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Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa

Spurs' sorry start to 2023! Tottenham fall to 2-0 home defeat against Aston Villa as Conte's side loses ground in top-four race

18:19 SAST 2023/01/01
Tottenham-Villa split
A lacklustre Tottenham were deservedly beaten by Aston Villa in their first game of 2023 as they lost ground in the top-four race.
  • Spurs lose at home in PL for third time in four games
  • Emery remains unbeaten against Tottenham in Premier League
  • Conte's side have one point since return to action

TELL ME MORE: Tottenham struggled to break down a rigid Aston Villa defence, with Harry Kane and Ivan Perisic spurning their best chances of the afternoon. A huge error from Hugo Lloris allowed Ollie Watkins to tee up Emiliano Buendia for Villa's opener, before a lovely pass from John McGinn was met by an equally good finish from Douglas Luiz to all but seal three points for Unai Emery's side.

THE MVP: Spurs' midfield was without Rodrigo Bentancur as he recovers from an injury suffered at the World Cup with Uruguay, allowing Brazilian Luiz to run the show. The 24-year-old dictated the game and popped up with a delightful goal where he trapped John McGinn's pass expertly before lifting it over Lloris in the Tottenham goal.

THE BIG LOSER: Antonio Conte's appointment promised so much just over a year ago and while Spurs still sit fifth in the Premier League table, they are 13 points behind arch-rivals and current league leaders Arsenal. Liverpool also sit just two points behind them with a game in hand. Much blame lands on Lloris for the opening goal, but Spurs created very little of note, and Conte will have to shoulder much of that burden following his team selection and substitutions.

MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Spurs have a trip to Crystal Palace to think about next, before what should be a relatively straightforward outing against Portsmouth in the FA Cup. After that, they face a crunch match against Arsenal, a fixture which could make or break their season.

MATCH RATING (OUT OF FIVE):