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Match report: Villa 0-4 Tottenham
Festive frustration for Lambert's Lions.
26th Dec 2012
Match report: Villa 0-4 Tottenham


Bishop

Villa's festive misery continued as they were comprehensively beaten by a slick Tottenham outfit at Villa Park.

Any hopes of Paul Lambert's side bouncing back from Sunday's heavy defeat at Chelsea were wrecked by a second half hat-trick from Wales international Gareth Bale after Jermain Defoe had opened the scoring in the 57th minute.

It was another afternoon to forget for Villa on a day when their injury problems increased.

Striker Andreas Weimann was ruled out of the starting line-up, while defender Nathan Baker limped off just before half-time.

Villa struggled to find any rhythm as they were pegged back in the early stages, and it didn't help when Chris Herd was penalised for a challenge on Defoe just outside the penalty area when the Australian defender appeared to get the ball.

Bale attempted to lift the resultant free-kick over Villa's wall but the ball flicked off Fabian Delph's head and away for a corner.

Former Villa loanee Kyle Walker then saw a fierce drive deflect just off target and in the 11th minute Brad Guzan was at full stretch to tip away a curling Bale shot which was destined for the top corner.

Herd came to the rescue when he cleared Aaron Lennon's dangerous low cross for a corner, and when Walker delivered the flag kick, William Gallas produced a near-post header which was held by Guzan.

In Tottenham's next attack, the keeper had to race from his line and save at Defoe's feet, and almost half an hour had elapsed before the home side produced their first threatening attack, Matt Lowton just failing to connect with Joe Bennett's deep cross from the left.

As Spurs resumed the offensive, Guzan saved Emmanuel Adebayor's header from a Bale corner at the second attempt before Baker got in the way of a powerful shot from the towering striker.

On 35 minutes, though, Villa might easily have snatched the lead in an incisive counter attack, Christian Benteke and Karim El Ahmadi combining to set up Lowton for a menacing right-wing centre.

Sliding in at the fat post, Brett Holman stretched to get in a shot but was unable to direct his effort goalwards.

Ciaran Clark was the saviour in Tottenham's next attack, throwing himself in the way of a Defoe piledriver, while Guzan did well to push away Bale's swerving left-foot drive for a corner.

Having been forced to replace the injured Baker with Stephen Ireland just before the interval, manager Lambert made another substitution at the start of the second half, sending on Marc Albrighton in place of Ashley Westwood.

In the 55th minute, Hugo Lloris brilliantly tipped away Benteke's first-time shot after Ireland had cleverly turned away from Jan Vertoghen to set up the chance - only for the keeper to be denied the credit for his save by an offside flag.

But a minute later the visitors were ahead, Sandro threading a pass through to Defoe, who prodded his shot under the advancing Guzan.

And on 61 minutes Spurs doubled their lead, ironically after a Villa attack had broken down when the Londoners cleared Benteke's low centre.

Breaking quickly through the middle, Tottenham were assisted initially by Clark's misplaced pass and then Herd's hesitancy, which allowed Bale to dart through, take the ball past Guzan and slot home comfortably.

Bale claimed his second in the 72nd minute, drilling home a low 12-yard shot following Lennon's short pass and completed his hat-trick six minutes from time after sub Gylifi Sigurdsson had set up the chance.

Villa: Guzan; Herd, Clark, Baker (Ireland 45); Lowton, Westwood (Albrighton HT), El Ahmadi, Delph, Bennett; Holman, Benteke. Unused subs: Given, Bowery, Bannan, Lichaj, Carruthers.

Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Gallas, Vertoghen, Naughton; Lennon, Sandro, Dembele (Parker 67), Bale (Townsend 85); Adebayor (Sigurdsson 80), Defoe. Unused subs: Friedel, Dawson, Livermore, Caulker.

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