Football: Tottenham brushed Aston Villa aside today with a commanding second-half performance which suggests they have the ability to keep pace with their rivals this season at the top of the table.
The home side had to wait until the 57th minute to quash the visitors’ resistance. From a corner by Gareth Bale the ball fell to Jermain Defoe — on his 30th birthday — and the little striker’s effort was turned goalwards by Steven Caulker and beyond Brad Guzan.
The effort was not a thing of beauty, but it brought relief to White Hart Lane. From then on Bale, Defoe and Aaron Lennon were dominant seeking to test the big US keeper in the Villa goal at every turn.
Villa boss Paul Lambert had seen enough by this stage and sent on Darren Bent and Charles N’Zogbia for Marc Albrighton and Fabian Delph after 65 minutes. Before either had managed a touch their side were two down, Lennon skidding a shot low right-to-left into the net.
The second half had began in much the same vein as the opening 45. In general the play from both sides was all too hurried. There were marked differences in approach however. Tottenham were all quick thrusts on the wings, smothered by the visitors who were lying ever deeper — to the frustration of their manager who urged them to “go forward.”
Andre Villas-Boas had sprung a surprise with the inclusion of Hugo Lloris in goal. The French number one displaced Brad Friedel after a remarkable 310 consecutive top-flight appearances stretching back to 2004.
Lloris had to wait one minute to get his first touch, picking a high ball unchallenged to great acclaim from the home fans. He was not troubled again for another 20 minutes when he was forced to palm away a real zinger from Christian Benteke.
Villa still look for all the world like a team with potential, but lacking consistency. With five points from seven games this is the worst start ever for the Birmingham side to a Premier League season.