Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Aston Villa
FA Cup Third Round, White Hart Lane Stadium
Goals: Davies (71′), Son Heung-min (80′)
This was a match where Tottenham fielded a largely second choice team, looking to keep up the momentum that they’d gained from their comprehensive win over Chelsea. After a pretty weak first half Spurs picked up the pace and eventually snatched victory, scoring two goals in the second half of this FA Cup third round match against Aston Villa. It marks Villa’s ninth defeat to Spurs in their last ten competitions against the White Hart Lane outfit.
After a slow start, during which a struggling Vincent Janssen yet again failed to make an impact, a second half substitution in which Mauricio Pochettino replaced him with Dele Alli finally gave the team the inspiration they needed to succeed. A late goal from Ben Davies at 71 minutes put the side on the up, but it was the second goal from Son Heung-Min 80 minutes into the game that put the seal well and truly on Tottenham’s place in the FA Cup fourth round.
The Spurs team saw a major overhaul in its line-up for this match, with Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier being the only members remaining from their previous victory over Chelsea. Pochettino changed nine players, giving Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane (whose wife has just given birth) a break for the weekend.
The Villa line-up had also seen alterations since their previous defeat against Cardiff. Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, on loan from Manchester United, was given his debut, while Gabriel Agbonlahor was also given the opportunity to start the match since the team’s top goal scorer, Jonathan Kodjia is currently away playing with Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Although Vincent Jannsen was given a place in Tottenham’s opening line-up, he failed to impress during the first 45 minutes, once again missing the opportunity to score his first open play goal for the team. Since his £17 million transfer, he has so far only managed to score 3 penalties despite having made 23 appearances, making his lightweight performance especially disappointing. He cut a frustrated figure as he left the field of play.
The first half was lacklustre indeed, and although Spurs managed to dominate the ball (having possession for 71% of the game) they failed to get even one shot on target. It wasn’t until the 28th minute that any serious action took place, but Villa’s Leandro Bacuna’s shot was weak. Villa’s Chester tried again for a close range shot on goal at 66 minutes, but last-ditch blocks from Alderweireld and Cameron Carter-Vickers left Steve Bruce’s team frustrated once more.
However, this was a turning point in the match, with substitute Georges-Kevin Nkoudou taking only 90 seconds to pass a cross from the left to Davies, who got his first score for Tottenham in the two and a half years since transferring from Swansea with a skilful glancing header. This taste of success seemed to spark a frenzy of activity for the home side, with Sissoko’s pull-back allowing Son to sweep the ball into the net from 12 yards for a second goal that put the seal on Spur’s progression to the next round.
Referee: Mike Dean