open menulivescore

Key talking points as Spurs close the gap on 10-man Villa
Copy icon

Mitchell Fretton
Heung-Min Son was on the scoresheet for Tottenham against Aston Villa
Heung-Min Son was on the scoresheet for Tottenham against Aston Villa

Tottenham staked their claim for a place in the Champions League next season by thrashing top-four rivals Aston Villa 4-0.

Four second-half goals from James Maddison, Brennan Johnson, Heung-Min Son and Timo Werner rounded off a miserable weekend for Unai Emery's side, with their skipper John McGinn also sent off.

Read on for the key talking points from a wet and windy afternoon in Birmingham.

Slow starters

Villa Park was bubbling with anticipation ahead of this crucial clash but the home side struggled to get to grips with things in the opening minutes.

Emery opted to shift his side into a back-five, leaving Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey isolated in attack and relying on long balls over the top.

But as the game progressed, the Villans settled into the change of shape and were able to even up the contest after a dominant start from Spurs.

Risk and reward

With the stakes high, neither team looked willing to go gung-ho to score goals, which represented the complete opposite of the reverse fixture in North London.

Villa, as they usually do, were depending on the pace of their forwards and Spurs were growing frustrated with the hosts' compact formation — often resorting to swinging aimless crosses into the box.

For all the hype in the build-up, the reality was that this game needed a special moment to spark it into life.

Maddison's moment

That moment came just five minutes into the second half when Maddison turned home a Pape Matar Sarr cross to give Spurs the lead.

As expected, the game opened up following the goal and it was the away side who took the initiative, doubling down and quickly scoring a second through Johnson.

The stunned silence around Villa Park that followed the second strike also represented the mood of the players, who looked far from the side that have been received critical acclaim from all corners this season.

Madness from McGinn

John McGinn was sent off for Aston Villa
John McGinn was sent off for Aston Villa

As if things could not get any worse for Villa, McGinn had a moment of madness when flying through the side of Spurs full-back Destiny Udogie, drawing a red card from referee Chris Kavanagh.

It is the captain's first ever Premier League dismissal and his rash decision put his team-mates in an impossible position for the final half hour, all but confirming their defeat.

More crucially, he will now miss up to three games with West Ham, Wolves and Manchester City on the horizon for the Champions League challengers.

Tired legs

As much as Spurs can be praised for their performance, Villa looked noticeably leggy after their Europa Conference League clash with Ajax on Thursday — particularly when collapsing late on.

Ange Postecoglou's side can only play a maximum of 41 games this season, while the Villans were already chalking up that total on Sunday afternoon.

And the extra workload that the Midlands club are having to go through could ultimately prove the difference between the two sides in the race for that all-important fourth spot.


Premier LeagueAston VillaTottenham Hotspur
LiveScore logo

LiveScore: Live Sport Updates

Footbal Scores & Sports News

App storeGoogle play