Date:Monday October 8 2012
White Hart Lane
Attendance: 35 802
Despite some good pressing and passing play from Villa, Paul Lambert's side paid the price for not taking their chances in front of goal. For 58 minutes Villa completed well, only to inevitably concede ground once the home side had taken the lead.
It was Tottenham that threatened first, creating chances in the first five minutes with Gareth Bale profitable down the left. Jermaine Defoe found himself at the end of the best of these opportunities, only to blaze the ball over the bar.
The most controversial incident of the half again involved Bale, who was played through on the right. With Bennett nowhere to be seen it was left to American keeper Guzan to dash out his box to clear the ball. Bale, in full view of the lines man, clearly dived in an attempt to get the Villa keeper booked, with the latter having pulled out of the challenge. No card was shown to Bale to the ire of the visiting fans who pulled no punches in telling the Spurs wide man exactly what they thought of his theatrics.
Gabby Agbonlahor perhaps had the best of Villa's first half chances. Having been played through by the energetic Holman, he was unable to touch the ball passed a scrambling Lloris who took the ball from his feet.
Villa picked up where they left of in the second half creating two clear cut chances for Belgian international Benteke. The first came as the result of a Gabriel Agbonlahor cross. His low ball found Benteke alone in space just inside the eighteen yard box. Benteke's shot was poor, a tame effort aimed down the middle and straight at Lloris. His second chance could only be described as a sitter. A poor throw out from the French goal keeper -performing on his Spurs league debut- was collected by Villa, Albrighton sending an inviting cross back toward the towering Benteke who headed just wide from eight yards out. A talent he may be, but at this level such chances have to be taken and I'm sure Lambert wasted no time in telling him so after the game.
Villa were inevitably made to pay for missing their game changing chances. A Spurs corner was met by Defoe, his far post shot deflecting in off Caulker for Spurs first goal of the game. It was perhaps unlucky on Villa though the marking was not good. This was unfortunate as Villa's defensive work was largely good throughout.
The introduction of Bent and Nzogbia did nothing to change the sway of the game. Indeed, Spurs did not need to wait long for their second. The tricky Aaron Lennon, who gave Joe Bennett a difficult time down the right side of midfield, was able to take the ball past the Villa left back, slot a fine shot into the far corner nine minutes later.
It could have been 3-0 to the home side had Clint Dempsey headed home what was a point blank header.
Bennett's afternoon then got worse when he suffered a gash to the leg after colliding with advertising hoardings. Villa, having already made their final substitution with the introduction of Bannan were forced to play the last 15 minutes with ten men.
Despite good interplay and hard work, Villa once gain lacked the game plan or the drive to come from behind in an away league game, conceding territory and chances. Had Benteke taken either of his gilt edged chances it could have been a different result for a much improved Villa side who are still learning to play the right way and the right way together. However, they will need to learn quickly for the Premier League is no proving ground and will punish errors and missed chances quickly.
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Date:Monday October 8 2012
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