Ten-man Tottenham driven by van

Rafael van der Vaart's brilliant brace ensured 10-man Tottenham pocketed all three points following a 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Boxing Day.

Last Updated: 26/12/10 at 19:53 Post Comment

Van der Vaart: Celebrates with Bale and Modric

Van der Vaart: Celebrates with Bale and Modric

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Tottenham's talismanic midfielder van der Vaart ensured manager Harry Redknapp maintained his hoodoo over the Villans.

Despite a 27th-minute straight red card for Jermain Defoe, the Dutchman scored either side of that to take his tally to double figures for the season, with Spurs unbeaten in each of the eight games in which he has scored.

Although Marc Albrighton pulled one back eight minutes from time, it was not enough to spare the home side, with Redknapp unbeaten in his last 10 Premier League games as a manager against Villa.

From the opening minute the suggestion was this was going to be an entertaining affair, as has often been the case between these two teams of late, and so it proved.

After just 50 seconds Heurelho Gomes produced the first of a number of fine saves to deny Villa, initially from Albrighton who was then quick to pounce on the rebound, only for Gareth Bale to bravely block.

After Gabriel Agbonlahor nodded a free header wide a minute later there was perhaps the sense it was not going to be Villa's night.

That view was strengthened when Villa appealed for a penalty in the ninth minute when Emile Heskey was felled by Gomes, but it was such a tight call it was no wonder referee Martin Atkinson was unmoved.

It was a challenge which left Heskey needing treatment and ultimately led to his withdrawal six minutes from the break.

It was a key departure as Heskey had also played his part in two incisive Villa moves that sandwiched another moment of controversy in the 18th minute.

A minute earlier Heskey and Agbonlahor had spread play from one wing to the other where Stewart Downing strode forward, cut inside and unleashed a low drive that was picked up by Gomes.

Three minutes later it was Heskey who played a delightful one-two with Agbonlahor, the latter eventually unleashing a stinging drive that bounced off a diving Gomes' knee.

The ball looped up for Agbonlahor to nod goalwards, but again Gomes was on hand to push the ball around the post.

In between a strike from Younes Kaboul was ruled out by an assistant referee as he deemed a pull back from Alan Hutton had crossed the deadball line, although replays suggested otherwise.

In the 23rd minute, however, Tottenham's frustration was forgotten as a sweeping move cut Villa apart, sparked by a raking cross-field ball from Modric into the path of Hutton down the right wing.

James Collins, serving as Villa's fifth skipper of the season with Ashley Young out with a knee injury, failed to cut out the right-back's low centre and van der Vaart was in behind the centre-back to stab home from 10 yards.

The visitors' joy was shortlived because just four minutes later they were contentiously down to 10 men for an elbow from Defoe in the face of Collins.

It appeared to be harsh because although Defoe led with his arm in jumping for a high delivery, his eyes were focused on the ball at all times.

It left Spurs facing the final 63 minutes a man short, and for the first 18 of those through to half-time they were rarely troubled.

And they could have doubled their lead prior to the interval as van der Vaart teed up Wilson Palacios for a 20-yard effort which Brad Friedel tipped into the sidenetting.

Apart from an early second-half strike from Heskey's replacement Nathan Delfouneso, which stung the fingers of Gomes, Spurs easily held until breaking with devastating effect in the 67th minute.

It was sparked by an 80-yard run down the right from Bale, who found Aaron Lennon in space on the left.

The winger played a simple pass into van der Vaart's path for a first-time left-footed shot beyond Friedel.

After Gomes had produced his save of the game from Agbonlahor nine minutes later, an 82nd-minute cross from Albrighton floated past the Spurs goalkeeper, who was arguably distracted by a diving Collins in front of him.

There was no late reprieve for Villa and manager Gerard Houllier, though, who departed the field to a chorus of boos from the home fans.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Monday, 15 September 2014
20:00
Hull City 2-2 West Ham Report
Sunday, 14 September 2014
16:00
Man Utd 4-0 QPR Report
Saturday, 13 September 2014
17:30
Liverpool 0-1 A Villa Report
15:00
Chelsea 4-2 Swansea Report
C Palace 0-0 Burnley Report
Southampton 4-0 Newcastle Report
Stoke 0-1 Leicester Report
Sunderland 2-2 Tottenham Report
West Brom 0-2 Everton Report
12:45
Arsenal 2-2 Man City Report

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 4 9 12
2 A Villa 4 3 10
3 Swansea 4 3 9
4 Southampton 4 5 7
5 Man City 4 3 7
6 Tottenham 4 2 7
7 Arsenal 4 1 6
8 Liverpool 4 1 6
9 Man Utd 4 3 5
10 Hull City 4 0 5
11 Everton 4 -1 5
12 Leicester 4 -1 5
13 West Ham 4 -1 4
14 Stoke 4 -1 4
15 Sunderland 4 -1 3
16 QPR 4 -8 3
17 C Palace 4 -3 2
18 Burnley 4 -3 2
19 West Brom 4 -5 2
20 Newcastle 4 -6 2

Updated Thu, 18 Sep 2014

Footer 365

Premier League: Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini not concerned by Yaya Toure's form

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has no concerns over the form or commitment of midfielder Yaya Toure.

Transfer news: Chelsea's Jose Mourinho plays down Cristiano Ronaldo transfer talk

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has played down speculation about signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

Dundee boss Paul Hartley anticipates a good derby with United

Dundee boss Paul Hartley maintains his players have no fears as they prepare for the derby match with Dundee United.

Mail Box

Be Careful What You Wish For, Gooners

That's the message from a Man United fan in the mailbox. Plus, thoughts on Paul Lambert's new contract, the Alan Pardew dilemma at Newcastle and lots more...

No, Wenger IS To Blame For Failure...

The backlash to the backlash to the backlash sees Arsene Wenger getting a good kicking while we also have mails on Chelsea, Newcastle, Everton and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property