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
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test