Premier League Match Report: Brad Friedel dropped by Andre Villas-Boas as Tottenham beat Aston Villa to clinch fourth straight league victory

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Aston Villa 0

White Hart Lane

The moulding and refining of Andre Villas-Boas’s Tottenham Hotspur team continues.

Two points from three games has suddenly become four straight wins after Spurs beat Aston Villa yesterday. It was a patient, mature performance by the hosts who were unworried by a slow first half and able, eventually, to dismiss Villa with a burst of attacking football.

For the first time in the Premier League, Villas-Boas began with Hugo Lloris in goal. Since he was signed it was merely a matter of time as to when he would usurp Brad Friedel in the league and the Spurs manager decided that the seventh league game of the season was the right moment.

“We have been speaking about it between the staff for the week,” said Villas-Boas. “We decided it would be logical if we wanted to get Hugo acquainted with the Premier League-type of games.

“Obviously, the change was not based on performance, Brad has been immense for this football team, we surely respect that.” Friedel’s run of 310 consecutive league games is over, though, a victim of the relentless progressivism sweeping Tottenham.

Lloris showed the difference between him and Friedel by darting quickly from his line at times, but nearly cost Spurs a goal early in the second half.  His poor throw allowed Marc Albrighton to cross for Christian Benteke, but the Belgian headed carelessly wide.

Paul Lambert knew how much that miss cost. “We had a great chance to go 1-0 up,” the Villa manager said. “It was a big moment. But he’s only a young lad, he was in a position to do it, you saw his disappointment.”

It was a show of faith from Lambert picking Benteke ahead of Darren Bent. Lambert is desperate to instil hunger at a club where it has not existed for a while, and perhaps it should not be a surprise to see Bent on the bench along with other senior players such as Shay Given and Charles N’Zogbia.

Lambert insisted, though, that his decision was tactical. “That’s the system I played,” he said. “If you’re playing one up top, Christian gives you a different option because he can get hold of the ball. That was the only reason why we did it.”

The players Lambert did pick tried to prove him right. They certainly represented his values of hard work, rigour and ambition. Karim El Ahmadi, Fabian Delph and Brett Holman all worked hard to deny Spurs space while the defence was inspired by the brave, brisk and alert Ron Vlaar, who has replaced Bent as captain. Villa had successfully shut down the first half. The home crowd were silenced and Spurs were limited to shooting from distance.

Two weeks ago another slow first half left Spurs 1-0 down to Queen’s Park Rangers. That afternoon they tore into the second half, turning the game and earning an important win. It was the same yesterday. Spurs were much more assertive in the second period, allowing chances, including Benteke’s, before scoring the goals that won the game.

The pressure had been building before a lucky bounce put Spurs ahead. A corner, 12 minutes after the re-start, fell to Jermain Defoe, who spun and skewed a shot. It inadvertently hit Steven Caulker’s ankle and flew in.

The goal sped Spurs up further, Gareth Bale nearly scored before the second came from another quick break. Mousa Dembélé spread the ball to Aaron Lennon, who was isolated against Joe Bennett. Before the left-back could realise, Lennon whipped a low shot past him and Brad Guzan  into the bottom corner. The work was done, and Clint Dempsey’s and Bale’s chances were the only moments of a comfortable keep-ball session as Spurs rode on up the table.

Get Adobe Flash player
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine