Player ratings as Spurs run riot in top-four thrashing

Player ratings as Spurs run riot in top-four thrashing

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Four second-half goals helped Tottenham land an important win at ten-player Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon to cut the gap between the teams to two points in the race for fourth place in the Premier League.

An intriguing but chance-less match burst into life as Spurs scored twice in four minutes in the second half before their job was made easier by a senseless challenge from John McGinn that saw the Scottish midfielder sent off.

Tottenham scored two more in second-half stoppage time and remain fifth but rise within two points of Unai Emery’s Villans with a game in hand.

How the game unfolded

Much anticipation was in the air at Villa Park as two enterprising sides strode out for a crucial meeting in the hunt for Champions League qualification. Villa brought in McGinn, Leon Bailey and Matty Cash in three changes from Thursday night’s Conference League draw with Ajax, while Tottenham welcomed back Pedro Porro from injury as Pape Matar Sarr and Brennan Johnson also started.

However, for all the pre-match expectation, no shots on target arrived in the first 45 minutes.

Villa looked weary and without a spark in the opening exchanges, though Spurs couldn’t create any openings despite their dominance in possession.

Micky van de Ven, Porro, and Cristian Romero all made important recovery tackles when Villa sprung on the counter, but it wasn’t until a dizzying opening 15 minutes of the second half when some proper action would finally arrive.

Barely moments after Van de Ven was forced off by injury, the visitors went ahead. Porro and Dejan Kulusevski combined before Sarr was sent scampering down the right hand side. The midfielder’s cross reached James Maddison, who was on hand to bundle in just his fourth Premier League goal of the season.

The Villa Park crowd was far from its most vociferous and then deathly hush became that much more pronounced when Postecoglou’s side capitalised on careless passing at the back from the hosts to extend their lead.

Kulusevski stole in ahead of Youri Tielemans and found Son, who waited for Brennan Johnson to arrive before feeding the Welshman who lifted his shot over Emiliano Martinez for 2-0.

Villa’s home form was the stuff of legend during the first half of the season but Tottenham’s clinical finishing suddenly saw Emery starting down a third league defeat in four outings at Villa Park, having won nine of their first ten.

That frustration boiled over rather explicity when McGinn saw red. The Scotland international caught Destiny Udogie with a wild challenge nowhere near the ball, prompting outrage from Spurs, and was dismissed to leave his side with little hope for the final half hour.

Tottenham began asserting themselves even more in possession, getting decent opportunities to score through Son and Kulusevski that went begging.

Villa still threw punches here and there and Guglielmo Vicario into a brave save in the 84th minute, the Italian sprawling at the feet of substitute Nicolo Zaniolo and getting a boot to the head from his compatriot in return.

However, they were hit on the break twice in stoppage time as Son Heung-min converted before Timo Werner got in on the act to make it 4-0.

Ollie Watkins, Cristian Romero

Watkins toiled up front / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

GK: Emiliano Martinez – 5/10 – Played his defenders into dead-ends. No chance for either goal.

CB: Ezri Konsa – 4/10 – Ropey on the ball in the build-up to Johnson’s strike.

CB: Clement Lenglet – 4/10 – Offered nothing authoritative at the back before coming off at the hour mark.

CB: Pau Torres – 4/10 – Also guilty of some careless passing and looked slowed whenever he needed to recover.

RWB: Matty Cash – 6/10 – Targeted with boos and jeers all afternoon but still recorded four successful tackles.

CM: John McGinn – 3/10 – One of his more fatigued performances which ended embarrassingly with a needless red card for his hack on Johnson.

CM: Douglas Luiz – 6/10 – Got around the pitch a little better and recovered the ball well, but had little help from his teammates.

CM: Youri Tielemans – 4/10 – Played into trouble for the second goal but was largely on the periphery all game.

LWB: Lucas Digne – 4/10 – Had few opportunities to summon any dangerous deliveries into the box and couldn’t match Kulusevski for physicality.

ST: Leon Bailey – 5/10 – Villa couldn’t get Bailey into the game as one of two central strikers.

ST: Ollie Watkins – 5/10 – Got clattered early on and never really recovered, only managing one blocked shot all game.

Substitutes

SUB: Nicolo Zaniolo (58′ for Tielemans) – 5/10

SUB: Alex Moreno (58′ for Digne) – 5/10

SUB: Moussa Diaby (58′ for Lenglet) – 6/10

SUB: Tim Iroegbunam (69′ for Bailey) – 6/10

SUB: Diego Carlos (85′ for Konsa) – N/A

Subs not used: Jhon Duran, Kaine Kesler-Hayden, Morgan Rogers, Robin Olsen.

Manager

Unai Emery – 4/10 – Only got a few breakaway chances from his five-at-the-back formation, inspiring little energy from his side before McGinn was dismissed.

Son Heung-Min

Son led Spurs to victory / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

GK: Guglielmo Vicario – 7/10 – Commanded his box well and made a couple of brave saves. Also recorded a much-needed clean sheet.

RB: Pedro Porro – 7/10 – Made a positive return to the starting XI, winning tackles regularly while stepping into midfield to aid his side’s build-up.

CB: Cristian Romero – 8/10 – Caught off-guard once or twice but made a number of important blocks and clearances while the game was in the balance.

CB: Micky van de Ven – 7/10 – Once again showed few forwards can live with his pace. Went off injured in a concerning blow for Postecoglou.

LB: Destiny Udogie – 7/10 – Careered up and down the left and showed little fear in defence. Got kicked by McGinn as the hosts went down to ten players.

CM: Pape Matar Sarr – 8/10 – Tireless display. Burst forward down the win to provide Maddison with the opener.

CM: Yves Bissouma – 7/10 – Guilty of a few dodgy passes that nearly played Spurs into trouble but largely controlled things.

RW: Dejan Kulusevski – 7/10 – Used his physicality well against Digne and then Moreno. Ended up with an assist for Son’s strike.

AM: James Maddison – 7/10 – Not so influential in a stodgy first half but showed some great poaching instincts to put Spurs ahead.

LW: Brennan Johnson – 8/10 – Had a few nearly moments early on but everything came together when Johnson lofted in from Son’s pass.

ST: Son Heung-min – 9/10 – Won the battle of strikers against Watkins, ending up with two assists alongside his precise finish in the 91st minute.

Substitutes

SUB: Radu Dragusin (49′ for Van de Ven) – 6/10 – Definitely not as quick as Van de Ven but brought plenty of macho energy before his side’s task was made easier by McGinn. Got booked.

SUB: Rodrigo Bentancur (70′ for Sarr) – 6/10 – Nitted things together nicely and always looked for space.

SUB: Timo Werner (88′ for Johnson) 7/10 – Got in on the act with the fourth late on.

SUB: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (88′ for Maddison) – N/A

Subs not used: Ben Davies, Brandon Austin, Dane Scarlett, Emerson Royal, Giovani Lo Celso.

Manager

Ange Postecoglou – 8/10 – Saw his side control the game early on and then run away with it in the second half. Having a full-strength squad at his disposal certainly helped.

Player of the match: Son Heung-min (Aston Villa/Tottenham)

Son Heung-Min, Pedro Porro

Son scored and got two assists / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

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