Struggling Villa Park side host top four chasing visitors from White Hart Lane.
I’m heading to Villa Park to find out what happened after the nightmare before Christmas. I’m not sure what shocked me most about Aston Villa’s capitulation at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, the scoreline itself, the fact it could easily have been 10 or 12-0, or that goalkeeper Brad Guzan looked far and away Villa’s best player.
Was this really the same team that won 3-1 in front of the Kop just a week earlier? A young, vibrant side enjoying positive media headlines at the weekend and looking forward to a League Cup semi-final after winning 4-1 at Norwich recently?
The answer is yes it was the same team and as with most things, I guess the answer lies somewhere in the middle at the moment. They’re not as consistently good as Benteke’s backheel at Anfield suggested, nor as bad as Sunday’s hapless defending indicated.
Inconsistency is going to be a feature this season with such a young team, but Villa fans will live with that provided they feel the overall trend is in the right direction.
Tottenham were left frustrated after Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Stoke, whose defending was everything that Villa’s was not at Chelsea. Two points dropped at home saw AVB’s team slip out of the top four into sixth place in what is currently a very tight race for those Champions League spots.
Spurs have got a good recent record against Villa and the odds favour them heavily here against a club with a terrible home record of just three wins from the last 21 in the league at Villa Park.
But there’ll be plenty of interest in seeing how Villa respond just three days after the club’s worst ever defeat in 3,936 games of top-flight football.
SOURCE: BBC Sport
Kick-off: 17.30 GMT.
TV: Highlights, BBC ONE Match of the Day.
Aston Villa (Possible, 4-4-1-1): Guzan; Baker, Herd, Clark, Lichaj; Lowton, Bannan, Holman, Westwood; Weimann; Benteke.
Out: Bent (hamstring), Gardner (knee), Dunne (groin), Petrov (illness).
Tests: Vlaar (calf), Agbonlahor (thigh).
Tottenham (Possible, 4-4-2): Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen; Lennon, Dembélé, Parker, Bale; Adebayor, Defoe.
Out: Kaboul (Knee).
Tests: Assou-Ekotto (match fitness), Dempsey (groin)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Matches 9, R4 Y34).
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last eight matches against Aston Villa (W5, D3) since a 2-1 home defeat in September 2008.
Villa have won only one of their last seven fixtures against Spurs at Villa Park. Four of those games ended 1-1, including the most recent encounter on the penultimate weekend of last season when Villa secured their Premier League safety.
Defeat at Stamford Bridge ended a five-game unbeaten Premier League run for Paul Lambert’s side.
There has only been one goal scored in the last three matches at Villa Park – Christian Benteke’s winner against Reading on 27 November.
Villa have taken just 18 points from their last 21 home league matches (W3, D9, L9).
Paul Lambert’s side are the Premier League’s joint lowest scorers alongside QPR and Stoke with 15 goals.
Spurs have lost three of their last four Premier League away games.
Tottenham’s record of four away wins and 16 goals scored on the road is surpassed only by Manchester United.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side have scored in all eight of their Premier League away games this term.
Tottenham have suffered only two defeats in their last 18 Premier League games in the month of December (W10 D6 L2).
SOURCE: BBC Sport
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