Tottenham Hotspur vs. Aston Villa: 7 Bold Predictions When Spurs Host Villa
Tottenham's return back to league play will see Spurs face Aston Villa at White Hart Lane.
If history repeats itself, the trip back to the Premier League will be a smooth one.
Aston Villa hasn't beaten Tottenham since 2008 and these are two completely different teams than they were five years ago. That year, Villa finished sixth in the league table and went on to earn a spot in next season's Europa League. Tottenham was eighth and missed Europa by two points.
Now, Tottenham is riding a three-game win streak with Manchester United as the most recent victim. Aston Villa? They're 15th and just two points out of relegation.
With such a gap acting as a prelude to this match, Tottenham is poised to earn its fourth straight victory—but only if a couple of bold predictions come true.
Emmanuel Adebayor Will Finally Get the Start
It's been a little bit odd that so much was made of Emmanuel Adebayor's return to White Hart Lane this summer and he hasn't yet earned a start—league or non-league match.
That's going to change against a struggling Aston Villa side that in six matches has compiled a 1-3-2 record and been outscored a whopping 6-10.
This is the kind of league match where bubble players like Adebayor get the start and regular starters are either shown the bench or see an early substitution.
...and Scores in the First 15 Minutes!
If you'll remember from last season, it was Adebayor who scored all three of Tottenham's goals in the clubs' two meetings.
The physically dominating Togolese international had Villa's number in 2010 and 2011 and he'll have it in 2012.
He's only played a total of 62 minutes in two appearances this season, so if he's not fresh and ready to make run after run at Villa's box, then I don't know when he will be.
My prediction? He slots one home past goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the first quarter of an hour.
Gareth Bale Earns Another Brace
Tottenham has won three straight matches (with two away) and they sit at sixth in the league table. A win on Sunday would likely catapult them to a place in the top three and the most surprising thing about all of this is that Gareth Bale has only scored twice and assisted on one other.
Now, two goals is no small thing, but Bale was counted on for so much more in Spurs' offense last season, collecting 15 goals and 16 assists in all competitions during the 2011-12 season.
He was also notorious for braces, scoring two or more goals in four league matches last season.
Aston Villa is ripe with defensive troubles, giving up 10 goals over six matches. Those are the kinds of early-season opportunities that a quick, talented player like Bale relishes.
No one on Villa's side can keep up with Bale's pace and he'll earn Man of the Match honors by the end of the day Sunday.
...with Both Goals Coming in the Second Half
In two of his four multi-goal matches last season, Gareth Bale scored both in the second half after opponents were tired of tracking the Welsh winger down the sideline.
The same thing will happen Sunday.
Aston Villa's Karim El Ahmadi and Matthew Lowton will be responsible for sticking with Bale along the edge and neither are up to the task.
El Ahmadi comes to the Premier League averaging just 50 percent playing time in the Eredivisie. Lowton has spent his entire professional career in League One.
They'll work hard to keep Bale at bay during the first half, but they won't be able to stop him in the last 45 minutes.
Brad Friedel Will Keep His Place Between the Posts
Hugo Lloris signed with Tottenham more than a month ago, yet Friedel has held onto the starting jersey with athleticism and reflexes that betray his 42 years of age.
With a win against Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend (and several saves to boot!) Lloris will once again play the part of Friedel's understudy and stand on the sidelines this Sunday.
...and Earn the Clean Sheet!
I see Tottenham making this look like a session on the training pitch before the final whistle blows—passing with relative ease and crossing the ball on Aston Villa's side of the field with little to no resistance.
But with all the goals, all the completed passes and all the attacks, a reinvigorated Brad Friedel will be the biggest reason the game will look so one-sided.
The 42-year-old Friedel will collect his first clean sheet of the season against a Villa offense that has looked rusty so far this season.
Tottenham Will Win 4-0
All bold predictions aside, earning three points against any Premier League opponent is tough.
Yes, even Queens Park Rangers.
But in the last three matches, Tottenham has shown themselves to be a team on the rise, outscoring Reading away, Queens Park Rangers at home and Manchester United away by an aggregate score of 8-5.
Andre Villas-Boas will get his fourth consecutive win in charge at Tottenham, and it'll be a victory that catapults his Spurs to the top tier of the league table.
This is what I think will happen when Tottenham hosts Aston Villa on Sunday. Comment below and let me know your thoughts!