Spurs leapfrogged Arsenal, West Brom and Everton to climb into the Champions League spots with Jermain Defoe also on target in the emphatic win at Villa ParkTottenham made it a Christmas to forget for Aston Villa as it condemned the hosts to a second big defeat in four days with a 4-0 victory.
A second-half hat trick from Gareth Bale and a Jermain Defoe strike punished some sloppy defending from Villa to seal all three points for Andre Villas-Boas’ side.
Villa made three changes to side that was battered by Chelsea as Eric Lichaj, Barry Bannan and Andreas Weimann were replaced by Joe Bennett, Karim El Ahmadi and Fabian Delph. Spurs made two changes to their defense with Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker both dropped to the bench in favor of William Gallas and Kyle Naughton.
The visitors dominated the opening half and should have tested goalkeeper Brad Guzan more, but the American was only really stretched from a Gareth Bale strike in the 15th minute. Emmanuel Adebayor had two good chances from two of Spurs’ 15 first half corners but didn’t get any power in either of his efforts.
Two changes from Lambert just before and during halftime brought Villa to life as Stephen Ireland and Marc Albrighton gave the hosts much more of an attacking threat. And it was Albrighton who caused trouble almost immediately after coming on but his crosses into the penalty area were easily dealt with Hugo Loris.
Despite Villa’s improvements, the club was punished just before the hour as Naughton superbly found Defoe inside the penalty area, and the England striker made no mistake poking the ball through the legs of Guzan for his 14th goal of the season.
The visitors doubled their lead minutes later as they punished some sloppy attacking from Villa with a devastating counter attack. Benteke’s cross was intercepted and cleared by the Spurs defense, as Ciaran Clark failed to control the long ball and Defoe touched the ball away from Joe Bennett’s challenge for Bale to race clear. Once inside the penalty area he danced around Guzan and simply tapped in the ball.
The points were sealed in the 73rd minute as Bale added his second and Spurs’ third with an easy finish into the bottom corner giving Guzan no chance. Lennon jinked along the edge of the penalty area, spotted Bale and rolled a perfect pass into him and the Welshman fired into the bottom corner.
Bale completed his hat trick in the 84th minute as another lovely passing move released Gylfi Sigurdsson inside the penalty area and he rolled the ball back to Bale, and the Welshman couldn’t miss from eight yards out.