Spurs 1 – 2; Top 4 and justifying ourselves

The word “breathless” was used a few times in the commentary I listened to and it was a very apt description for this game.
I think we all sort of had an idea of how the game was going to go, with the high line being played by both sides, but I never thought it would be played at such a consistently frantic pace. The international break obviously benefitted both sides

The big question has to be how on earth did we manage to come away from the game with a superb win?
If I was a neutral football supporter, watching say, Man Utd win 2-1 in that game, I’d quite simply have said it was down to luck. I think some of that defintely applied today, but the saying “a good team makes it’s own luck” applied too.
And while on the face of it, it may have seemed like we we battered today, the stats don’t quite tell the same story.
Tottenham had 18 shots versus our 15. 8 shots were on target, compared to our 5 and 9 were off compared to our 8.
That doesn’t seem right somehow, particularly with Son having 3 goals disallowed for offside.
Yet then again, that isn’t really luck on our part. It’s more a demonstration of how well we play the high line. Indeed, before the game there was a table of teams and how many times they had caught the opposition offside. Spurs are doing well with 38 times to put them in second place. Villa top that table with a stonking 58 times. That’s some difference and it’s a massive part of our game.
Which is good, because we weren’t really at it today, especially in the first half. Konsa at right back wasn’t working with Cash ahead of him and I thought after about 15 minutes that it needed changing. Bringing on Bailey wasn’t the change I’d have had in mind though because he’s not so good at tracking back and I think the right wing area is one that Emery will be looking to improve when he can. That’s not to say I thought Bailey did poorly today. He does add options and I felt he was better than Cash. I just wish he wouldn’t keep tripping over his own feet.

Tielemans was a good addition and I’m guessing he must be quite rightly wondering when he’s going to get a sustained run in the side. It’s great that we have a player with his ability who can’t get a start regularly though and does show how we’ve seriously improved the squad in some areas.
Talking of subs, how good was it to see Ramsey again? I’m sure he’ll add to the side and it’s good timing too. Likewise, it was nice to see Duran get minutes as it was hopefully an indicator that he’s not totally out of the picture.

I did find one thing frustrating and it was what I thought was Ollie Watkins’ glaring miss. A replay showed that their defender had actually done well in blocking it and it should have been a corner, whereas the ref (who I thought was mostly okay) gave a goal kick.
For all his correct protesting, Ollie got a yellow card, which stinks.
Everything else got VAR’d to death, so why didn’t that incident?

Man of the match is a tough call as I don’t think anyone really stood out, but if pushed, I would possibly give it to Martinez, because I can think of at least two saves that kept us in the game.

So while Spurs were no doubt better than us today, how often have we seen the usual teams scrape wins when they really shouldn’t have? Usually the phrase “lucky (insert your own swear word here) comes to mind. But on this occasion, I’m quite happy to have it applied to us and doesn’t it make a refreshing change?
We beat a team in the top 4, which is something we’ve struggled with for years.
And if we can get something against Man City, well…

I’m still daring to dream.



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  1. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 November 26, 2023 at 5:32 pm . Reply

    Just want to mention ‘El Tel’.

    Like Bobby Robson, I loved him as manager of England. He rose above club loyalties and, like Robson, was very unlucky not to guide England to an international cup win. Their teams played joyous, attacking football which was great to watch.

    Now we have Southgate – who should hang his head in shame with his terrible, boring football and his hypocritical, disingenuous approach.

    It doesn’t matter what he ‘achieves’ he will never be remembered like Robson and Venables.

    RIP El Tel.

  2. Ardent Villain
    Ardent Villain November 26, 2023 at 6:07 pm . Reply

    While I thought that Spurs had us under the cosh for about half the game, by the time it got to around 70 minutes it felt to me as if there was only going to be one winner; every time we got the ball forward after Bailey came on it looked as if we would score another.

    Cash had a bit of a ‘mare – I thought he was lucky to stay on the pitch as long as he did. Martinez was superb, as was McGinn, but my MOM would be Luiz; he was always at the heart of everything good that we did.

