Season | 2020-21 |
Matchday | #32 |
League Match | #28 |
Manager Game | #115 |
Sunday, 21 March 2021
Premier League | Home | Tottenham Hotspur | Villa Park | Behind closed doors |
Manager | Dean Smith |
KO | 19.30 |
Referee | Mike Dean |
HT Score | 0-1 |
FT Result | Lost |
FT Score | 0-2 |
Last 5 Games | WLDDL |
League Position | 10th | -1 |
Morgan Sanson replaces Jacob Ramsey in midfield as Matty Cash returns in place of Ahmed Elmohamady,
Captain Jack Grealish is once again ruled out through injury. Dean Smith "There was a chance, [Jack] hadn't trained until Friday but is pain free and running now - he'll definitely be back after the international break [3rd April for the Fulham game]"
GK Emiliano Martínez |
RB Matty Cash | BOOKED | 75' |
CB Ezri Konsa |
CB Tyrone Mings |
LB Matt Targett |
M Douglas Luiz |
M John McGinn | BOOKED | 85' |
M Morgan Sanson | SUB OFF | 66' |
W Bertrand Traoré | SUB OFF | 60' |
W Trézéguet | SUB OFF | 79' |
CF Ollie Watkins |
W Anwar El Ghazi for W Bertrand Traoré | 60' |
M Ross Barkley for M Morgan Sanson | 66' |
CF Keinan Davis for W Trézéguet | 79' |
GK Tom Heaton
LB Neil Taylor
RB Ahmed Elmohamady
CB Bjorn Engels
M Marvelous Nakamba
M Jacob Ramsey
Yellow | Matty Cash | 75' |
Yellow | John McGinn | 85' |
Yellow | Matt Targett | 90+2' |
Possession F | 49%
Possession A | 51%
Shots F | 8
Shots A | 9
Shots on Target F | 1
Shots on Target A | 3
Corners F | 5
Corners A | 8
Fouls F | 18
Fouls A | 13
Starting XI Average Age | 25.58 |
Oldest Player | GK Emiliano Martínez | 28.57 |
Youngest Player | M Douglas Luiz | 22.88 |
GK Jed Steer
Injury | 3 |
CF Wesley | Knee, ACL 1 Jan 20 - Unknown |
CB Kortney Hause | Foot, 20 Jan 21 - Unknown |
M Jack Grealish | Leg, 21 Feb - Unknown |
Loaned Out | 2 |
M Conor Hourihane | Swansea City | 20 Jan 20 - 31 May 21 |
RB Frédéric Guilbert | RC Strasbourg Alsace | 31 Jan 21 - 30 Jun 21 |
On this day 21 March 2021
Dean Smith had now delivered one win in seven League games, scored just 6 goals in 10 matches and failed to score more than a single goal in the last 10 games with Villa taking 6 points from a possible 21.
Villa failed to muster a single shot on goal - on target or off - in the first half of a game at Villa Park for the first time since the 2013-14 season under Paul Lambert. Villa's first shot of the game arrived after 58' with Villa already a beaten team.
Dean Smith's "Moscow Moment" had seen Villa's form collapse badly in echoes of the dying days of the O'Neill regime. Villa's hopes of a European spot were now gone and a first top 10 finish in a decade was increasingly unlikely.
With sufficient credit in the bank it was unlikely Smith's position was under imminent threat however major question marks were now building over Smith's ability to motivate the most talented Villa squad of the last 15 years.
Compounding the concerns were the by rote substitutions typical of the Smith era which had consistently showed little prospect or opportunity to alter the course of matches.
*Sunday, 21 March 2021*
Manager Jose Mourinho said it is "sad" Tottenham had to suffer their shock midweek Europa League exit in order to produce the committed performance that saw them secure the victory at Aston Villa which keeps Spurs in the hunt for a top-four Premier League finish.
They were labelled a "disgrace" by captain Hugo Lloris after the 3-0, last-16 second-leg defeat by Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday that saw Spurs throw away a 2-0 aggregate advantage and left their hopes of qualification for next season's Champions League pinned on their league placing.
But Carlos Vinicius' opener and Harry Kane's second-half spot-kick ensured Tottenham made the necessary winning response to climb to sixth in the standings, three points behind Chelsea in fourth.
"OK, I am really happy with that, but it is sad we need such a bad defeat to have this kind of reaction," Mourinho told BBC Sport.
"This should not be a reaction, this should be a permanent state of mind, permanent soul in the team. I think that is our next challenge - to have this standard in terms of effort, commitment, sacrifice.
