Villa's wall remains solid

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Aston Villa 0

With this goalless draw, Aston Villa have failed to score in five of their last six Premier League games. Given that coyness in attack, Martin O'Neill's men need to be able to keep goals out if they are to maintain their push for fourth place. At least they showed they are effective in that department.

"Dunny, Ginge, Carlos and Luke" is how Brad Friedel, the fifth member of Villa's back line identifies the four defenders in front of him, which makes them sound like friends from the school playground, but Richard Dunne, James "Ginge" Collins, Carlos Cuellar and Luke Young are not just playing for kicks. They are now playing for the Champions League, not to mention the Carling Cup final against Manchester United at the end of the month.

The hosts were denied by Friedel on four occasions, notably from a flick by Ledley King and a shot from Peter Crouch low down that was deflected off Dunne.

Villa's back five put in a monumental effort in a clash that was supposed to clear up some of the haze around who will claim that last Champions League qualifying position. By the end of the evening, the uncertainty was even more entrenched.

The managers of both these clubs are as unsure as anyone how it's going to turn out. Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, was being cute, saying that Liverpool were now the favourites, citing his long-held regard for the club.

"I have had a healthy respect for Liverpool for a long time. They have been a top four side, they finished second last year. Everybody goes through trials and tribulations and I think their big win, to keep going, was the 94th-minute winner against us at Villa Park," O'Neill said.

Harry Redknapp, O'Neill's opposite number, feels the clubs around him are taking it in turns to slip up, which might make him slightly worried that it could be his side next.

They travel to Molineux to play Wolverhampton on Wednesday. The enduring absence of Aaron Lennon – out for another month – on the flank makes Spurs less of a threat.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, King, Bale; Bentley, Palacios, Huddlestone, Modric; Defoe, Crouch. Substitutes not used: Alnwick (gk), Kaboul, Jenas, Gudjohnsen, Bassong, Kranjcar, Walker.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, L Young; A Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing (Sidwell, 88); Agbonlahor, Heskey (Carew, 22). Substitutes not used: Guzan (gk), Delfouneso, Davies, Delph, Beye.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

Man of the match: Dunne.

Attendance: 35,899.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
football
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot