Spurs 1 – 2 Villa: A proper turn up for the books.

Well, I didn’t expect that!
When was the last time we beat Tottenham on their own patch? I really don’t have the foggiest.

I like playing Spurs. They’re a club known for playing football as it should be played and the games are generally entertaining, even though we have a major tendency to lose them.

But wow, they were poor tonight.
That’s not to take anything away from our performance, I hasten to say. I firmly believe we made them look poor because there were excellent performances all over the pitch on our part.

Martinez was excellent and kept us in the game a few times. His reation saves have done that for us a lot this season and he surely has to be in the running for club player of the year. He could probably be in the running for Premier league player of the year, but goalies don’t generally get a look in do they?

Matt Targett was excellent too and I really don’t remember him putting a foot wrong. I constantly criticised him last season, but this year there’s been very little to complain about. He’s easily the most improved player and probably our best left back in a long while.

Konsa played right back, in place of Matty Cash and the truth is I hardly noticed him. I suspect that in this performance, this was a good thing.

A deep breath then and I thought Mings was outstanding. There, I’ve said it.
Seriously though, he marshalled the defence well and got in the way of plenty, exactly like a decent centre half should. If he keeps playing like that, I’ll have to talk him up some more.

Hause never really caught my attention either, but somehow he never does, really. He just keeps doing his job. Again, that’s good.

Nakamba slipped up to give Spurs their goal on a plate, but went on to make up for it with a very solid performance.
I’m never worried when he steps in and indeed have complained about him being dropped so Luiz can come straight back in. It must take some doing to not play for a while, but then come back in for the odd game and keep dishing out decent performances.

McGinn seems back to his best. One piece of skill sticks in the mind and it was almost a case of how can a midfielder who works that hard do something like that? He worked his guts out, simple.

Traore was the fly in the ointment.
In fairness, he did press Reguilon for our second goal, but he was the epitome of one of my biggest criticisms, which was to not take too many touches and shoot straightaway. There were a few players guilty of delaying the shot, but Traore probably did it five or six times. In a game where we we really could have done with a third goal, it was annoying.

Grealish started, which really surprised me and he was pretty good, considering he’s had a spell out. I didn’t think he looked as sharp as usual, as you’d expect, but it wasn’t an issue and he still terrified the opposition. I’ll bet Mr Levy wished he hadn’t been so tight when he was interested.

El Ghazi? He was okay. He did link up quite well on the left, but loses points for missing what should have been a straightforward goal. The club’s best finisher should have done better.

Watkins. I thought he did okay. I’ve seen it said that he’s too wasteful, given the chances he’s had this season, but I think that’s unfair. It’s true to say that he was guilty of not taking chances, but he did score the winner and I’ll happily take that. He’s had a great season and I don’t think for one minute his performance tonight warrants any complaints on my part.

And then, possibly the biggest talking point after the result was Dean Smith finally blooding Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace. The pair came on and showed all the exuberance of youth with no fear at all. I suspect they’d been told to just get stuck in, without being daft and they did. Neither looked out of place and Chukwuemeka even hit the post. How good would it have been if he’d scored?
I’m always dubious about kids coming into a fixture like this, but fair play to Smith, he called it perfectly and hopefully both will get even longer against Chelsea.

All in all, it was a great performance, especially when you consider we had nothing to play for.
But it massively wrankles with me that Spurs are challenging for Europe, yet looked so, so poor.

I’m going to look back at this season as “if only”, I just know it.

36 Comments

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  1. HOLTE
    HOLTE May 21, 2021 at 1:27 pm .

    The FA Youth Cup final is on Monday 7.45pm live on BT Sports, venue Villa Park! You’re probably right Hitch that there is unlikely to be kids playing against Chelsea because of this.

    If we do have nominations for player of the season then for me it is Martinez, closely followed by Watkins and Targett.

