Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur: 6 Things We Learned
Aston Villa succumbed to a 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon, extending their unwanted streak of failing to beat the Lilywhites to 11 games.
Here are six things we learned.
Christian Benteke Equals Hope
The roar that erupted around Villa Park when Christian Benteke entered the fray on the 60-minute mark was spine-chilling.
Libor Kozak had done a good job holding the forward line in the Belgian's absence and acquitted himself strongly against Vladimir Chiriches and Michael Dawson, but no matter what he does he'll never have the impact a genuine hero will.
Benteke instilled fervour and enthusiasm to the Villa crowd, and could—perhaps should—have buried one of his three headers on goal. That certainly would have changed things.
The Belgian hasn't been brought on from the bench since gaining cult status, and only on Sunday were we able to gauge the sheer amount of fandom he's built up in B6.
Roberto Soldado CAN Score from Open Play
Seven games into Premier League life and Roberto Soldado was looking a little flat. If there's one team, however, that can say they excel at ending unwanted streaks, it's Aston Villa.
It's where Fernando Torres went to get cured of his goal drought, and "Bobby" is simply the latest in a long line of misfiring strikers who've received an adrenaline jab at Villa Park.
Soldado's finish—following a wonderful pass from Paulinho—was first-class and will put to bed a lot of doubt surrounding the £26 million man.
This Is the Real Deal
For Tottenham Hotspur fans, the acquisition of of Erik Lamela more than made up for the loss of Gareth Bale.
But what causal fans perhaps didn't anticipate was the lull post-Bale and pre-Lamela, and it's the reason why Spurs have scored very few goals despite dominating matches.
They have struggled through wins and have had to rely on a powerful central midfield system, but they're sitting on five wins despite not finding their rhythm.
They're lurking and can improve tenfold, and that makes them a dangerous prospect.
...What's left to be said?
He was the England "World Cup hero" midweek, and while that's downright hyperbolic, there's no doubting Andros Townsend is a supremely talented individual.
Paul Lambert claimed he hadn't drawn up any sort of special plan for the winger on Friday, but that turned out to be a smokescreen as Gabby Agbonlahor and Antonio Luna were put on constant defensive duty throughout the first half.
As soon as Spurs took the lead Aston Villa had no choice but to expand and attack, and once Townsend found himself in a one vs. one...well. Luna's hamstrings will be sore on Monday morning.
Villa Are a Measure of Consistency from a Top-Half Side
Aston Villa can be frustrating to watch, as from one week to the next they vary heavily in terms of performance.
Across a span of any three matches, you're likely to get one stellar showing, one mediocre and one fairly drab one. Beating Manchester City, drawing 0-0 with Hull City and submitting to Tottenham Hotspur over the last three matchdays fits the pattern.
Villa have accrued double the amount of points they did this time last season, and that's positive—especially when you consider who they've had to play over the first eight games—but Paul Lambert knows consistency could bring a top-half finish.
The Lack of a No. 10 Will Plague Villa Till January
Aston Villa should have purchased a No. 10 to complete their first XI this summer, but they failed to acquire a target despite checking on Younes Belhanda and Hiroshi Kiyotake.
Away from home that's not too much of an issue, but the 4-3-3 formation is not suited to home games, when the crowd demand their charges step out and force the issue.
The gargantuan hole between Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke is crying out for a tricky player who can take the ball between the lines and retain an element of composure in the final third.
As of now, it's snap shots, panicking and wasted chances. That will continue until Lambert addresses the issue.