Jack Grealish returned to the Aston Villa starting line-up to help them with a 1-2 victory over Europa League-chasing Tottenham Hotspur. Based on that performance, it’s easy to see why England striker Harry Kane wants to leave North London this summer.
Aswell as Grealish, Dean Smith handed a rare start to Marvelous Nakamba as Tyrone Mings returned to the starting line-up after missing out on the defeat to Crystal Palace through injury.
A marvellous gift
The home side welcomed back 10,000 of their fans and gave them something to cheer about early on.
Nakamba’s heavy touch allowed Steven Bergwign to steal the ball, he shrugged off John McGinn before releasing a thunderbolt into the top corner past Emi Martinez.
Villa reacted well and dominated the remainder of the first half. Tottenham were gifting Grealish way too much space in front of the defence as he started to calve open the Spurs backline.
Smith’s men had a shout for a penalty when Hugo Lloris brought down Ollie Watkins in the box but VAR ruled no penalty. Does anyone remember the Kane penalty at Villa Park earlier in the season?
Spurs return the favour
Just as Nakamba handed Tottenham a gift with their opener, the home side returned the favour as Villa drew level.
Nakamba sent over a hopeful cross which appeared to be a simple clearance for Reguilon, under no pressure, but the left-back sliced his clearance towards his own goal and into the back of the net, beating Lloris.
Villa were really on top at this stage and it wasn’t long before they were in the lead. Once again Reguilon was right in the middle of it. The defender’s clearance deflected off Bertrand Traore before breaking to Watkins in the box. The striker took a left-footed stab at the goal and found the bottom corner.
We then had chances late in first-half stoppage time to put the game out of Tottenham’s reach. Both came from John McGinn winning the ball high up the pitch. First, Anwar El Ghazi could only fire his effort wide of the goal and the Lloris blocked an effort from Watkins.
No second-half collapse
Following their collapse in the second half at Crystal Palace, Villa fans watching from home could be forgiven for worrying about their side’s chances and when Tottenham appeared for the second half they looked more dangerous but it was still Villa who had the better of the chances.
Traore came close but he could only watch on as his curled effort went inches wide of the post. Kane finally tested Martinez with 15 minutes left on the clock but the goalkeeper was equal to the effort denying him from close range.
Tottenham pushed and pushed but if Villa were to have any complaints on the night, it would be, not taking their chances to put the home side out of reach.