Football News

Tottenham rout Aston Villa to blow Champions League race wide open

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 15:00, 10 March 2024

Tottenham blew the Champions League race wide open this afternoon with a 4-0 win over Aston Villa in the second city.

The visitors were indebted to James Maddison and Brennan Johnson, who netted within 207 seconds of each other early in the second half before Son Heung-Min and Timo Werner struck in stoppage time.

Maddison’s deadlock-breaker meant Tottenham have scored in all 26 Premier League matches under Ange Postecoglou so far, the best run of scoring from a manager’s first game in the English top-flight since Arthur Rowe at Spurs in the 1950-51 season, when they won the championship (scored in first 27 games).

Overall, this was the 39th consecutive Premier League match they’ve scored in; only fierce rival and neighbour Arsenal produced a longer streak: 55 straight games between May 2001 and December 2002.

Furthermore, the Gunners remain the only side in history to have scored at least one goal in every match of a Premier League season, which they did in 2001/02. Tottenham is on course to match that, but they still have a series of tough fixtures, including trips to St James’ Park and Anfield. Before meeting Liverpool, they face tough matches against Manchester City and Arsenal at home.

Unai Emery, who until today had never lost a Premier League game against Spurs across spells with Villa and Arsenal (four wins and two draws), saw his side end with ten men following skipper John McGinn’s reckless challenge on Destiny Udogie.

It was his first sending-off in his Villa career, with today being his 224th appearance for the club across all competitions.

Villa came into this showdown having won four of their last five Premier League matches, including the last three in a row and would have done their homework regarding Maddison’s threat. It wasn’t heeded, with the England international now directly involved in nine goals across his eight away Premier League appearances for Spurs (three goals and six assists); only in 2022-23 has he had more goal involvement away from home in a single campaign (11 in 16 appearances).

The former Leicester City man has scored in three of his last four appearances at Villa Park (three goals).

Spurs immediately doubled their lead through Johnson, who converted a Son pass before the South Korean scored and became provider again for Werner late on. Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, only Mohamed Salah (118) and Harry Kane (96) have more goals and assists combined in the Premier League than Son (64 goals and 31 assists).

Incredibly, the Spurs captain has six goals in four appearances at Villa Park (one every 58 minutes); among players to play 250+ minutes at a Premier League stadium, only Luis Suárez at Carrow Road (one every 38 minutes) has a better mins/goal ratio than Son at Villa Park.

Even more impressive, each of the last six instances of a Spurs player being directly involved in 3+ goals in a Premier League game has been by Son, with two of the games in this run being away to Villa (one goal and two assists today and a hat-trick in April 2022).

This result, Spurs’ first away win against a team starting the day above them in the Premier League table since February 2022 (3-2 v Man City), ended a three-game winless run on the road and leaves Spurs two points behind fourth-place Villa in the race to reach next season’s Champions League tournament.

Emery, who had never lost to Spurs in the Premier League before this matchday (four wins and two draws), suffered his joint-heaviest home defeat as a manager, equalling a 5-1 loss against Dinamo Moscow in the Russian Premier League in November 2012 (while in charge of Spartak Moscow).

Postecoglou’s side, who is six points ahead of sixth-place Manchester United, crucially has a game in hand, albeit that match is away at Chelsea, but it’s worth stressing their Champions League fate is in their own hands.

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