Tottenhan Hotspur v Aston Villa
Aston Villa come to White Hart Lane with the knowledge that Tottenham won the two matches last season with Rafael Van der Vaart scoring all four Spurs goals. They will be hoping that he doesn't recover from the injury he received in the Holland match last weekend while every Spurs supporter will be wishing him a speedy recovery.
Villa with Alex McLeish in charge are currently in 8th position with fifteen points. They remained undefeated in their opening seven games of the season but only managed two wins. They have yet to win away from Villa Park but are proving difficult to beat with four draws and their only defeat coming at Manchester City (1 - 4). They drew at Fulham, Everton, QPR and Sunderland. Their home record shows a defeat against West Brom, draws with Wolves and Newcastle while defeating Wigan, Blackburn and Norwich City (3 - 2), in their last game.
Darren Bent and Gabriel Agboniahor are joint top scorers with five goals each. Bent who for some unaccountable reason always seems fired up when playing against Spurs, scored twice against Norwich with Agboniahor getting the other. Stiliyan Petrov has scored two goals while Richard Dunne, Emile Heskey, Barry Bannon who may be available, and Stephen Warnock have scored one each.
McLeish made a number of signings during the summer. He has added experience to his squad rather than rely on the younger players who have come through the Villa Academy in recent years. He signed Shay Given to replace Brad Friedel who arrived at White Hart Lane on a free. Moving in the other direction, Alan Hutton joined his former Rangers manager for £4 million and Jermain Jenas went on a season long loan deal. Hutton who spoke out against Harry Redknapp after his departure from Spurs will, like Bent, feel that he has a point to prove against Tottenham. Jenas who came on as a sub against Norwich, following injury, for his first game can not play as he is on loan. Villa have a very experienced defence with Dunne and James Collins in the centre. Charles N'Zogbia was signed from Wigan to bring pace and creativity to the midfield as well as his goal scoring touch.
Alex McLeish's teams are hard working and full of endeavour so Tottenham know that they will make it difficult for them to play their fast moving game. They have plenty of experience and will look to stifle Tottenham early on and look to score on the break and from set pieces.
Premier League Home Record v Aston Villa