Rafael Van Der Vaart yet another Real Madrid castoff is proving to be the signing of the season. For Tottenham. Two clinical finishes from the Dutchman was enough to see Spurs through against Villa who are reeling under Gerard Houllier. Two wins in 12 matches has seen Villa slip to 15th, four points above relegation threatened Fulham. Not exactly the sort of lift the club was looking for when they brought the Frenchman on board.
For Spurs it was once again their wide, counterattacking attacking strength that paid dividends as Luka Modric switched the point of attack in a blindingly brilliant pass to Alan Hutton sprinting all the way down the right. Poor defending by Stephen Warnock and James Collins allowed the back to fire across the goal for Van Der Vaart to steal in front of Defoe for the first goal.
If it’s Spurs can Bale be far behind? The free ranging Welshman surged powerfully down the right leaving defenders strewn in his wake to cut inside and find Aaron Lennon. The little winger laid off unselfishly for Van Der Vaart to flick the ball beautifully past Brad Friedel for his second goal. Spurs went two goals up despite Jermain Defoe being sent off in the 27th minute for elbowing Collins in the face.
Villa got their game going in the last 10 minutes and claimed a goal through Chris Albrighton’s swinging cross. Collins lunged forward to connect with his head but failed. However it was enough to distract Gomes into a late reaction as the ball sneaked into goal. More sparks flew as Pires got into a slanging match with Harry Redknapp after the former Arsenal winger brought down a Spurs players on the sidelines.
Spurs in fifth keeping up the pressure as the Premiership season tightens further with little to separate the teams at the top. It will come down to the team that keeps its nous.