Alex McLeish's side will be the happier with a point as they fight to stay up, with the away side disappointed after seeing the Gunners and Newcastle drop points
Tottenham’s hopes of overtaking Arsenal into third place in the Premier League table were dashed as they were held to a 1-1 draw at struggling Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.
Spurs dominated proceedings, but a deflected Ciaran Clark goal put Villa ahead as the hosts defended strongly against a barrage of attacks from the visitors.
Danny Rose was sent off early in the second half after a two-footed lunge on Alan Hutton before Emmanuel Adebayor slotted home a penalty to equalise, but the away side couldn’t find the all-important winner as they remain fourth.
Chris Herd started for Aston Villa despite being fined after a nightclub fracas involving two other players, while Alex McLeish welcomed back Stephen Ireland from injury, but Gabriel Agbonlahor missed out due to a bruised rib.
Kyle Walker broke a toe in the 4-1 midweek win over Bolton but managed to start in an unchanged Tottenham line-up, while Scott Parker returned to the bench after missing the last two games with an Achilles problem.
Villa made a bright start to the game, dominating the early possession, but the first half-chance fell to Spurs. Adebayor was found on the right-hand side of the area by Gareth Bale, and the Togo international flashed an effort wide across goal.
The home side were not deterred, however, and continued to press. But apart from a speculative Alan Hutton shot from distance, Villa didn’t create any real chances in the opening ten minutes.
Lone striker Emile Heskey then had a glorious opportunity to give Villa the lead. He latched on to a through ball from Ireland, and only a superbly-timed Younes Kaboul tackle could stop the former England international opening the scoring.
The chance spurred the visitors on, and the north London sider started to stamp their authority on the game. After a brief pause for an injury to N’Zogbia, Tottenham burst forward, leading to a chance for Walker who drove a 20-yard strike just over.
Tottenham were dominating territory and possession, but Villa defended stoically, and their bravery was rewarded on 34 minutes. The ball was worked to Clark in midfield, and he unleashed a speculative long-range effort which deflected off William Gallas and looped over a helpless Brad Friedel.
The visitors nearly drew level almost immediately. Another cross fell to Gareth Bale, and the Wales international’s effort was bound for the top corner before Shay Given produced an excellent save to tip wide.
Spurs continued to boss proceeding but couldn’t break through the Villa defence. A short corner was worked to Rafael Van der Vaart on the edge of the box, who let fly with a superb volley that whistled inches wide.
The second half carried on from where the first finished, with Tottenham pressing a Villa defence which had proved impenetrable so far.
And things went from bad to worse for the visitors as they were reduced to ten men only five minutes into the second half. Rose picked up a deserved straight red after jumping into a challenge with Hutton and catching the full-back square in the shin.
Adebayor had an excellent chance to level after he was put through by a quick Modric free kick, but the striker‘s effort tamely rolled into Given’s arms.
Sandro drilled an effort from the edge of the box which deflected wide for a corner. The Brazil international then won the ball in the area and was brought down by Richard Dunne to give the hosts a penalty, which Adebayor dispatched coolly into the right corner.
Tottenham continued to push forward, despite their numerical disadvantage. Meanwhile Andreas Weimann, a second-half substitute, was clearly in discomfort after a collision with Friedel and had to be replaced by Nathan Delfouneso.
Lennon scuffed a shot wide from distance as the visitors sensed another goal was there for the taking, but McLeish’s side nearly took the lead as Dunne rose high to meet a corner, which Kaboul did well to prevent the Ireland international from connecting with properly.
Bale drove an effort straight at Given as the match entered the late stages, but Spurs were still unable to find the winner, even with six minutes of stoppage time added, and Villa held on to earn a valuable point in their battle to avoid the drop and scupper Tottenham's push for third.
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