London : Mid-table club Aston Villa started the New Year with a bang as they defeated higher-placed Tottenham Hotspur in a Premier League match, here on Sunday. Second-half goals from Emiliano Buendia and Douglas Luiz put Villa in control as Tottenham struggled to create much in the way of clear opportunities, having just two shots on target all game.
After a barren first half, Villa went ahead in the 50th minute when Ollie Watkins teed Emiliano Buendia up to open the scoring in north London with a close-range finish after 50 minutes.
John McGinn then set up the second goal and picked out Douglas Luiz with a superb pass after 73 minutes, and the Brazilian coolly flicked the ball home to double the away side’s lead. A strong defensive effort ensured Aston Villa were never troubled at the back as Unai Emery’s side went home with a clean sheet, the first of the manager’s tenure.
An early opportunity fell to Villa when Ollie Watkins dragged wide, but most of the first period was played out in front of the two defences, predominantly in the Villa half as the Spurs probed for a way through their massed ranks.
Tottenham did finally carve out an opening five minutes before half-time but Ivan Perisic clipped over a cross to the back post where Harry Kane headed goalwards but Ashley Young just managed to nod it off the line.
Villa had failed to test Hugo Lloris in the first half but that immediately changed at the start of the second as they swept forward and snatched the lead. The goalkeeper failed to hold Luiz’s long-range shot, and the alert Watkins reacted quickest to tee up Buendia, who had an easy first-time finish.
Spurs came close to levelling when Perisic prodded over the bar having collected Yves Bissouma’s cross. The visitors continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides and they stunned the stadium with a second goal after 73 minutes.
Luiz played the ball into McGinn and burst into the box, collecting a superbly weighted return pass from the Villa captain and nonchalantly flicking the ball past Lloris. After this win, Aston Villa are in 12th position with 21 points from 17 matches, just one point behind Crystal Palace (22) and two away from Brentford (23).
The result is a setback for Tottenham, who are in the fifth spot with 30 points from 17 games. Their defeat opens up an opportunity for Liverpool (28 points) to overtake them by beating Brentford on Monday.