    Best performance of the season is a tough call. STEVEP1874 mentioned Arsenal away which was definitely our best overall start to finish performance but i still enjoyed hammering Liverpool 7 – 2 more because we owed them one at Villa Park. We all agree that we need a few major signings in the summer. If we could all choose 3 players for £100m total, who would be on the wishlist? I would go full throttle for Neto from Wolves and Pereira from Albion. I have also been impressed with Conor Gallagher and would definitely prefer him over Barkley.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 21, 2021 at 1:43 pm .

      How many seasons is it since we could say a number of players are real contenders for player of the season.

      This alone shows real progression

    2. Guest
      Guest May 21, 2021 at 4:25 pm .

      £100 million and you pick those three? Really?

      Abraham, buendia, berge

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 May 21, 2021 at 5:43 pm .

        Buendia unlikely to come to Villa from Norwich.

        Berge is definitely a player that we could go for although there seems to be a lot of interest in him.

        I like Pereira though.

        Not really sure about Abraham at the rumoured £40m – that seems a lot to me.

        At the end of the day though it’s all about opinion isn’t it?

      2. Holte
        Holte May 21, 2021 at 6:55 pm .

        Buendia who has done very well in the championship v Pereira who has done well in the premier league.
        Berge could be decent although he hasn’t played much v Gallagher who has been one of Albion’s stand out performers.
        Abraham who hasn’t played much for Chelsea (and would force Watkins out wide because Smith won’t start with two up front) v Neto who is a natural wide man and is an improvement on Traore.
        Actually why not all six? 🙂

        1. Big Fat Ron
          Big Fat Ron May 21, 2021 at 10:07 pm .

          Tammy is worth 40 million all day long in my view. Guaranteed 20 + league goals a season with good service, which he’ll get, and he’s still nowhere near his peak. An England international who’s played CL football. And he has an affinity with the club and fans. No brainer.

          As for the other 60 million? I’ve not seen enough of Berge to judge, nor Pereira. What I will say is that they didn’t do well enough to not get relegated. I would always go for the best players from promoted sides, rather than relegated. By definition, you’re picking winners over losers and that positive winning feeling they have will be injected into the dressing room. So for me, it’s Buendia and Sarr at Watford for the ’10’ and holding midfield roles. Would love to see Gibbs-White arrive from Wolves and flourish at VP, also.

          Should be an exciting summer with England being in with a real chance of winning the Euros, too! Let’s hope Covid is gone by August and let the good times roll again!

          UTV

          1. Big Fat Ron
            Big Fat Ron May 21, 2021 at 10:28 pm .

            P.s.
            If the club are serious about ‘Chuky’, I really don’t see any reason to sign a wide man, especially if Tammy signs. Ollie would then be a wide forward option and Jack also plays there, so it would be pointless with Anwar and Bert also looking decent, despite very harsh criticism of them from some of us who think every player needs to be world class to be worthy of the AV shirt.

            1. Hitchens60
              Hitchens60 May 22, 2021 at 5:38 am .

              BFR – absolutely agree.

              There was some paper talk about Villa signing a winger because Trez is out for the first half of next season. If true it’s a complete and utter waste of money unless the player we sign is a big improvement on what we already have.

              So if Trez is in Smith’s plans for the immediate future we don’t need to spend precious resources on some unknown stop gap when we already have highly rated young players of our own.

          2. Guest
            Guest May 22, 2021 at 6:43 am .

            Absolutely spot on BFR

  2. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 21, 2021 at 4:15 pm .

    Nuno leaving Wolves – does that mean players like Neves and Neto or even Jimenez might be more inclined to move on?

    1. Holte
      Holte May 21, 2021 at 5:12 pm .

      If Nuno goes to Spurs I would expect some of Wolves better players to join up with him.

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 May 21, 2021 at 5:39 pm .

        Interesting that the BBC are saying he has found it difficult in the Pandemic bring away from family and he is going to take time to consider his next move.

        It suggests to me that he might be looking for a move to Portugal or even Spain – Real Madrid?

    2. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron May 21, 2021 at 9:58 pm .

      Hitch, I think we should seriously consider Morgan Gibbs-White. Massive potential if he has the right attitude. He wouldn’t command a massive fee as not yet fully established in the PL. I like what I’ve seen and think he’d be an excellent addition add even more energy to the engine room.

      As an aside, Nuno has done a magnificent job there; I can see his career taking a similar trajectory to Pochettino.

  3. Holte
    Holte May 21, 2021 at 7:00 pm .

    I like Nuno and I hope he stays in the premier league. Full respect to him if he moves back to be closer to family. I would imagine he could command a bigger wage staying in England.

  4. Guest
    Guest May 22, 2021 at 1:23 pm .

    Buendia and Periera are too different kinds of players, buendia plays through the middle, he was excellent last season also so already has done it in the PL, he destroyed Man City in their 3-2 win and has been called up to the Argentine squad, if Villa really wanted to show ambition they sign them both, doubtful though, but if had to choose I’d take Buendia.

    Gallagher doesn’t do it for me, I’d rather Berge as at 6’5 is an absolute powerhouse and we need someone good in the air in the middle of the park.

    Abraham is a no brainer.

    With Watkins on the right wing.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 22, 2021 at 1:31 pm .

      It seems a lot fans see Watkins playing wider off a central striker which he did very successfully at Brentford. He runs the channels well and his movement is first class plus what an engine!

      Does Smith see it that way though?

  5. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 22, 2021 at 9:14 pm .

    Aguero to Leeds rumours emerging. Villa should be all over that! We’ve moaned about a weak bench with no options this season. We’re at the stage now where strength in depth is what’s needed to get to the next level. Imagine being able to select from Jack, Ollie, Tammy, Aguero, Anwar, Chuck, and Bert! Would be able to rest players without weakening the team and a real go at winning a cup would be more realistic!

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 23, 2021 at 7:25 am .

      Not sure I buy that BFR – the key word being ‘rumoured’. But it, no doubt, is excellent click bait!

      It’s been widely reported he’s close to agreeing a deal to join Barcelona – why would he sign for Leeds when he clearly wants to continue playing in Europe?

  6. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 22, 2021 at 10:10 pm .

    Message for a Mr G. Southgate:

    Ezri Konsa has blocked more shots than any other player in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season (46).

  7. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 22, 2021 at 10:13 pm .

    Just watching Luc Nilis’ volley against Chelsea back in 2000. I was there to see Ginola – even bought the shirt, but he was injured! Nilis didn’t disappoint, though. Poetry in motion that goal. What happened to him was such a damn shame. Who knows how high we’d have finished that season had he not collided with the goalie at Portman Road?

  8. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 22, 2021 at 10:15 pm .

    Another message for G. Southgate:

    Matt Targett has made more tackles, blocks and recorded a higher dribbling success rate of any other Premier League left-back this season.

  9. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 23, 2021 at 7:12 am .

    Interesting – Smith said in the Chelsea press conference that (despite a couple of dodgy performances – my words, not his) our defensive metrics had stayed constant throughout season. That’s supported by BFR’s posts plus top notch performances from Martinez, Cash and Mings (yes Badger – even Mings 🙂 ).

    Hause turned in an excellent performance against Spurs and Konsa didn’t look fazed by moving to right back.

    What Smith did also say is that without Grealish we lost our creative edge and that, along with Barkley’s loss of form post his injury and the Covid interruption, accounted for the inconsistent results in 2021.

    I didn’t get the impression he was making excuses but telling it as he saw it.

    Barkley can’t play today and has returned to Chelsea.

    It’ll be interesting to see who starts and who he puts on the bench.

    Play like the last game and we can win against Chelsea who, despite what they say, will have one eye on the European Cup Final.

  10. OLL again
    OLL again May 23, 2021 at 9:21 am .

    I would not buy any player from a team that has just been relegated as a general rule. Perhaps an exception can be made for an attacker who joined the 1st XI late on which might open the window for Pereira. I said on the opening day Sheffield Utd were in serious trouble having bought Ramsdale from relegated Bournemouth. That keeper now has 2 consecutive relegations on his CV.
    I am not sure about Abraham either. His performances for Chelsea worsened rapidly: too often standing offside. I don’t rate him as being able to score with a header when challenged in the air. To me he is now a stand in for Watkins, not somebody to play alongside him.

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