English Premier League

Aston Villa 0 – 4 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham boosted their hopes of a top-four Premier League finish with an emphatic victory over 10-man Aston Villa at Villa Park.

In an encounter billed as pivotal in the race for a spot in next season’s Champions League, early second-half goals from James Maddison and Brennan Johnson set Spurs on their way.

And a seemingly leg-weary Villa side, who played at Ajax on Thursday evening, rarely looked capable of clawing their way back into the contest once captain John McGinn was dismissed for a reckless tackle on visiting left-back Destiny Udogie in the 65th minute.

With Spurs in complete control in the closing stages, stoppage-time goals from Son Heung-min and Timo Werner only served to rub salt into Villa’s wounds.

The hosts remain fourth in the table but are now only two points above Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs, who have a game in hand.

An underwhelming first period had seen the teams cancel each other out with Johnson’s low attempted cross from the left, which was easily gathered by home goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, the closest thing to resembling a shot on target.

However, Pape Matar Sarr’s superb cross from the right saw Maddison prod in shortly after the break and when home defender Ezri Konsa carelessly gave possession away deep in his own half, Johnson collected Son’s pass to double Tottenham’s lead.

With the home stands already emptying early into 10 added minutes, South Korea forward Son swept home his 159th goal for the north London club and provided Werner’s opportunity, with the German’s placed close-range shot finding the right corner.

Scintillating Spurs punish Villa
With Villa aiming to reach Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since they were defending champions in 1982-83, skipper McGinn labelled their meeting with Tottenham “the most important game in the club’s recent history,” prior to kick-off.

However, in a first half in which they continuously attempted to play on the counter-attack, there were already signs that a fourth consecutive league victory might not be forthcoming.

While they showed plenty of application there was very little by the way of quality in the final third and they were not helped by Ollie Watkins struggling off the back of an early kick from Tottenham’s Dutch centre-back Micky van de Ven.

With Spurs having enjoyed the benefit of a full week to prepare, their sharpness and greater intensity told after the break.

Sarr’s willingness to run beyond a high Villa defensive line to brilliantly supply Maddison sparked Spurs into life.

Konsa’s careless pass towards Youri Tielemans provided a further helping hand, as did McGinn’s red card, which told in the later stages, allowing the visitors to pick Villa off to conclude a scintillating second-half display.


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