Match report: Villa 0-2 Tottenham
Harry Kane was on target either side of half-time as Tottenham stepped up their title assault and worsened Villa's problems at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.
Just when it looked as if Remi Garde's men had reached the interval on level terms, the England international drove home Spurs' first goal in the 45th minute.
And although Villa made a promising start to the second period, they were rocked by a second Kane goal on 48 minutes.
The visitors made it clear from the outset that the Barclays Premier League is far more important to them that the Europa League.
Having lost emphatically to Borussia Dortmund with a weakened line-up on Thursday, they started with a strong side and were on the front foot from the outset.
Kane very nearly opened the scoring in the fourth minute, racing through the middle to clip a shot over the advancing Brad Guzan from the edge of the penalty area.
Thankfully for Villa, the ball struck the top of the bar, but there was little respite for the next few minutes as Spurs continued to press.
A dangerous cross from former Villa loanee Kyle Walker was just beyond Dele Alli's reach and Erik Lamela's drive was blocked in a crowded area before Alli tested Guzan with a fierce low drive which the keeper did well to hold.
Villa's first threat was provided by a Jordan Veretout cross from the right, Rudy Gestede just failing to make a proper contact as he was challenged in front of goal.
That effort settled the home side for a while and they began to knock the ball around with more confidence, although Guzan was forced into another save when he kept out Kane's low shot with his feet following Danny Rose's cross from the left.
Veretout then volley wide at the other end before Spurs regained the initiative, Guzan saving well from both Kane and Walker, while Kane wasn't far wide with a 30-yard effort.
And there was a real let-off on the half-hour mark Lamela hitting the near post from close range after a Walker pass.
The ball almost rebounded back in off Guzan before Alan Hutton cleared off the line.
Even so, Garde's men were close to taking the lead on 39 minutes, Gestede's volley from Carles Gil's free-kick being clutched by Hugo Lloris after Walker had unceremoniously fouled Idrissa Gana.
But after Ashley Westwood had received lengthy treatment for an injury, the visitors went ahead in the 45th minute.
Alli's quickly-taken free-kick caught Villa's back four out of position and although Hutton got in a challenge on Kane, the striker's angled drive flew beyond Guzan and into the far corner.
Kane's second goal was even harder to swallow because Villa had started the second half promisingly, Ayew and Gana both having shots blocked while Veretout's drive was saved by Lloris.
The home side were made to pay for their adventurous approach, however, Spurs breaking quickly down the left and Alli crossing low for the unmarked Kane to steer a rising shot past a helpless Guzan from 10 yards.
The Villa keeper parried Walker's powerful drive in the 59th minute before Jores Okore stuck out a foot to divert another effort from the Spurs right-back to safety, although Gestede earned warm applause for a fine control with his chest before turning to send a volley beyond the far post.
Although Lamela's shot was deflected for a corner by skipper Joleon Lescott, the home side almost reduced the deficit on 84 minutes.
Ayew worked his way along the left byline and his low angled shot hit both the near post and Lloris before Gestede drilled the rebound against the bar from a couple of yards.
And Lescott should also have scored four minutes later, volleying wide from a good position after Gestede had headed on a corner from Andre Green, who had made his debut as a 62nd-minute sub for Veretout.
VILLA: Guzan; Hutton, Okore, Lescott, Cissokho; Westwood, Gana; Gil (Sinclair 69), Veretout (Green 62), Ayew; Gestede. Unused subs: Bunn, Richards, Clark, Bacuna, Lyden.
TOTTENHAM: Lloris; Walker, Alderwireld, Wimmer, Rose; Lamela (Chadli 89), Dier, Dembele, Alli; Eriksen (Carroll 77), Kane. Unused subs: Vorm, Son, Mason, Trippier, Davies.