Tottenham sink to Villa defeat as top four hopes take a hit

Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of regaining their place in the Premier League’s top four were dashed when they suffered a demoralizing 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Antonio Conte’s mediocre team had no inspiration throughout the game and was punished after the break by goals from Emiliano Buendia and Douglas Luiz.

Hugo Lloris, the French goalkeeper of Tottenham Hotspur, who played his first match since losing the World Cup final, had a 50th-minute foul from Buendia. And when Luiz added a second in the 73rd minute, the home fans began to flock towards the exits.

Chants against Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy rang out and things could have gotten worse as Villa sauntered to just a third win in their last 22 Premier League clashes with the Londoners.

Tottenham were booed at the final whistle as the defeat left them in fifth place with 30 points from 17 games, two points behind Manchester United who have a game in hand and 13 behind local rivals and leaders Arsenal.

Villa, who achieved a third win in four league games since former Arsenal manager Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard in November, remain in 12th place with 21 points.

If any of the fans who braved transport problems to spend New Year’s Day at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium needed a little extra sleep, they had ample opportunity in a terrible first half.

Tottenham were slow in possession and lacked any attacking spark, while Villa were equally unadventurous.

Surprisingly keeping his place for Argentina hero Emiliano Martinez, villa keeper Robin Olsen was untroubled and three yellow cards in the space of 10 minutes for Tottenham, including one for returning World Cup winner Cristian Romero, was about the only topic of conversation for the opening 37 minutes.

Tottenham finally created a chance as Ivan Perisic was played through on goal and forced wide by Olsen. Perisic managed to hoist a cross towards Harry Kane, whose weak header was on target, but was cleared off the line by a diving Ashley Young.

Tottenham avoided going behind at half-time for at least the sixth game in a row, but they fell behind five minutes after the restart for the seventh successive Premier League game.

Lloris failed to catch a shot from Luiz and Ollie Watkins was alert to squeeze in and sort out Buendia who slid his shot inside the post much to the delight of the Villa fans.

Conte’s Tottenham side have earned 14 points this season losing positions and almost reacted when Perisic squandered a good chance for an equaliser.

But it was Villa who looked more menacing though and they doubled their lead as captain John McGinn sent a ball to Luiz who fired a neat finish past Lloris.

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