Déjà vu : Spurs 3 Villa 1

When Villa’s Scottish midfielder John McGuin put the newly-promoted side ahead in the 9th minute very much against the run of play, it all seemed so typical Spurs. 

Prior to that, Spurs had been dominant with Lucas Moura missing a gild-edged opportunity. What a difference that might have made. Once Villa went in front, it made Spurs’ task that much more harder as Villa effectively ‘parked the bus’ and invited Spurs to camp in their half. 

Spurs found the going tough, mainly because there was zero movement amongst the attacking trio of Harry Kane, Moura and Erik Lamela. Kane had a chance or two but could not convert. 

For some reason, Spurs always take a long time to get going – if they had been more clinical, the path to victory might have been easier. As it was, it took over 70s minutes, with unsettled playmaker Christian Eriksen now in the thick of the action, to equalise when record signing Tanguy Ndombele scored from outside the box with a well-placed hit. 

Spurs also have the knack of scoring late winners and they did not disappoint as talisman Harry Kane delivered in the 86th and 90th minute respectively, to pick up a deserved three points. 

Compared to the comprehensive victories of Man City and Liverpool, this win looked too close for comfort as far as Spurs were concerned. Sure, many top players were unavailable viz. Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso, Ryan Sessegnon, Serge Aurier etc BUT that should not be an excuse for Spurs struggling to put away a side that will most probably be battling relegation the entire season. 

Would it have been different if Eriksen was playing from the start? Did he – as some pundits suggest – make all the difference? Of course, Eriksen at the peak of his powers is a tremendous asset but does he want to stay? Considering the cooling of interest amongst the top European clubs for Eriksen’s services, he might consider staying put for one more season but without the club losing out on a significant payday. We shall see … 

In any case, a win is a win and for now, this is a good start to a new season!