Oct 20, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
Even when he doesn’t mean to, he scores. It’s almost too easy.
Andros Townsend scored on a ball clearly meant as a cross, and Tottenham Hotspur won a tight tussle at Villa Park 2-0 over a foe they’ve controlled in recent years.
Following a good opening spell from Aston Villa in the first three minutes, a very physical midfield battle ensued, resulting in a number of back and forth attacks but no real build-ups.
The first major chance came in the 21st minute when Villa broke and won a free kick on the edge. Ashley Westwood swung the ball in from a long way out into a very dangerous position, just out of the reach of a sliding Ron Vlaar and touched away by Hugo Lloris.
Villa continued to force Spurs into a host of mistakes thanks to hard pressure on every visiting player who happens to be on the ball.
The pressure also isolated Roberto Soldado completely, leaving him on an island with no source of creativity to feed the target man.
But the dream continued for Andros Townsend, and somehow Spurs got a huge break.
In the 31st minute, Townsend got a feed from Soldado in space well away from the goal on the right wing, and he sent in a cross that missed everyone, including Brad Guzan and ended up in the back of the net. Guzan expected Soldado to get a touch to the ball, but because he missed the American was left out of position to keep out the cross.
There is no way Townsend meant it as a shot, and all he could manage after the goal was a chuckle and a smile as he was swarmed by teammates.
The goal, while unintended, sprang Tottenham to life, and finally their number 9 began to find help. Five minutes later a Vertonghen cross found the head of Soldado who put it just over.
The game slowly opened up as Villa concentrated on running a controlled break. Andreas Weimann got a cutback at the top of the penalty area in the 42nd minute but drove his shot just wide, having beaten a diving Lloris. Townsend then nearly found a second as Spurs let fly before the halftime break but Guzan saved very well to his right.
The opening minutes of the second half were slow but the game quickly opened up once again after about five minutes. Both teams peppered the opposing box, with Spurs creating chances well and Villa content to absorb pressure and play on the break.
Christian Benteke, who began the match on the bench still recovering form his hip injury, returned to Aston Villa action in the 61st minute. He immediately proved difficult to deal with, as he touched a header over two minutes later on a pinpoint cross from Leandro Bacuna.
The boost gave Aston Villa new life, as they all of a sudden pounded the Tottenham box and lit up the home crowd at Villa Park.
Villa, however, got nothing to show for the pressure they put on the Spurs defense, and the visitors made them pay. Roberto Soldado picked up his first goal from open play on the season after a brilliant first touch from Paulinho at the top of the box threaded Soldado through for a powerful close-range finish.
The goal left Villa stunned, after they were reaching out for an equalizer. Instead, Spurs went two up and immediately looked up for a third. Townsend again came close in the 75th minute but he curled it just over the top-left corner. Paulinho somehow missed an empty net in the 80th minute as he whiffed on a dangerous Townsend cross.
The win is Spurs’ third in a row at Villa Park, and they remain unbeaten in their last 10 against the Claret and Blue. It pushes Villas-Boas’s crew up to fifth in the Premier League table. Villa remain in 12th, as their three-match win streak is snapped.
Tottenham Hotspur – Townsend 31′, Soldado 69′
Aston Villa: Guzan; Bacuna, Clark, Vlaar, Luna; Westwood, El Ahmadi (Sylla, 72′), Delph, Weimann; Agbonlahor (Tonev, 79′), Kozak (Benteke, 61′).
Nov 22, 2014, 9:30 AM EST
The Baggies took a point from Chelsea in both match-ups last seasons, and has a win against Chelsea in each of the two seasons before that.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:25 AM EST
Can the Clarets win a second-straight game? Watch live, right here.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:13 AM EST
Will the Toffees continue their good form over the Hammers? Watch live, here.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:05 AM EST
Sterling says he is “happy to play for Liverpool for many years to come.”
Nov 22, 2014, 8:15 AM EST
Wenger: “I welcome people who have played for us to come back but not for just an honorary job.”
Nov 22, 2014, 7:18 AM EST
How and where to watch every single PL game from Week 12 live online or via the app.
Inside Look: Not much separating Red Bulls, Revolution ahead of Eastern Conference Championship, leg 1
Nov 21, 2014, 11:45 PM EST
You could try to use the Red Bulls’ 2014 season to make inferences about what will happen Sunday against the Revs, but it’d be a huge waste of your time.
Nov 21, 2014, 10:30 PM EST
Go ahead and try to be as good as Robbie Keane. Give it your best shot. Good luck, you’re going to need it.
Nov 21, 2014, 9:20 PM EST
Zinedine Zidane can return to coaching after his nonsensical coaching suspension was lifted on Friday. Perhaps “qualified” needs redefining.
VIDEO: Louis van Gaal calls Wayne Rooney “not a typical striker,” praises versatility ahead of Arsenal showdown
Nov 21, 2014, 9:00 PM EST
Louis van Gaal has called Wayne Rooney “not a typical striker,” but a “fantastic player” nonetheless before Arsenal showdown.
Nov 21, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
Where and how to watch every single PL game in Week 12.
Nov 21, 2014, 8:15 PM EST
It’s tempting to look ahead and crown the LA Galaxy MLS Cup champions already. A word of warning: Don’t do it at the Sounders’ expense.
MLS Cup Playoffs Preview: Red Bulls vs. Revolution, Galaxy vs. Sounders in Conference Championship first legs
Nov 21, 2014, 6:15 PM EST
The 2014 season is nearly finished, as the MLS Cup Playoffs resume this weekend. A few facts and stats to excite ahead of Sunday’s action.
Nov 21, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
Dear haters: Jermaine hears you, is not bothered by you and still loves you. Look out, Red Bulls.
Nov 21, 2014, 3:10 PM EST
The English-born coach has had big success in Orlando since the club began play in 2011, winning the regular season title in three of four seasons.
Nov 21, 2014, 2:20 PM EST
Whitecaps FC 2 will compete in metro Vancouver at Thunderbird Stadium inside of the University of British Columbia.
Nov 21, 2014, 1:35 PM EST
The quota request comes after the BBC conducted a “State of the Game” survey that dug into the international representation in the Premier League.
Nov 21, 2014, 12:50 PM EST
Can the Baggies improve on last year’s point at Stamford Bridge?
Nov 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
I’m a fan of Batman, but seems to me “The Dark Knight” should consider rocking Valencia’s bat rather than his own. Looks slick.
Nov 21, 2014, 11:45 AM EST
Here’s how PST’s lead writer and editor sees things panning out this weekend.
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