  3. Texas Villan
    Texas Villan November 26, 2023 at 6:57 pm . Reply

    I felt like Emery got his tactics completely wrong first half. Cash should have started at RB – although Carlos did have a decent game and deserved to start. Tielemans should start next few games (and deservedly so – he’s played his way into contention after what appeared to be public whining), given Kamara’s suspension.

    We really struggled to get a handle on the game the first half, and we seemed to be too slow to every chase of the ball, every tackle. Spurs did a good job of frustrating us and I thought we were in for a battering. I think one thing about this current Villa team is we’ve gotten self-belief in the game plan. We know if we stick it, on most occasions we can claw our way back in. But I saw a lot of schoolboy misplaced passes, and what is it with our players CONSTANTLY slipping and losing their footing. I saw Digne, Ollie, Bailey all do it today. Maybe I wasn’t looking but didn’t see a single Spurs player do it.

    Really not sure what’s going on with Diaby – I wonder if he’s frustrated or carrying a niggle because he looked way off the pace today and was totally the right call subbing him.

    I was hoping Moreno would get a run out today but hope he and JJ get minutes under their belt vs Warsaw this week.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 November 26, 2023 at 7:18 pm . Reply

      With you on Diaby Texas.

      It’s ever since I put him in my fantasy football team. All my Villa family are pleading with me to take him out 🙂

    2. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain November 26, 2023 at 7:27 pm . Reply

      TV, you’re bang-on about Villa players slipping & falling over.
      I’m convinced that part of this is to do with the so-called ‘football boots’ they’re wearing… but either way it was embarrasing.

      It also irked me that quite a few of ours’ would fall down/go over and sit on the floor when the ref had clearly signalled that he was not going to give them a foul; meanwhile Spurs would carry-on and attack. We seem to be making a bit of a habit of this.

      1. Texas Villan
        Texas Villan November 26, 2023 at 7:51 pm . Reply

        100% agree with that last statement. In fact, Diaby was one of them and then he got hauled off. Seems Emery noticed it too.

  4. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson November 26, 2023 at 7:58 pm . Reply

    Well it’s got me keep looking at the table, when was the last time it had us sitting pretty? yes we had our hearts in our mouths but so did Tottenham, I clocked Diaby and his input he only has speed and doesn’t tackle, twice he dropped his arms in disgust and didn’t make any attempt to tackle. as for Cash he got caught time after time it was inevitable he was going to get booked. Uni clock that hence the substitute for all three and it made the game more heart warming for us fans . Remember we missed a lot of chances and yes Martinez’s saved the day but it’s made clubs fear us now that’s for sure .

  5. Sidforever
    Sidforever November 26, 2023 at 8:32 pm . Reply

    Good analysis Texas.

    I thought as the second half progressed Spurs were running out of steam. Further, we were not as clinical as we should be. I felt there were opportunities to make it 1-3 but we overplayed or didn’t look to push home the advantage.

    That said, a great result. Away record now W3 D1 L3. In those away matches we have played Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea and Spurs. This leaves Arsenal, Man City & United of the so called top teams. After that with Unai I would expect a very good away record to develop.

    Wow we are 4th, 2 points off the league leaders, with over 1/3rd of the fixtures completed.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain November 26, 2023 at 9:52 pm . Reply

      And yet… I took a quick look at the write-ups after the game: Guardian, Indy, Mirror, Telegraph, BBC; all were the same – bleating on about ‘brave’ Spurs and their injuries/suspensions, and basically that we were ‘lucky’.

      Not any recognition as far as I could see that we came back from 1-0 down and beat them at home, nor that we could have had 3 or 4, just as they could. The media still don’t take us seriously – we’re only up there by luck…

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 November 27, 2023 at 6:57 am . Reply

        Not surprising really Ardent.

        Birmingham and the Midland Heartlands – the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution which drove the wealth of this country – have all but ‘disappeared’ from the map.

