposed. Improved markedly in the second half when Villa had to come forward in search of an equaliser, and the Brazilian used the additional space they left, as a result, well. Great assist for Soldado, but missed a sitter, from a lovely cross by Townsend, late on. MUST IMPROVE if (an in form) Dembele is not going to replace him in the middle of the park.

    Gyfil-6- Toiled and worked hard as usual, but with little success. Decent deliveries from set-pieces and wide areas were undermined by a lack of a REAL aerial presence in the box.

    Townsend-8- Difficult first half for the England winger, although he scored. Grew into the match after his goal forced Villa to open up and come forward. Not much to say that I haven't already about this kid. One of the best young prospects in Europe, I believe that Andros is ONLY going to get better. Luna will sleep well tonight!

    Holtby-7- Looked good on the ball when he got it, but WITHOUT Dembele in the midfield we lacked anyone to regularly service the German in advanced areas of the field, where he does his best work. Both Paulinho and Sandro struggled to find the space, in the first-half, to feed the ball FORWARD into Lewis' feet in Villa's final third. However, he showed glimpses of his UNDOUBTED quality, and his pass to find Paulinho, under-pressure, should NOT go unnoticed. For me, he, and Spurs, NEED Dembele in the engine room to be that CONSISTENT link between defence and attack, with his ability to find space and carry the ball upfield.

    Soldado- 7- His goal today makes the chance Defoe missed against West ham look even WORSE!!! The Spaniard showed us ALL what a natural finisher looks like by converting his only real opportunity in front of goal. Worked hard, held the ball up well (particularly in the 2nd half) and showed some BEAUTY flicks and touches, with the highlight being a first-time ball into the path of Paulinho to set up a chance which was ultimately saved. Quality striker who WILL, no doubt, prove his worth over the course of the season.

    All in all, a great response from the team after a HUGELY disappointing result against the Hammers. Far better second half performance from the team, but the inclusion of Dembele, from the start, will prove vital if Spurs are to get the very best out of the no10, and in turn the striker.
    Make no mistake about it, Spurs are STILL very much a work in progress and it WILL take time before we see the very best out of this AMAZING squad we have managed to assemble. The good thing about the work AVB and the lads are doing is we are STILL managing to pick up results during this transitional period.

    Remember that we have seen 9 new players (including Rose and Townsend) introduced to the playing staff over the course of the summer, and that was always, understandably, going to take time for the team settle into a natural rhythm. It's quite conceivable that we WON'T see the best of this team/squad until the beginning of the new year, so for now results MUST take priority over performances.


  6. Im terrified with the style AVB wants to use 2 wingers cutting inside. Thats making us so narrow and gives opposition too much time to park the buss. Siggy aint winger, Lamela should play on the left and swap places with Andros. Lennon was a waste on the left but I think AVB wanted him on there because he can really defend. Our left side cant do a shit after Rose injured.


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