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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
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

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us