Altered Tottenham vanquish vapid Villa
Villas-Boas makes eight alterations but no change to Tottenham’s winning ways
Jan Verttonghen of Tottenham Hotspur grabs the shorts of Nicklas Helenius of Aston Villa during the League Cup third round match at Villa Park . Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Aston Villa 0 Tottenham 4: It will take more than an unforgiving fixture schedule to stop Tottenham Hotspur in their tracks.
Andre Villas-Boas was less them impressed with being asked to play on Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday but a third successive win should help to placate the Spurs manager.
Jermain Defoe’s fifth and sixth goals of the season, a second in three days for Paulinho and another from Nacer Chadli secured Tottenham’s place in the last 16 at the expense of a poor Aston Villa side.
While Spurs looked the much more accomplished team throughout, the complexion of the game may well have changed had the referee Jonathan Moss penalised Jan Vertonghen for a clear professional foul on Nicklas Helenius at the start of the second half.
Helenius was in the penalty area and bearing down on goal when Vertonghen resorted to pulling down the substitute’s shorts. If Helenius shooting off target sporting a pair of white briefs was amusing for many, Paul Lambert failed to see the funny side when Moss awarded a goal kick.
To rub salt into Villa wounds, Paulinho doubled Tottenham’s lead three minutes later when he converted the impressive Lewis Holtby’s corner.
A weakened Spurs lineup that was far too strong for a makeshift Villa team underlined their superiority three minutes from time when Chadli scored at the near post.
Defoe completed the rout with a late fourth.
Tottenham’s opening goal had been coming and the only surprise was it failed to arrive until injury-time at the end of the first half. Defoe had already forced Jed Steer into two decent saves when he beat goalkeeper with a glancing header.
Holtby’s exquisite chipping wedge of a pass dropped behind a static Villa defence and invited Defoe to run in on goal. The striker finished with the minimum of fuss.
Having described this third fixture in six days as “an impossible game for us to play”, Villas-Boas made eight changes to the side that won at Cardiff on Sunday. It is a measure of the strength of Tottenham’s squad, however, that there was no shortage of experience in their starting XI, with the exception of Harry Kane and 20-year-old England youth international Zeki Fryers, making his full debut following a controversial transfer from Standard Liege in January.
Alex Ferguson accused Spurs of “blatant manipulation” when Fryers joined them after a stint in Belgium.
Kane had threatened to put Spurs ahead as early as the fifth minute but Nathan Baker made a superb block.
Villa’s one chance of note in the first half fell to Marc Albrighton, whose angled left-footed shot was clawed away by Brad Friedel.
At the other end, Steer produced a fine one-handed save to keep out Erik Lamela’s left-footed drive after more impressive play from Holtby.
Helenius could and should have had an instant impact at the start of the second half but Vertonghen got away with a blatant foul and the Dane, partially dressed, blazed wide.
Spurs took full advantage of their reprieve when Paulinho volleyed home Holtby’s corner at the near post. Chadli, set up by Defoe, beat Steer at the near post, for the third, before Defoe rounded Steer in the closing seconds to add a fourth. –
ASTON VILLA: Steer, Lowton, Vlaar, Bennett, El Ahmadi (Bowery 46), Sylla, Albrighton, Bacuna, Tonev (Robinson 82), Kozak (Helenius 46). Subs Not Used: Guzan, Clark, Weimann, Johnson.
TOTTENHAM: Friedel, Walker (Dawson 80), Chiriches, Vertonghen, Fryers, Paulinho (Dembele 64), Sandro, Lamela, Holtby, Defoe, Kane (Chadli 73). Subs Not Used: Gomes, Soldado, Naughton, Townsend.
Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire).