Match report: Tottenham 2-0 Villa
Lambert's Lions undone by second half double.
7th Oct 2012
Match report: Tottenham 2-0 Villa

By Rob Bishop

Villa were sunk by goals from Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon as their early promise evaporated against in-form Tottenham.

Christian Benteke twice forced French keeper Hugo Lloris into good saves, and also sent a header not far wide, as Paul Lambert's men looked good for at least a point as the second half unfolded.

But it was an uphill struggle after Jermain Defoe's shot deflected in off Caulker in the 58th minute and Lennon drilled home the second goal nine minutes later.

To add to Villa's woes, they finished with 10 men after left-back Joe Bennett was carried off on a stretcher with a leg injury 14 minutes from the end, the manager having already used all three substitutes.

Bennett fell awkwardly on the track as he was challenged by Gareth Bale and was clearly in considerable pain as he received treatment.

Although some of Villa's early approach work was impressive, Spurs were more threatening in the opening exchanges.

Bale fired wide following a strong run by Defoe before Jan Vertoghen just failed to connect right in front of goal when Bale delivered a free-kick from the left.

Brad Guzan then held Defoe's low shot before Karim El Ahmadi produced the visitors' first attempt, a 30-yarder which was well over following an intelligent pass from Benteke.

Gabby Agbonlahor had a shot charged down outside the penalty area and then saw a dangerous cross headed away by Caulker - and in the 22nd minute Villa were almost ahead.

Accepting Brett Holman's pass, Benteke unleashed a tremendous right-foot drive which keeper Lloris could only palm into the air before Tottenham got the ball clear.

Just past the half hour mark, Sandro and Lennon combined well to set up Defoe for a low shot on the turn which wasn't far wide.

Vertoghen then sent a close-range snap shot over, although Agbonlahor almost opened up the home defence on 36 minutes.

Having dispossessed Kyle Walker, he played a short pass to Holman and then went darting through the middle to chase the return pass, only for Lloris to race out and save at his feet.

Villa were close to a breakthrough straight after the interval, Agbonlahor's left-wing cross picking out Benteke in a good position.

The Belgium international didn't strike the ball as well as he would have liked, although his shot still caused problems for Lloris as it bounced off the keeper's chest.

In the next raid, Holman's header was saved by Lloris, although the keeper was a mere spectator when Benteke rose unchallenged to meet Marc Albrighton's nicely lofted ball and send an angled header just wide of the far post.

That let-off prompted a forceful response from the Londoners, Defoe'slow drive just shaving the right-hand before he was instrumental in putting his team ahead.

Collecting Bale's deep right-wing corner beyond the far post, the England international cut inside for a low right-foot shot which took a wicked deflection off Caulker as it flew past a helpless Guzan.

Spurs were now in the ascendancy, Defoe sending another effort too high and Bale forcing a good save from Guzan.

And even though Lambert responded by sending on both Darren Bent and Charles N'Zogbia in the 66th minute, the home side increased their advantage a minute later.

Lennon moved on to Clint Dempsey's pass and despite being closely marked by Bennett, the winger managed to get in a low angled shot which flew past Guzan and inside the far post.

It was all Spurs now, sub Emmanuel Adebayor having a shot blocked and Dempsey heading wide from a good position before Bennett's injury left Villa a man short for the remainder of the match.

Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertoghen; Lennon (Townsend, 86),Sandro, Dembele, Bale; Dempsey (Sigurdsson, 82), Defoe (Adebayor, 68). Unused subs: Friedel, Huddlestone, Dawson,Falque.

Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett; El Ahmadi, Delph (N'Zogbia, 66); Albrighton (Bent, 66), Holman (Bannan, 74), Agbonlahor; Benteke. Unused subs: Given, Westwood, Weimann, Lichaj.



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