        In todays Footballing World only London, Manchester or Liverpool are worthy it seems. Even Leicester winning the EPL was, and is still, seen as a fluke never to happen again!

        1. Ardent Villain
          Ardent Villain November 27, 2023 at 10:19 am . Reply

          I suppose that you’re right. In the ‘old days’ all of the national print media were based in London & Manchester, and old habits die hard.

          Today the BBC chooses to broadcast all their sports content from Salford – and again are obsessed with “Utd.”, L’pool, etc.

          The rest of the country doesn’t exist in terms of sport…

  6. Adam
    Adam November 27, 2023 at 8:47 am . Reply

    We have to beat Bournemouth now to solidify this position and then see what magic Emery can deliver with City and Arsenal over a 6 day period. I’d take 2 draws as of now, I’d take one defeat and one win also. But. Can we do the impossible and win both!? Now that would be a statement and a half.

  7. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum November 27, 2023 at 8:53 am . Reply

    I was out walking in the Lake District during our match so totally missed it. It was very funny to read the comments when Spuds were on top knowing the final score. MOTD2 made it look like a very even match. Glad that players who haven’t featured as much like Bailey and Tielmans are having a serious impact when they play as no club has used the same players as much as Villa have this year. Burnout is a real possibility, especially with injuries. Great to see Moreno and JJ on the bench. Like having 2 new players! I still think we’ll see a couple of loans or suprise purchases in January.
    Can’t wait to get home and watch the full game!!!

    1. Texas Villan
      Texas Villan November 27, 2023 at 2:43 pm . Reply

      I read a lot of the final comments on BBC and they were very sore losers. It was pretty disrespectful tbh. I’d previously only seen Barcode and Leeds fans like that, so sad to add Spurs fans to that list of fans that you can’t have friendly, yet honest banter with.

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson November 27, 2023 at 9:16 am . Reply

    What bad luck Bum Bum out walking in cold weather when you could have see a great game of football from Villa . Never mind get home as Quick as you can it will cheer you up watching that match . 😇

  9. OLL again
    OLL again November 27, 2023 at 4:36 pm . Reply

    Unai is well known for his intense analysis of opponents and meticulous instructions to Villa players about what to expect. I reckon the reason Villa looked so rocky early on is that they did not know what to expect from a team with 9 players out, and Villa must surely have reckoned Spurs would field their one available centreback, Dier, who has done well against us. Ange pulled a fast one there and Villa had to learn on the job. The frantic pace was better coped with by Villa’s regular 90 minutes players than by Spurs off the bench squad, who faded badly.

    Cash has a weakness, he isn’t big or heavy by average EPL standards, and he wasn’t going to beat that big Spur unless pace was involved, and it wasn’t in midfield. That his shin to shin foul saw Bentacur off means Bentacur was still fragile from injury.

    There was talk of Villa bidding for Brennan Johnson – no thanks. We have Watkins to miss enough chances without employing another wasteful striker.

    An odd fact: the last time Villa lost in London was the Fulham debacle that cost Gerrard his job, Emery’s team has not been beaten.

  10. BFR
    BFR November 27, 2023 at 7:27 pm . Reply

    Unai Emery walks on water! Nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah, nah nah… 🎶 🎵

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum November 27, 2023 at 9:19 pm . Reply

      To the tune of…???

      1. OLL again
        OLL again November 27, 2023 at 11:35 pm . Reply

        Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
        Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
        ‘Tis the season to be jolly:
        Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
        Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel,
        Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
        Troul the ancient Christmas carol.
        Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

        1. BFR
          BFR November 28, 2023 at 10:48 am . Reply

          Haha, that’s the one OLL! 🙂

          1. Bum Bum
            Bum Bum November 28, 2023 at 4:37 pm . Reply


          2. The Ron Saunders Stand
            The Ron Saunders Stand November 28, 2023 at 4:54 pm . Reply

            “Football’s lawmakers on the International FA Board (IFAB) will meet at a Heathrow hotel to confirm changes for next season which would extend its powers to free-kicks, corners and second yellow cards.”

