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Villa predictably average

Aston Villa
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Kevin Hughes Aston Villa  By Kevin Hughes

Tottenham inflict 20th Premier League defeat on fragile Aston Villa

ESPN FC's Craig Burley reacts to Tottenham's comprehensive victory over lowly Aston Villa.

The numbers don't lie. Aston Villa's 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday was the club's 20th in a season which is now 30 matches old. It was the team's fifth consecutive loss and also a fifth consecutive loss to these opponents at Villa Park in all competitions.

The fact that Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino decided to rest many of his key players in Thursday's Europa League tie to prepare for this game, was the source of some amusement at the time. If there's a fixture in this 2015-16 campaign that can be won at a stroll, it's against Villa.

Tottenham took their time to go in front but once they did, the contest looked very much like a training ground exercise. Pochettino might regret that the winning margin wasn't greater, and pray the league title isn't settled on goal difference.

Aston VillaAston Villa
Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
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Tottenham's goals were both easy. The opener, right at the end of the first half, was down to Villa's defence sleeping and succumbing to a quick free kick. Amateur stuff. The second, a couple of minutes after half-time, the result of a swift break; Villa's defence seems never more vulnerable than when the team is actually attacking.

Typically, the goals were conceded close together and it's one of the many nasty habits of Remi Garde's team, that as soon as they fall behind, they rapidly fall apart. At least the score stayed at a 'respectable' 2-0.

There was a bit of huff and puff from Villa but not much quality and no consolation goal to cheer; Rudy Gestede hit the woodwork from a yard or so. Instead, the home fans entertained themselves by displaying 'Lerner Out' banners, in protest at the ownership of Randy Lerner. Stewards fussed and fretted, and eventually succeeded in confiscating two, if not three banners. It scarcely mattered -- Lerner surely doesn't need to see his name in block capital letters to know his popularity among the supporters is at an all-time low.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan
Brad Guzan was the only Aston Villa player who showed up against Tottenham Hotspur.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):

GK Brad Guzan, 7 -- Kept the game goalless for the majority of the first half with a handful of good saves. Showed better form since returning to the side -- though shot-stopping was never his problem.

DF Alan Hutton, 5 -- At fault for both goals, allowing Harry Kane to get behind him for the opener and then caught out by Dele Alli, who powered down the left to set the striker up for his second.

DF Jores Okore, 5 -- Back in the line-up after a two-match absence but unable to influence an improvement in Villa's porous defence. Played Kane onside for the first goal.

DF Joleon Lescott, 5 -- A strange choice as captain given the uneasy status of his relationship with the supporters. Missed a late chance horribly.

DF Aly Cissokho, 5 -- Poor crossing when he got forward, beaten to Alli's cross by Kane for the game's second goal.

MF Carles Gil, 5 -- No denying the Spaniard has ability but too often kept quiet this season and failed to spark against Spurs.

MF Jordan Veretout, 5 -- Disappointing and recent performances have rarely peaked above average. A shanked cross-field pass with teammates in good positions in the first half summed up his afternoon.

MF Idrissa Gana, 7 -- Villa's best outfield player, showing drive and determination in the middle of park. Won't be at the club next season; he's bound to get snapped up.

MF Ashley Westwood, 6 -- Okay, nothing more. Why Garde doesn't at least try Jordan Lyden as an alternative in his central midfield role is a mystery.

Aston Villa's Jordan Ayew
Villa forward Jordan Ayew never quite got going against the league's best defence.

FW Jordan Ayew, 5 -- The purple patch of form he enjoyed around Christmas is long gone. Playing wide on the left flank, he was often too deep to cause Spurs any threat, but didn't work defensively either. Hit the post late on.

FW Rudy Gestede, 5 -- Forced Hugo Lloris into a save with a volley in the first half, later hit the crossbar from a couple of yards. Brings nuisance value but like so many of his colleagues, not Premier League class.

Substitutes

FW Andre Green, 6 -- On for Veretout, 62 minutes. Encouraging to see a senior debut for the 17-year-old, who may have a role to play next season. Let's hope he sees more game time in the next few weeks.

FW Scott Sinclair, 5 -- On for Gil, 70 minutes. His role in the side now seems to be that of late second half substitute. Not exactly pushing hard for a start.

Kevin Hughes covered Premier League football at Match magazine and was later deputy editor of Sport. You can follow him on Twitter @KevHughesie.

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