Tottenham Hotspur vs. Aston Villa Preview

Barclays Premier League 21/11/11 (k.o 8pm)

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Published: 12/12/2011

Monday night football returns after the international break as Harry Redknapp’s high flying Spurs host Alex McLeish’s young Aston Villa side.

After beginning the season in disastrous fashion with hefty defeats to both Manchester United and Manchester City, Tottenham have soared up to fourth in the table following a string of impressive displays and victories.

A 2-1 home success over arch rivals Arsenal in the North London derby did much to spearhead Spurs form and they now hold a clear advantage over the Gunners in the race for a Champions League place.

But Redknapp himself believes that his team are good enough to even challenge for the Premier League crown and they will look to step things up another gear on return to action against Villa.

In the midst of a transitional period for the club, Alex McLeish has turned Villa into an attractive footballing outfit, who are indeed very similar to Tottenham in terms of their style of play.

Young Scot Barry Bannan has been given his chance by McLeish following a successful loan spell at Leeds United last year and has impressed so far alongside the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and the prolific Darren Bent.

Nevertheless, the Villains do not quite possess the cutting edge which Tottenham have displayed time and time again, including throughout their magical Champions League run just a few months ago.

The deadly Gareth Bale has the ability to cause any team problems and coupled with the industry and creativity of Rafael Van Der Vaart, Villa could well be on the back foot right from the first whistle.

If Tottenham truly harbour aspirations of returning to the Champions League or even challenging for this season’s Premier League title, they must surely put a juvenile Villa to the sword and sort out the men from the boys.

For Redknapp, it seems just as important to send out a constant statement of intent to the rest of the division as well as picking up results.

Backing Tottenham on the handicap at -1 looks a great bet for this particular clash as it looks like a fight which might just be too much for the visiting side.

The White Hart Lane crowd get right behind their side and are enjoying what is becoming an extra ordinary period for the club as they mix things up with the big boys.

Villa will do well to cope with the hostile atmosphere as well as the unquestionable talents of Bale, Van Der Vaart and co.

And it is the Dutchman who looks the most tempting in terms of breaking the deadlock and continuing his fine goal scoring form.

For Villa, the match is likely to provide McLeish’s youngsters with a good degree of experience to go on and cement a mid-table finish at the end of the campaign.

Redknapp meanwhile will be dreaming further of title glory if his side can bank another three points in what is turning into the most competitive Premier League season in history.


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