Villa’s win raises European expectations for player evaluation

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Aston Villa thrashed Tottenham 2-1 with goals from Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Lewis boosting their Europa League hopes.

A Ramsey goal in the eighth minute put the Villains in control for most of the match, and Spurs had a messed up attack, but Lewis’ curled free-kick in the second half gave the hosts solid control.

Harry Kane returned a goal from the penalty spot in the closing minutes, but Villa saw the last minute and secured all three points.

It was the first Premier League double against Tottenham since 1995/96, and Villa were level on points with the North London side, who are leading only on goal difference.

The Spurs got off to another sleepy start, but were quickly back on the back foot as Ramsey scored first.

Leon Bailey made up a yard of space and threw a cross towards the young midfield, who coolly shot past Fraser Foster into the bottom corner.

It was the seventh time Spurs had conceded in the first 10 minutes of their first five league games, but Ryan Mason’s side showed no signs of resilience, with Villa dominating on all fronts.

The only threats to the visitors came when Richarlison and Heung-Min Son tried to break through the offside trap, but were caught prematurely on numerous occasions.

Foster stopped Villa 2-0 after half an hour. Pedro Polo conceded possession and allowed Ramsey and Watkins to link up, but Bailey’s shot was saved by the big Englishman.

It was the crossbar that kept Villa’s lead to one just before half-time. Buendia crouched to avoid traffic jams inside the box, but could only shoot into the crate.

Buendia put Forster to work again early in the second half, but Kane produced 0.00(xG) in the first 45 minutes to waste Tottenham’s best opener.

Douglas Lewis was caught in midfield and handed the ball straight to the England captain, but Martinez did not flinch and blocked a central shot.

When Yves Bisoma and Dejan Kulusevski were brought on in the 62nd minute, the Swede quickly closed in, cutting in from the right and firing a left-footed shot just wide of the far post.

These substitutions had a small impact, but Tottenham were quickly beaten 2-0. Watkins won a free-kick, which Lewis shot into the far corner, but Forster was unable to cross it fast enough and slammed the ball into the roof of the goal.

Depressed, the Spurs forged a route back into the game from the spot. Kane fell to the ground on the tip of the diving Martinez and was awarded a penalty by referee Peter Banks.

Kane scored his 27th Premier League goal of the season before six minutes of injury time were announced, but Villa kept Spurs at arm’s length as both sides battled for sixth in the final two games of the season. Expanded.

Ramsey put Villa ahead early | Sean Botellil/Getty Images

GK: Emiliano Martinez – 6/10 – A crucial save to stop Kane from a Lewis mistake. Action only came when Spurs broke, but offside flags were often raised. A penalty call was fouled and Kane could not be ejected.

RB: Ashley Young – 7/10 – Villa’s full-backs were more careful and didn’t even have to do as much defensive work.

CB: Ezri Consa – 8/10 – It kept the discipline as Villa stepped up the highline and limited the space Tottenham could work and create chances.

CB: Tyrone Mings – 8/10 – He dodged an attempted over-the-top pass by the Spurs and managed to organize the high line.

LB: Alex Moreno – 7/10 – He rarely lost to wide tackles and remained compact on defense.

RM: Leon Bailey – 7/10 – It roams around noisily and always looks menacing. I could have scored myself on another day because I picked Ramsey to open the scoring.

CM: John McGuinn – 9/10 – They dominated midfield, defended the ball and put Billa ahead on the counter. I got a reservation, but there were Spurs wriggling rooms everywhere.

CM: Douglas Lewis -8/10- One Brainfart put Kane 1-1 and Villa survived. With Spurs barely scoring in midfield, things were mostly fine until Lewis curled the second goal from a free-kick.

LM: Jacob Ramsey – 8/10 – A very bright start, with Bailey’s pass reaching the cue for the belt. He had a few other chances and worked well with his attacking colleagues.

ST: Emiliano Buendia – 7/10 – He tested Forster with a few strikes and often found space away from Spurs’ unwitting defenders.

ST: Ollie Watkins – 6/10 – Scored one shot on goal and created another chance. He might have been looking for a goal here and there in the cross, but he was patient with his press.


SUB: John Duran (68′ at Buendia) – 6/10

Subs: Boubakar Kamara (68′, Bailey) – 6/10

SUB: Matty Cash (90′, Watkins) – N/A


Unai Emery – 7/10 – Villa stopped the Spurs and charged at the visitors as soon as the team had the ball. The second half went downhill, but a moment of quality gave Emery the win.

Current Premier League standings, top scorers and upcoming matches

Kane beat Martinez out of the spot | Sean Botellil/Getty Images

GK: Fraser Foster -6/10- Made some important stops. He did very little on his first goal, but perhaps pushed himself too hard to cover a Lewis free-kick.

CB: Emerson Royal – 4/10 – Defensively, he was unstable with his partner.

CB: Christian Romero – 4/10 – Charge through chaotic situations, sometimes eliminating danger, sometimes creating danger. Ramsey ran off the line before he could fire the first shot.

CB: Clement Langlet – 3/10 – He hit a few headers on defense, but never seemed comfortable when Bailey ran towards him.

RWB: Pedro Polo – 3/10 – With few chances to find Kane in the opposition box, Villa enjoyed an attack all the way down Polo’s right flank.

CM: Oliver Skip – 3/10 – They’re nowhere near the level of McGuinn or Lewis, but that’s not helped by the lack of overall team structure elsewhere.

CM: Pierre-Emile Heubilerk – 4/10 – Harry’s shot put Kane on goal. Although he made several tackles, many of his plays seemed rushed and last-minute.

LWB: Ben Davis – 4/10 – Indeed, the left flank looks comfortable, which has been the case for much of Tottenham’s left wing-back play this season. He couldn’t hold back the flow.

RF: Heung Min Son – 4/10 – In the end, he stabbed the ball into the net in injury time in the second half, but once it was the fourth time and it was the last time.

LF: Richarlison – 2/10 – The Brazilian looked awkward in possession and couldn’t hold a run when Kane clipped the ball behind him. I didn’t really see anything.

ST: Harry Kane – 6/10 – Despite wasting a gift from Lewis, he got on the scoresheet with a late penalty. His great personal campaign continues.


SUB: Dejan Kulusevski (62′, Richarlison) – 6/10

Sub: Eve Bisoma (62 minutes for skip) – 6/10

SUB: Arnault Danjuma (81′, polo) – N/A

SUB: Ivan Perisic (90′, Davis) – N/A


Ryan Mason – 3/10 – The Spurs’ structure needs some serious work, but it seems unlikely that Mason will be able to make any significant changes for the remainder of the season.

Most Valuable Player – John McGuinn (Aston Villa)

McGuinn was great against Spurs | Adrian Dennis/Getty Images

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