"Independent of results, this has to be always there to dignify our jobs, the people that love us, the club and the fans. I am a bit sad by realising we can have this soul and we haven't in the last couple of matches.
"I opened my heart as a guy with more than 20 years in football and lots of experiences, I just care that they did it and the next challenge as a group is we do it every match."
An interchange of slick passes between Lucas Moura and Kane following a poor clearance by Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez allowed Vinicius to put Spurs ahead from close range after 30 minutes.
And Kane avoided a potentially nervous finish to the game for his side, sending Martinez the wrong way with his penalty after being fouled by Matty Cash.
Villa, who are 10th and seven points behind Spurs in the Europa League positions, failed to register a shot until the 58th minute in the continued absence of skipper Jack Grealish - and substitute Anwar el Ghazi's powerful drive into the side-netting was as close as they came.
Following an abject display in the north London derby last weekend, Tottenham's season sunk to a fresh low in their humiliating Europa League exit, which led to Mourinho once again questioning the attitude and commitment of his players.
The Portuguese, reportedly fighting to keep his job, responded accordingly by naming seven changes which he hoped would bring "positivity" and "fresh minds" at Villa Park, while Gareth Bale once again started on the bench despite the absence of injured forward Son Heung-min.
Claiming the club's first trophy in 13 years in the League Cup final against Manchester City next month, or securing a top-four league finish, appear the only possible routes by which Mourinho can claim to have brought success this season - and achieving the latter required an immediate response on Sunday.
Having played all 120 minutes on Thursday, Kane was deployed slightly behind Vinicius and was successful in finding space between the Villa lines as Spurs probed for an opening during a cagey start.
The England captain played a key role in Vinicius' opener, threading the ball neatly through to Moura before the Brazilian teed up his compatriot for his ninth goal in as many starts for Spurs in all competitions.
Moura injected energy and directness into his side's attacking play, but a defensively-uncertain Spurs struggled to find a much-needed second goal until Cash's reckless tackle gifted Kane the opportunity to seal the points.
That offered a confidence boost to Mourinho's side, who ended the game on the front foot and will return after the two-week international break with much still to play for despite an otherwise painful week.
Villa begin to fade in race for Europe
A top-half position heading into April marks significant progress for an Aston Villa side which survived by a single point last season, but following a magnificent start to this campaign their season is threatening to peter out.
Once again sorely missing the creativity and intuition of Grealish in the final third, Villa lacked the necessary penetration to seriously trouble a vulnerable Tottenham back-line despite a much-improved second half display.
Smith's side have won only one of their past six games in Grealish's absence with a leg injury, and the manager's pre-match promise that the midfielder will "definitely" return after the international break on 3 April will offer encouragement his side can improve in their final 10 games.
Ultimately it was two errors which cost the hosts, as Villa never recovered once Moura pounced on Martinez' poor clearance, while Cash needlessly felled Kane at the byline.
With their hopes of securing an unlikely European place beginning to look faint after a run of four wins in 15 matches since Boxing Day, Grealish's return simply cannot come soon enough.
"If you make mistakes like we did for their goals and don't create or show much quality in the final third, you are going to lose games," Villa boss Smith told BBC Sport.
"They got numbers behind the ball but we got into the box a number of times and either hit the first man or didn't show the quality needed. That's what's probably lacking with us at the moment."
*Sunday, 21 March 2021*
*Villa manager Dean Smith*
"If you make mistakes like we did for their goals and don't create or show much quality in the final third, you are going to lose games. I thought we started well and got into some really good areas, but lacked quality when we got there.
"They got numbers behind the ball but we got into the box a number of times and either hit the first man or didn't show the quality needed. That's what's probably lacking with us at the moment.
"I still feel we should have a free-kick before their second goal on Matt Targett, if he learns to go down... it's a penalty, Harry's miscontrolled it and he catches him. If Matt Targett goes down on the touchline maybe it doesn't even get there.
"When we had the shut down we kind of lost the momentum, we've been up and down since then.
'Jack Grealish will be back first game after the international break."
"Mistakes [cost us]. I thought we started well and were the better team in the first 30 minutes. We made a mistake and they scored. We got into good areas in the first half. We made a stupid mistake for the penalty.
"Defensively we were solid all game.
"I thought Matt Targett was fouled, he needs to learn to go down maybe. They went on to score the second.
"We can't [just] wait for Jack [Grealish] to come back. The players there, it's their opportunity. Not too many have taken it.
"We've had a good season so far but we're in a bit of a blip. We won't get too downhearted. We'll reflect and work hard. We have a top player coming back for the next game."