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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
26 December 2012
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 36863
J. Defoe 58'
G. Bale 61', 73', 84'
The Villa defence were still shaking after the Chelsea demolition and showed little signs of improvement today. Tottenham were robust in their approach, from defence, through the middle and on the attack. Villas-Boas will be highly impressed with his team as they go into the New Year on a high.
As the whistle blows, the visiting fans roar while the home fans boo, we expected a high-scoring game but all the goals balanced to one side. What a belated Christmas present for Gareth Bale and the Spurs fans after recovering from the stalemate against Stoke and delivering the goods today.
Sigurdsson thumps the ball over the ball with an audacious attempt from an unlikely angle.
The game has slowed down now as Villa have given up and Tottenham are in cruise control.
Bale finishes his game on the highest of the highest as he makes his way for Andros Townsend.
Bale earns his first ever hattrick for Spurs after making a clever run into the middle of the box and sliding in on a neat pass from Sigurdsson to poke the ball into the back of the net!
Benteke heads a lofted ball down and it falls back into the safe hands of Lloris, who has not had much to worry about today.
Adebayor heads for the sidelines after a reasonably quiet game and is replaced by Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Game over here for Villa as the travelling faithful are in full voice while many of the home fans head for the exits.
Bale bags his second after controlling Lennon's short pass and calmly sends the ball into the bottom corner!
Herd heads Bale's whipped in ball away, preventing Adebayor from connecting with it.
Yellow CardFabian Delph
Delph receives yellow after a nasty late challenge on Lennon and the 23-year old doesn't look surprised.
Scott Parker comes on for Dembele, Villas-Boas gives the England international some much needed game time after his recovery as his side are in a comfortable position.
Lambert looks frustrated as Villa waste another attacking move by allowing the ball to go out for a goal kick.
Bale takes advantage of a swift counter after a Villa attack and finishes as the momentum changes in a matter of seconds following a failed Benteke cross!
Defoe latches on to a beautiful through ball from Naughton as the England international calmly slots the ball into the back of the net!
A golden chance for Benteke goes in vain as the official flags for offside.
Walker's corner is again wasted as the ball ends up on the other flank of the pitch for another Spurs throw in.
Throw in for Spurs, which Lennon throws long into the penalty area and the ball is headed out for a corner.
Villa look much more intent in their approach, with some more width in their formation.
Benteke kicks off for Villa, who have brought on Marc Albrighton for Ashley Westwood who gets straight into the action.
The referee blows for half time at Villa Park and it is a surprise that Spurs are not a few ahead after a series of dominating attacks. Villa have been stubborn in their approach of giving Spurs space so they can feed on the counter but this strategy has not been effective for the hosts as they could be 3-0 down if it wasn't for a string of top saves by Brad Guzan.
Stephen Ireland comes on for the injured the Nathan Baker as Lambert is forced to play a 4-3-2-1 formation.
Villa win their first corner of the game, which is straight into the hands of Lloris.
Delph swiftly slips the ball through to Benteke, who is found offside.
Another strong save from Guzan from a long-range Bale strike as Spurs continue to pile on the pressure.
Late challenge from El Ahmadi on Lennon, who is lucky not to walk away with a card.
Vertonghen heads the ball wide for a goal kick after connecting with Bale's corner.
Holman unable to finish from a fast-paced counter from Villa as he scuffs his shot wide.
Adebayor's left-foot strike is deflected for a corner, which Bake knocks in but is cleared for a throw in.
Bale with another corner, which is headed towards goal from Adebayor but falls safely in the hands of Guzan.
Walker back on for Spurs as Gallas misplaces his pass for a Villa throw in near the Spurs box.
Another respite for Villa, as Walker heads for the touchline to recover from a small knock.
The Tottenham midfield are really putting off-the-ball pressure on the Villa back four, forcing them to quickly boot the ball forward.
Walker with a corner, headed clear by Baker, Lowton breaks for a counter but Benteke slips as Spurs regain control.
Westwood gives the ball away as Defoe slips the ball to Lennon but his attempted cross is cleared by Herd.
Benteke and Holman unable to break Gallas and Vertonghen as Spurs build another attack.
Villa have rarely had the ball in Spurs' half so far, strong football from Spurs.
Delph down after clashing with his own teammate, maybe this is a chance for a Villa regroup.
All Spurs so far as they win another free kick that is defended strongly by Villa.
Guzan with a great save from Bale's sweet strike as Spurs have another corner.
Walker's corner is again dissappointing as the ball is still fought for on the edge of the box.
The ball deflects off the wall and goes for a corner, which is taken poorly by Walker and goes for a throw in.
Free kick for Spurs as Bale and Defoe lineup to take it from the edge of the box.
Goal kick as Bale sends the ball flying after a scuffed hit.
Clark hesitantly deals with Bale's short cross as the ball goes out for a corner.
Dembele picks out Naughton who is unable to cross it in the box as Villa look to counter.
So the Spurs strikers get off this expected thriller under way!
Very interesting to see that Paul Lambert has opted for a very familiar looking defence to that conceded eight against Chelsea - the likes of Lennon, Defoe and Adebayor will be keen to have a real go at the Villa back line.
Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Vertonghen, Gallas, Naughton; Lennon, Dembele, Sandro, Bale; Defoe, Adebayor.
Aston Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Baker, Clark, Herd, Bennett; Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph; Holman; Benteke.
A very happy Boxing Day to everyone, my name is Sumit and thanks for joining me for the evening clash between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.
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