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Europa League

Premier League result – Tottenham suffer massive top-six blow with home defeat to Aston Villa


Tottenham’s top-six hopes are hanging by a thread after they surrendered a one-goal lead to lose to Aston Villa in front of their returning 10,000 home supporters.

Steven Bergwijn gave their excitable fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium the start they had been craving with a rocket after just eight minutes.

But their joy soon turned to despair and by half-time they were jeering the players off as Dean Smith’s Villa came from behind to lead at the interval.

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Sergio Reguilon’s horror own-goal gave the visitors a way back into the match as he sliced his clearance past Hugo Lloris and six minutes before the break the Spurs full-back’s clearance was closed down with Ollie Watkins the beneficiary, completing the turnaround with a neat finish.

Wantaway Spurs forward Harry Kane, making his 400th club appearance, was largely left to feed on scraps and the closest he came to scoring on the landmark occasion was an angled shot which forced Emiliano Martinez into a routine save after the restart.

Spurs heaped pressure on the Villa defence as their desperation grew in the late stages but Villa – who had Jack Grealish back in their starting XI – held on to claim an impressive victory.

Tottenham’s loss means West Ham will climb into sixth with a point in their later game against West Brom, while Everton move level on points with Spurs after their victory over Wolves. The race for the top six is now really heating up and will be decided on what is shaping up to be a final dramatic day.

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Villa, meanwhile, remain in 11th but have the opportunity of claiming a top-half position with victory on Sunday.

TALKING POINT – Dreadful Spurs suffer another blow

And suddenly hopes of landing a Europa League spot is out of Tottenham’s hands. If they are to have any chance of holding onto Kane, then surely a top-six placing is the bare minimum their talisman expects. But this result gives Ryan Mason’s side an awful lot of work to do. With Everton beating Wolves, there is now a three-way battle for a Europa League spot, but West Ham must now be favourites to take it. While top-four contenders Leicester are hosting Tottenham, the Hammers are at home to struggling Southampton. Everton can’t be counted out but they travel to Manchester City.

This was such a big opportunity squandered for Spurs. With the fans returning, the expectation was to finish a quite disastrous season on a high. But their pain is only compounded with this defeat as they were jeered off by their frustrated supporters. They’ve had enough and if reports are to believed, so has Kane. He wants to be competing for the top trophies, but if Daniel Levy refuses him his move, he could well be playing in the Europa League Conference.

MAN OF THE MATCH – John McGinn (Aston Villa)

All eyes were on the returning Grealish and while he was excellent, it was McGinn who was the best player on the night. The Scotland international fulfilled his defensive duties excellently but he was also brilliant at starting attacks, always on the front foot with mazy runs from inside his own half.

PLAYER RATINGS

Tottenham: Lloris 6, Tanganga 6, Dier 6, Alderweireld 7, Reguilon 4, Hojbjerg 5, Winks 5, Alli 6, Son 5, Bergwijn 7, Kane 6.. subs: Hart, Doherty N/A, Bale, 6, Ndombele 5.

Aston Villa: Martinez 7, Konsa 7, Hause 7, Mings 8, Targett 7, Nakamba 7, McGinn 9, Traore 7, El Ghazi 7, Grealish 8, Watkins 7.. subs: Steer, Taylor, Luiz 5, Wesley, Barkley, Elmohamady, Ramsey, Philogene-Bidace N/A, Chukwuemeka N/A.

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KEY MOMENTS

8′ – GOAL! Tottenham 1-0 Aston Villa (Steven Bergwijn): The home supporters have a goal to celebrate after just eight minutes – and what a goal it is! There’s some indecision from Nakamba, Bergwijn steals it, holds off McGinn and smashes it home from the top of the boxwith a venomous shot that left Martinez with absolutely no chance.

20′ – GOAL! Tottenham 1-1 Aston Villa (Reguilon own goal): Oh my, what a horror show! Reguilon slashes at the ball from Nakamba’s cross and it ends up in the back of his own net. He has his head in his hands – and any wonder!

39′ – GOAL! Tottenham 1-2 Aston Villa (Ollie Watkins): Villa are ahead for the first time in the game – but what a mess from Spurs. The finger of blame will again be pointed at Reguilon whose attempted clearance is closed down by Traore. It falls into the path of Watkins and he makes no mistake as he slots it past Lloris.

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