By Coral Barry
Tottenham Hotspur can exact revenge on Chelsea by snatching fourth, Dele Alli and Eric Dier are England’s midfield future and other things we learned from Tottenham 3 Aston Villa 1.
Spurs can beat Chelsea to fourth
With a rock-solid defence that has conceded only 10 goals in 11 Premier League games, work rate and invention in midfield and an A-list striker to bang in the goals week in, week out, Spurs look a decent bet to oust Chelsea from the fourth Champions League spot. So cruelly denied that coveted place from their bitter rivals in 2012/13 when Roberto Di Matteo’s side won Europe’s biggest prize and stole the Champions League place that Harry Redknapp’s team had earned for their Premier League position, Spurs can exact the perfect revenge this season by overthrowing the champions.
Alli and Dier the future of England’s midfield
Few would have guessed at the start of the season that Dier would be one of the most impressive defensive midfielders in England or that 19-year-old Alli would be a nailed-on starter for Spurs. The two have not only excelled alongside each other in Spurs’ midfield but represent England’s future. Roy Hodgson was sat in the stands tonight and he must have been encouraged by the combination of silk and steel in the centre of the pitch.
Garde needs to be a miracle worker
It took less than three minutes for Aston Villa to show their new manager exactly what he is dealing with. Ciaran Clarke was oh so easily muscled off the ball by Mousa Dembele and the Spurs man added to the visitors’ woes by driving his finish betwen the legs of Brad Guzan. Garde, looking for every inch like a stern government inspector, might have been encouraged by the second-half rally from his new charges. But this result leaves Villa languishing at the bottom of the table on the back of seven defeats in a row. Garde has an immense challenge ahead of him. How is he going to rejuvenate a Villa side so devoid of organisation and quality? Without an astronomical improvement, the Championship beckons for Villa.
Lamela and Eriksen are working in tandem
In Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen Tottenham have two players completely in tune with one another. The two ran riot in Spurs’ 5-1 demolition of Bournemouth last week and, although not quite as devastating tonight, were still seemingly telepathic in their communication with one another. Before today they had created 40 chances between them and the two combined effortlessly to set up Kane for Spurs’ third.
Pochettino has built upon solid foundations
After such success at Southampton two years ago, Mauricio Pochettino has taken his time to show he can rejuvenate Tottenham, but there are glimpses that he is laying the foundations for a fine team. Sensibly, he has added to the consistent excellence of Hugo Lloris in goal by shaping a solid defence. In Toby Alderweireld, Pochettino has paired the always-impressive Jan Vertonghen with not only a countryman but a centre-back partner of equal power and quality. Some of Alderweireld’s long-range passing is as good as you will see from a defender. Unbeaten since the opening day, Spurs boast the third-best defence in the league and can now move forward knowing they have a solid spine behind them.
By Coral Barry