Opinion: How my very first Tottenham away day against Aston Villa went

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Antonio Conte seems to have turned the corner with his side, as Spurs were unbeaten in their last three matches going into the Aston Villa match at the weekend.

The day was set up to be a potential turning point in the season, as Arsenal played Brighton at 3 pm and Spurs were on later at 5:30 pm, and both results would hugely affect the top-4 race.

With that in mind, I made my first Tottenham away trip to Villa Park with friends and was eager to see Spurs in action in the flesh.

It was great to see many Spurs fans throughout my journey and, on the whole, most seemed excited for the occasion.

My friends and I arrived in Birmingham just after midday, with the next move in mind to head to a local bar filled with fans from both Spurs and Villa.

We decided to go to The Windsor in Birmingham City Centre, and on arrival, we were warmly welcomed by Villa fans.

The atmosphere was buoyant, as I spoke to local Villa fans who looked forward to welcoming Spurs.

Myself, friends and a few of the opposing fans spoke candidly about the two sides pre-match.

Collectively, we agreed that the match would be interesting, with Conte’s momentum building but also paying heed to Steven Gerrard’s project, after being appointed in November 2021 (Sky Sports).

Whilst we were chatting, Arsenal was hosting Brighton and Hove Albion in their 3 pm kick-off. And we hoped for the Seagulls to cause an upset.

The pub erupted with noise when Brighton scored in the first half, with Spurs fans thrilled to see their North-London rivals losing.

Another memorable moment was Arsenal’s equalising goal being chalked off after a VAR decision, which would have given the visitors faith.

Spurs fans began to hysterically chant about Arsenal – after they lost 1-2 – with Brighton doing Spurs a huge favour.

Arsenal losing to Brighton made our game an even more all-important match, as Spurs could maintain fourth position in the table with a win at Villa Park.

We made our way over to Villa Park and, on arrival, huge groups of Spurs fans continued to humorously chant about Arsenal’s abysmal performance and result. This then transitioned into repeated chants from Spurs fans about their much-loved manager Conte.

With confidence building before the game, the travelling Spurs fans and I believed we had the capability to take all three points away from Gerrard’s boys Villa Park.

The match began and before there was time to settle in, Spurs were fired 1-0 ahead after Heung-min’s brilliant finish just three minutes into the game, symbolising the confidence we believed we had.

Heung-min Son
Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

However, after Spurs took the early lead, Villa was able to take more control of the first half.

Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris was consequently called into action on multiple occasions, most notably making a stand-out save after Villa’s Jacob Ramsey made a dangerous run into the box.

Lloris was able to halt Villa’s advances, impressively saving a free-kick from Villa’s Phillippe Coutinho off of the line.

However, Danny Ings really should have equalised to level game after scuffing his effort.

The whistle was blown for half-time, and we were very lucky to go into the interval ahead, with a poor showing after Son’s goal.

If it was not for Lloris’ fine saves, Villa could have been leading the match, which we hoped Conte would look to rectify at the break.

The second half began, and the Spurs players took the stuffing out of Villa.

We scored early yet again when Dejan Kulusevski capitalised on a poor defensive header in the 55th minute.

The Swede was able to make Villa pay, after calmly slotting the ball past Villa’s keeper Emiliano Martínez.

It was the perfect start for us and gave Spurs a two-goal lead with clinical finishing.

Son was able to add his second goal of the afternoon in the 66th minute, after Harry Kane’s well-placed header put the South Korean and Spurs talisman through on goal and he blasted it home.

Spurs were in full control as the deadly counter-attacking display caught out yet another Premier League side, and with an attack consisting of Son, Kane and Kulusevski, it is no surprise.

The dangerous attack was on display again, when Son got his third goal of the day after converting a cut-back chance which was created by Kulusevski from the byline.

It was 4-0 in the 71st minute and Spurs really were in cruise control. The attacking exhibition overall showed why Spurs are a team to be feared.

It just makes you think how much better we would have been if only we started the 2021-22 campaign with Conte.

After the final whistle, Spurs were able to take all three points and extend their unbeaten run to four games on the bounce.

Conte’s men held on in a difficult first half and stormed to victory in the second.

Whilst Son will deservedly steal the limelight with his excellent hattrick, we should be grateful for Lloris’ momentum-changing saves during the tough first half which we all had to endure.

Son’s goals took him 17 Premier League goals and the second top-scorer in the league this season.

But apart from the obvious brilliance of our attack, Spurs defender Cristian Romero also impressed at the back, making much-needed tackles to get us out of danger.

The 23-year-old seems to be becoming a fan favourite, as fans were chanting his name in great numbers after yet another solid defensive spectacle.

The trip to Villa was a remarkably enjoyable one and reminded me how good Spurs can be on their day.

But it cannot stop there, as we will hope to continue our unbeaten streak, as Spurs host Brighton on Saturday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with kick-off at 12:30 pm.

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