            Ho ye gods no!
            Like waiting five minutes for some bod at Stockley Park to find ANY reason to disallow a goal isn’t painful enough and as a consequence suck the joy out the game? Now it’s going to be the same bulls**t for corners, free kicks and any other minor infractions.
            I truly do despair.

            1. Bum Bum
              Bum Bum November 28, 2023 at 5:07 pm . Reply

              On Talk Shite they said it’s not going to happen…But it was Talk Shite…so anything can happen!!!

            2. Bum Bum
              Bum Bum November 28, 2023 at 10:49 pm . Reply

              They are however trialling sin bins FFS…

  11. Badger123
    Badger123 November 29, 2023 at 8:25 am . Reply

    I’d be ok with the sinbin for dissent.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 November 29, 2023 at 10:14 am . Reply

      And for cynical (deliberate) fouls to break up an attacking move. OK a yellow card is issued but a yellow card plus 10 minutes off the pitch might make defenders think twice. Worth a trial at least.

      I also read PMGOL are looking at a ‘clear air’ rule (between defender / attacker) on VAR offside reviews rather than these ridiculous toe nail marginal decisions which are clearly not ‘clear and obvious’ errors. If so, that at least, would be a move to define ‘clear and obvious’ and speed up the decision process. It also gives the benefit of doubt to the attacker which I think is the right way to go.

      Might not help our high line though!

      In other news Philogene netted another two for Hull last night.

      1. The Ron Saunders Stand
        The Ron Saunders Stand November 29, 2023 at 3:33 pm . Reply

        Unai Emery: ‘I want to stay at Aston Villa for a long time’
        And a Merry Christmas to you to St. Unai 😁

  12. Badger123
    Badger123 November 29, 2023 at 5:45 pm . Reply

    It makes perfect sense to me.
    I’ve said it before. There is no reason whatsoever that Emery would want to leave the club.

    1. I don’t believe for one minute that money is his main motivator and I’m convinced we’re paying him top dollar anyway, so that won’t attract him.

    2. He has a certain thought process about him that’s quite rare in that he’s very single minded. I read an article this morning where he had apparently said that he got the bullet from Arsenal because he was totally focussed on the football and didn’t think enough about the politics and diplomacy needed. We allow him to continue to just concentrate on the footy.

    3. We’re perfect for him. We were on the brink of relegation when he came in. Just imagine how it would be, when his whole working life is about constant improvement, for him to take us to the highest level of the game.
    That’s what he wants and he knows he can get it here. He has been given pretty much ultimate control of the running of the club and he knows the owners will back him.
    I fully believe he has it in him to become as legendary to us as Ron is.

    He can’t get that at Barce or Real or Citeh. Even if he won a boatload for them, it wouldn’t be anything special, would it?

    I’m fully confident that he means what he’s said there.

    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand November 30, 2023 at 4:14 pm . Reply

      Agree 100% with that Badger, he appears to be a man on a mission, his tenure as the Master Goooner did us a massive favour.

  13. Holte
    Holte November 29, 2023 at 9:05 pm . Reply

    Unai Emery is the 3rd best manager in the premier league. Guardiola and Klopp have league titles although achieved at clubs which were considered the ones to win trophies. Emery has had success with clubs not expected to win trophies.
    His biggest challenge will be keeping his best players. Luiz is one of those and Arsenal, Liverpool and Citeh are ready to sign him according to the media. As much as I would like to think our top players will stay, the reality is they will be influenced by champions league football and more likely success. Guardiola and Klopp plus huge wages will be an influence.
    It’s the best way for the Sky 6 or 7 to stop clubs like Villa from challenging them if they continually poach our best players.
    Emery and our owners are very ambitious and the next couple of transfer windows will identify whether we are there for the long run or still a breeding club for the big boys.

