Heung-min Son and Spurs snapped back into the win column with a lively if finish-challenged 2-1 win over Aston Villa in North London on Sunday.
That’ll happen when a goalkeeper like Emiliano Martinez is involved and the Villa keeper’s six saves joined an Ollie Watkins goal in delivering brief hope that the visitors could collect a point.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored a vicious goal off a Son assist and the South Korean’s cross for Lucas Moura was later slid into the Villa goal for a Matt Targett own goal.
Tottenham now sits eighth with 12 points, two more than 10th-place Villa and two back of the top five.
Tottenham vs Aston Villa final score, stats
Final score: Tottenham Hotspur 2, Aston Villa 1
Scorers: Hojbjerg (27′), Watkins (67′), Targett o.g. (71′)
Shots: Tottenham, 17-13
Shots on target: Tottenham, 7-3
Possession: Tottenham, 57%
Three things we learned from Tottenham vs Aston Villa
1. Son shows off skills: The South Korean star rarely has an off game but he was certainly on Sunday, at least in terms of his creativity and power. The confidence he showed in driving Spurs toward both goals was impossible to miss and it’s difficult to say anyone else should be MOTM (though Hojbjerg’s rip was beautiful…).
2. Villa needs time: This might sound silly to Villa fans, who’ve watched Dean Smith and the scouting department do remarkable things with the squad, but the technical staff and players would love patience in finding the right recipe after years of “Get it to Jack” being the prime mode of operation. The club has a bevy of steady players and some flash plus a knockout goalkeeper in Emiliano Martinez. This year, a decent goal is to grow into a club that looks ready for a run at the top six and if it happens, cool.
3. Better from Kane: Maybe his substitute hat trick against weaker opposition in the UECL on Thursday unlocked his shooting boots, but Kane was improved and active vs Villa. Six shots, two on target, and probably a brace on another day. Maybe he’s just getting settled into the, “Yeah, I’m really not going anywhere and this can be fun for a bit” role.
Man of the Match: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
84 touches, just six incomplete passes, six-of-six on the dribble and 9-of-12 in ground duels altogether. Big man with a big goal.
Son a live wire early as Spurs take lead
The flicks and tricks of Spurs star Heung-min Son helped drive the game forward.
Perhaps it’s fitting Aston Villa’s defense was sucked toward Son after a Hojbjerg-led rush set to the ball to the right for the South Korean, where his footwork eventually led to a pass back to the left for an unmarked Hojbjerg and a fine low shot inside the far post.
Villa’s fight back before halftime led to some good Spurs defending and a John McGinn rip that just missed the frame.
1-1 out of nothing but not for long
Emerson Royal forced a strong save out of Emiliano Martinez early in the second half, and Son then blazed over the goal when the ball cam to the back post.
Martinez again denied Son before the hour mark, the keeper definitely Villa’s star.
But Villa attacked with venom after Jacob Ramsey and Co. caused a turnover in midfield. Oliver Skipp’s sliding challenge and an unfortunate bounce off Hojbjerg leading to Danny Ings’ racing down the left and crossing for Watkins’ hard-charging near-post finish.
Son was there again, putting Kourtney Hause on pause with a feint right and cut left, crossing for what looked like a Lucas Moura goal but will likely go down as a Matt Targett own goal.