It takes some level of awfulness to be one up against Spurs with six minutes left and to walk off the pitch with no points after another loss.
Spurs have been the gift that keeps on giving over recent games, gifting goals, gifting victories and gifting confidence. All three things that Aston Villa have needed since their good start to the season came to a shuddering and complete stop.
Five games without either a point nor a goal – including a game against QPR – the only thing that could get Villa back on track was the visit of Spurs. For 84 minutes it was all going to plan.
Spurs were being very doing their very best to help their hosts in their plight.
While straight from the off Spurs looked interested, Soldado came close with a long range effort, it didn’t last long and once, a few minutes in, Benteke missed his first gilt edged chance with a flying header, it looked like a done deal.
The Belgian was running rings round Kaboul, who was having one of those oh why was he made captain games. While Fazio isn’t the quickest or indeed the best defender he pretty much wins everything in the air. With Kaboul there Benteke was, getting on a cross usually from the left after Rose had been shown up or posted missing again.
Quarter of an hour in this was the route for Villa’s first goal in what seemed like years. Rose complete shambles on the left, cross in and Weimann there to stick out a leg and score.
A recurring theme of Villa balls into the box finding a Villa player. Highlighted expertly by Benteke getting a header in when he was really the only Villa player in the box, surrounded by white shirts.
Further up the park Spurs were hapless and hopeless. Soldado was as per usual playing the killer balls for others, lovely one through to Adebayor, who stumbled and bumbled before meekly shooting too close to Guzan for a pretty easy save.
That wasn’t the highlight of Adebayor’s day though. No that came when he was running for a long ball across the park, completely clueless as to where the ball was before backheeling without knowing at all what he was doing.
The only thing amazing about Adebayor’s performance was that it was cut short by more than 3 minutes. Usually it’s not until the dying minutes before he is replaced, this time Pochettino pulled the plug with a little over half an hour to go. It was still far, far too late.
Soldado of course with the great passing was missing with attempts on goal. A pretty damn easy header a few yards out with a very empty net really looked bad, he completely Miliband’d it.
The rest of the mob just weren’t that bothered. Bar Mason. Mason was the only one imparting any energy on proceedings. Something needed changing at half-time the only problem being you can only change three and what had Pochettino to introduce, when he needed two new fullbacks, one centre-back a striker, some midfield presence. Lamela came on for Eriksen. The latter not doing much, much in the way the latter hadn’t done much previously.
Spurs were just lucky that it was Villa. Benteke just back from injury was having a bit of trouble finding that cow’s arse, if it had been Aguero as I tweeted early on in the game he would have been on his second hat-trick of the day.
Paul Lambert said that the game changed just after the hour when Benteke received his marching orders for a kind of push, slap on Mason after the Spurs’ player had niggled him. Some say that Mason was lucky not to go, one angle looks like he put the head in another angle makes it look less serious. But Benteke had shouldered and kicked out at Lamela before leading to Mason’s shove in his back. Handbags? Yes. A surprise that Spurs came out on the positive side of things? Yes.
Did it change things. Well not really as Spurs got worse after Villa went down to 10 men. Just before Harry Kane had created and missed good chances, seconds after his introduction. But as it went on again as I tweeted it was Villa who should have been embarrassed at the score. Should have been out of sight when a miracle on 84th minute happened. Spurs, scoring, from a corner. Never. Yes it happened.
And what happened six minutes later was even more bizarre, another set piece and another goal. Cometh the hour cometh Harry Kane. This time though unlike at Sunderland it was a goal for Spurs. An expertly taken free-kick, brilliantly cannoned of a Villa player in the wall to wrong foot the ‘keeper.
Villa releasing their inner Spurs. This is what is meant to happen the other way round. Spurs score and then lose a couple of late ones.
An awful display, a clueless display, a gutless display, but a fluky victory. You take ’em but you know it’s papering over a hell of a lot of cracks. And honestly with a number of the players out there a hell of a lot more paper is going to be required before things get better. After all Harry Kane can only play one position, not fullback, centre-back, midfield, left-wing, right-wing, number 10 and number 9.
Spurs now three points off the top 4, that is prime sacking territory for Levy. Hell, Paul Lambert almost got himself the job there.