PL Sunday preview: Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur


As the FA Cup quarterfinals continue, just one game on the Premier League fixture schedule for Sunday…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 12 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

Tottenham’s pursuit of the 2015-16 PL title sees them face an absolute must-win-at-all-costs game on Sunday, as Mauricio Pochettino‘s side travel to Villa Park to take on bottom-of-the-league side Aston Villa. Remi Garde’s side (16 points from 29 games) is not only nine points off the pace of relegation safety, but also eight points adrift of 19th-place Newcastle United. Villa have won just three times on the season (twice in their last nine league games).

It’s been a rough go of late for Spurs, who last week had a chance to go top of the league, but instead dropped a combined five points in a loss to West Ham United and a draw with Arsenal. Prior to that stretch, they had won six straight league games, climbing from fourth to second in the process. Harry Kane continues to lead the way for Spurs with 17 goals in 29 league games — one-season wonder, right? — but the story of the north London side’s campaign remains its defense: their 24 goals conceded is the fewest in the league, three fewer than the next closest side, Manchester United. Meanwhile, Villa’s 22 goals scored is the lowest total in the league, six fewer than anyone else.

[ MORE: Saturday — Man City draw at Norwich | Bournemouth 3-2 Swansea ]

When these sides met back in November, it was Spurs who cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane, courtesy of goals scored by Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele.

On the injury front, Villa will be without Jack Grealish (ankle), Adama Traore (foot) and Jordan Amavi (knee), while Carlos Sanchez (hamstring) will be assessed prior to Sunday’s kickoff. As for Spurs, Jan Vertonghen (knee) remains out, as is Clinton Njie (knee), while Danny Rose (calf) will be available for selection once again. Eric Dier and Dele Alli also return to the side after staying in London for Spurs’ 3-0 Europa League defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Thursday.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-3 Tottenham