The good news for Spurs fans is that only 90 minutes now remain of this tortuous season.
Desiccated Spurs Slump To Villa Defeat
Two glaring Sergio Reguilon mistakes condemned Spurs to defeat in their final home game of the season, as Aston Villa came from behind to win 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The left-back scored a wretched own goal and then gifted Villa a winner to leave Tottenham’s hopes of Europa League qualification in serious jeopardy.
This reversal will have stung the 10,000 Spurs fans in attendance all the more, given the vibrant start their side made to the match. The hosts were ahead inside eight minutes. Steven Bergwijn pounced on Marvelous Nakamba’s laborious attempts to control a bouncing ball and toed possession away from the Villa enforcer. Pinballing his way through two challenges, the Dutch winger took one stride inside the box before lashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
That was as good as it got for the North Londoners. Almost immediately upon taking the lead, Spurs surrendered the initiative and regressed to the hesitant football that has seen them slip from relevance in the Premier League. Villa should have been on terms within 90 seconds when Ollie Watkins gave chase to Jack Grealish’s inspired quick free-kick. Clear of the disjointed Tottenham defence, the striker was upended by Hugo Lloris, who slid out to confront him. Referee Craig Pawson satisfied himself that as Lloris had pulled his arms away before skittling Watkins, nothing had been amiss.
The outstanding Grealish was a constant threat down Tottenham’s right, ably assisted by the indefatigable John McGinn. The pair both went close with long shots that had Lloris scrambling across his goal. Anxiety was already peaking among the home supporters when Sergio Reguilon made the first of his two calamitous errors. With 20 minutes played, Nakamba flighted a harmless cross towards the penalty spot. Reguilon, under no pressure, swang a panicked right-foot at the ball, skewing it backwards beyond Lloris’s desperate dive.
What little resolve there had been in the fragile Tottenham rearguard disintegrated with the Spaniard’s blunder. With Harry Winks and Hojbjerg unable to shackle the glowing Grealish, Villa swarmed over Spurs. Five minutes before the interval, Reguilon erred with a straightforward clearance down the line. The ball was blocked and quickly came back to him. Head still spinning, he then attempted a risky ball infield which was easily picked off by Traore. Sprinting into the chasm that had opened on the left of the Tottenham defence, Watkins nudged Traore’s through pass beyond Dier before bobbling a shot past Lloris from close range.
The visitors should have further extended their lead in first-half stoppage time when Eric Dier played Harry Winks into trouble. Grealish instantly measured a perfect through ball to El Ghazi, who from 8 yards failed to hit the target. The hapless Dier was then run off the ball by McGinn, who set Watkins clear for another duel with Lloris. This time the Frenchman was able to block the striker’s shot with a sharp save. Tottenham left the field at the interval to a chorus of boos. And on this performance, at £60 a ticket, who could blame the fans?
Spurs did rally briefly at the start of the second half. Bergwijn had two excellent chances to equalise but was twice denied by fine saves from Emi Martinez. But having seen off that squall of Spurs pressure, Villa saw out the match in some style, even taking the opportunity to blood two teenagers from the bench in the closing stages. One of whom, Carney Chukwuemeka, struck the post with a fierce drive in stoppage time.
The good news for Spurs fans is that only 90 minutes now remain of this tortuous season. After Sunday’s game with Leicester, Daniel Levy faces the most critical summer of his tenure. Somehow the Tottenham chairman must persuade Harry Kane to stick with the club and deliver a manager capable of reinvigorating a squad of players who look utterly shot. Should he fail, Levy’s legacy is in real danger of becoming that of the man who built the world’s most expensive half-empty stadium.
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