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There was nothing between these two sides when the met at Villa and there’s nothing to indicate either team has a clear advantage ahead going in to this game.

Spurs have a strong home record and when they get the better of a side at White Hart Lane they have the attacking talent to really put them to the sword, especially when Defoe is going through one of his prolific patches. Four goals in his last few games will be enough to motivate plenty of betting on him to score first. The departure of Keane means that Redknapp sees Crouch as the preferred partner for his top scorer and he’s been the foil for some of Defoe’s high-scoring efforts this season. Of course they are facing the meanest defence in the league so chances are likely to be few and far between and with the physical presence of Dunne, Collins and Cuellar at the back, Crouch may find it tough to win the aerial battles or keep hold of the ball up front. Defoe isn’t above creating his own chances out of nothing though and a moment of individual brilliance from him may be required here.

First Goal Scorer Odds

Defoe – 5/1

Crouch – 11/2

Pavlyuchenko -13/2

Gudjohnsen – 15/2

Kranjcar – 9/1

Modric – 9/1

The midfield battle could be very interesting indeed with the pivotal Modric pulling the strings for Spurs and Petrov attempting to do the same for Villa. Whichever of these players sees more of the ball will dictate which side dominates. There’ll be no lack of effort from either side and, though it may not be a high-scoring affair, it’s sure to be high-paced and entertaining.

The form of Defoe and home advantage should be enough for Spurs to take all three points here but Redknapp will demand a tighter defensive effort than was on display against Leeds midweek. If they can keep Milner and Young quiet, Villa will struggle to create.

Paddy Says: Spurs 2-1 at 7/1. Defoe to score first at 5/1.

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