Preview: Aston Villa (v) Tottenham – Spurs rest key stars midweek in hope of Villa Park win.

Ok, so maybe the title is a little tongue in cheek.

Spurs took a surprising step midweek in their Europa League away tie with Dortmund, opting to rest a number of key players.  Whilst there is some logic in not taking any risks when a Premier League is attainable, I do think that it sends all the wrong messages.  Whilst it is a distant memory now, O’Neill made a similar decision which arguably marked a tipping point in our clubs direction.

However, the setting, circumstances and trajectories of Spurs & Villa, both then and now are certainly much different.

It has been another shocking week at Villa in real terms.  Following an absolutely awful defeat at Manchester City, the club had been desperately seeking good news to offset the imminent release of a dismal financial picture revealed through the clubs accounts.  

Nothing can hide the fact that we have blown vast amounts of money, again, on overpaying players.  The new dynamic appears to be a shift into overpaying “key” staff at the club, notably flop CEO Tom Fox the princely sum of £1.25 million pounds.  A scandal in itself.

If there was a glimmer of positive news, it was the “leaked” annoucement that Brian Little will rejoin the club in an advisory role, whilst David Bernstein takes up a position on the Board of Directors.  Whilst this brings an Aston Villa voice & finally some footballing knowledge to the clubs hierarchy, it is long overdue & almost certainly too late to make an impact this season.

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Match Preview:

Nothing can really paper over the fact that we are on a slump in a season of nightmarish under-performance.  4 consecutive defeats now see us marginally better than Norwich & Crystal Palace who are somehow on a worse run than ourselves.

Our last 6 home games are a balanced affair to some degree; 2 wins, 2 draws & 2 defeats.  It doesn’t paint the whole picture and the key fact is that our form is returning to it’s early to mid season low.

Spurs by contrast at in decent shape.  I thought they were naive against Arsenal and this cost them what would have been a vital 3 points against 10 men.  However, we will need 11 men on the pitch just to keep matters respectable I fear.

Kane looks potent, Dembele won’t be contained by our midfield and Alli has something quite special about him.  Over 90 minutes there is more than enough to trouble a very suspect Villa defence & goal.

Spurs’ last 6 away games are blotted only by a defeat to West Ham.  Otherwise, steady wins against Palace & Norwich are complimented by a title challenging victory over Man City.  

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Our biggest problem has been an utter lack of confidence, effort and fight.  Garde has to find something to motivate the players, be it having some professional pride alone, or even the “shop window” opportunity these closing weeks represent.

It is again a sad fact that I just cannot forsee Villa having anything remotely close to the quality to beat Tottenham.  I cannot see where we can hurt Spurs, but I can quickly see how our weaknesses will be probed to good effect all afternoon.  I guess we must rely upon either a remarkable upturn in form or an outright upset.

At the time of writing, the ‘Out The Door On ‘74′ protest movement is debating whether to cancel the planned fan walk out.  This appears to be on the basis of the appointments of Little & Bernstein.  

The Villa Underground wishes, therefore, to state it’s surprise & concern.

Irrelevant of the ultimate decision, it stands as a needless debacle.  The protests have achieved momentum, which will be quickly eroded through poor communication & blurred intent.  The Villa Underground wishes to urge those organising it to apply greater thought to their actions or the club will win a battle it hasn’t even had to fight.

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