Tottenham missed the chance to return to the top four as Aston Villa ended a run of five straight Premier League defeats in London.
Emiliano Buendia and Douglas Luiz condemned Tottenham to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa in their opening match of 2023.
Antonio Conte’s side missed the chance to return to the top four as their opponents ended a run of five consecutive Premier League defeats in London.
Villa, who also kept his first clean sheet in the English capital in 14 attempts, struck twice at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after the break with neat finishes from Buendia and Douglas Luiz.
Tottenham remain fifth in the table after suffering only their second defeat in their last nine games played on New Year’s Day.
The visitors had most of the possession at the start of the first half.
A quick counter-attack culminated in Ollie Watkins drilling just wide of the near post from 20 yards, while Boubacar Kamara’s crucial block denied Matt Doherty at the other end after the Tottenham full-back’s powerful run into the box.
Villa then thanked Ashley Young five minutes before the break, whose full-back showed brilliant reflexes to clear Harry Kane’s header off the line.
However, the visitors grabbed the lead within five minutes after the restart. Watkins was quick to respond after Hugo Lloris spilled Douglas Luiz’s wild effort from long range, the England forward beating Buendio at home.
The tables almost turned in the 62nd minute when Buendia’s neat ball found Watkins, who was blocked by the recovering Doherty.
Villa grabbed a second goal to seal the points 17 minutes from time, Douglas Luiz latching on to John McGinn’s pinpoint pass and neatly beating Lloris from close range.
Tottenham player ratings (3-4-3)
GK: Hugo Lloris – 5/10 – Did nothing apart from spill the ball at Watkins’ feet for the opener.
CB: Clement Lenglet – 5/10 – The only creative player in Spurs’ side in the first half, but lost all influence after the break.
CB: Cristian Romero – 5/10 – Threw himself at everything and usually got his foot on the ball, but spoiled his performance by failing to react for the opener. A good example of Romero’s game, really.
CB: Ben Davies – 5/10 – Didn’t offer enough going forwards. Felt like he was too slow in possession.
RM: Matt Doherty – 5/10 – An early threat. Made a number of excellent runs but nobody wanted to pass to him in the first half. Significantly quieter after the break.
CM: Yves Bissouma – 3/10 – Too safe and reserved. Booked and now suspended for the Crystal Palace game.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 4/10 – Nice work rate but similarly offered so little going forwards. Doesn’t seem like he can work alongside Bissouma.
LM: Ivan Perisic – 4/10 – One of the few players who actually looked keen to make something happen in the first half. Guilty of a handful of poor decisions and completely disappeared after the break.
RW: Bryan Gil – 5/10 – Lively with his movement without ever really threatening to do anything significant.
ST: Harry Kane – 2/10 – Didn’t touch the ball for 20 minutes (genuinely) and all the touches he did have were miles away from the goal. Something was really wrong tactically.
LW: Son Heung-min – 2/10 – Can’t fault his effort for trying to get involved but nearly everything Son attempted didn’t come off. Another concerning performance.
Ryan Sessegnon (63′ for Gil) – 5/10 – The odd nice move but rarely looked like threatening.
Pape Matar Sarr (80′ for Bissouma) – N/A
Emerson Royal (80′ for Doherty) – N/A
Djed Spence (88′ for Perisic) – N/A
Oliver Skipp (88′ for Hojbjerg) – N/A
Antonio Conte – 3/10 – Obviously hampered by injuries but when it takes your team 20 minutes to find one of the best strikers on the planet, there’s a problem with your system.
Aston Villa player ratings (4-4-2)
GK: Robin Olsen – 6/10 – Solid. Didn’t need to do anything spectacular but did his job well. Really comfortable claiming crosses.
RB: Ashley Young – 7/10 – Cleared Kane’s header off the line and seemed determined to throw himself at everything.
CB: Ezri Konsa – 7/10 – Impressive on the ground as he marked Spurs’ forwards out of the game. A little concerning in the air, however.
CB: Tyrone Mings – 7/10 – Had the odd scare but largely looked comfortable up against Spurs’ front line.
LB: Lucas Digne – 6/10 – Took a while to get used to facing Doherty but eventually sorted himself out.
RM: John McGinn – 7/10 – Asked to play as a second right-back to keep Son quiet and, to be fair to him, he did a nice job of it. Rarely got forward but made it count when he did with an excellent pass for Luiz.
CM: Boubacar Kamara – 8/10 – A monstrous performance at the base of Villa’s midfield. Swallowed up so much of Spurs’ space and always seemed to be in the right place.
CM: Douglas Luiz – 8/10 – Nice energy around the midfield to make things hard for Tottenham. An ambitious pop shot for the opener but deserved the luck that came with it, and a glorious finish for the second. His five shots was a personal best in a Premier League game.
LM: Emiliano Buendia – 7/10 – Did so much unselfish defending either side of composedly tapping into the back of the net.
ST: Leon Bailey – 5/10 – Worked hard but didn’t get a whole lot of luck centrally. Spurs’ three centre-backs looked comfortable dealing with him.
ST: Ollie Watkins – 7/10 – Excellent work rate and reactions for the opening goal. Clearly loves doing the dirty work and was really effective with it.
Matty Cash (65′ for Bailey) – 6/10 – Played as a right winger but did a decent job of it.
Philippe Coutinho (78′ for McGinn) – 6/10 – Didn’t get much time.
Jan Bednarek (82′ for Konsa) – N/A
Danny Ings (82′ for Luiz) – N/A
Calum Chambers (82′ for Buendia) – N/A
Unai Emery – 7/10 – There are questions about his system but Emery got the most out of Buendia and McGinn as wide players in a four. Still a few questions to address – is Leon Bailey the right striker for him? – but cannot fault the results.