  14. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum November 30, 2023 at 8:19 am . Reply

    Luiz is in the £80m+ bracket now. He’d be a bit part player at Citeh. We’re pretty much on par with Arse at the moment so wouldn’t sell to a direct competitor and they can’tafford him. Pool are on the same points as us and who’d want to move to Liverpool and get their radio nicked every day? Utd are a basket case as are Chelsea. Spuds or the Barcodes? Nah.
    If we end up mid table or worse then i could see players being tapped up but the point is, it’s Unai who’s made them all much better players. Would another manager sustain that? If i was a player I’d effing jump at the chance to join Villa at the moment! No dickheads. No big time Charlie’s.
    Roll on 8pm!!!
    (P.s. I’d love to be a fly on the wall and know who we’ve got our eye on January!!!).

  15. OLL again
    OLL again November 30, 2023 at 10:42 am . Reply

    Sin Bins
    The Rugby correspondent in the Times is warning football about introducing sin bins, and making a good point that a players should only be binned for repeat dissent. I think maybe also for the second player in any team to make a cynical foul. Kompany and his Citeh team mates had those down to an art form but the same player did not commit 2, it was always different players.
    Corruption of referees
    The extension of VAR and sin bins is dangerous. The facts are visible to thousands at the stadium and millions on TV. An opinion is invisible, and easily bought. The penalty awarded to PSG was a corrupt decision. The revelations about the extent to which Barcelona paid referees has been downplayed, but it cannot be erased. It is worth a lot of money to various people for PSG not to be knocked out of the Champions League, and the Arab owners are from a country where bungs are the norm. The VAR official has been suspended today but the damage is done and he and the ref may be substantially rewarded.
    Star player bagging
    I am sure the big four (as was) were in cahoots about any team threatening to muscle in. One of them would buy that team’s star player even though they did not need him, and maybe the cost was spread around. But if Arsenal, Citeh or Liverpool did try to buy Luis the fate of Grealish should be a warning. He is nothing but a hod-carrier at Citeh – ruined, and now he plays pass-it-back-Jack for England as well.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain November 30, 2023 at 1:20 pm . Reply

      Strong stuff OLL.
      Not in favour of ‘sin-bins’ personally, just another thing to slow games down, and yet another point where on-field decisions will be subject to VAR-interfernece.
      On the corruption side, the CL has been tainted with these issues almost from the day it was created. Having owners who are actually governments has made it worse, in that all decisions seem to have the ‘diplomatic’ / ‘political’ element attached now, not just ‘money’. I don’t know how it could be done, but I’d like to see all government-owned or controlled companies to be barred from any form of football-club ownership; unfortunately I think that horse has already bolted…

      As for Grealish – Citeh never needed him – he was always going to be second-best behind their home-grown Foden. Just as has happened to his England career. Still, he has the medals and the money, so who cares about the football?

    2. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand November 30, 2023 at 2:18 pm . Reply

      Great comment OLL and as Ardent says ‘strong stuff’ but not too wide of the mark me thinks.

    3. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum November 30, 2023 at 2:54 pm . Reply

      With the super rich teams, if another side possessing a star player like Grealish can deny the likes of Citeh 6 points every season – which leads to the title yet again – it’s worth them splashing out on that star player just so no-one else can have him. Chelsea did it for years. Look how it’s ruined Kalvin Phillips too…Fully agree about state owned clubs. It stinks.
      With regards to Newcastle at PSG, that penalty was corruption personified…

  16. Badger123
    Badger123 November 30, 2023 at 5:37 pm . Reply

    See, I watched the PSG game and the ref gave Newcastle loads of decisions. With the actual Pen incident, I honestly couldn’t call it as a neutral. I think the way they play handball is stupid now, but I don’t think it was a corrupt decision.
    And then I saw a very similar incident in the Arse game last night and it wasn’t given.
    It’s this inconsistency that winds me up.

    Anyway I’m thinking what to write about tonight. It’s not easy telling fans what I’m sure they already know.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum November 30, 2023 at 6:48 pm . Reply

      Whatever you thought Badger, the VAR ref has been suspended FIFA thought the decision was so bad. Shocking stiff really.
      If you’re gonna write a quick article about tonight Badger, you’d better get cracking!!! KO in an hour!!!!

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