On the heels of Aston Villa's worst performance in recent memory, a clearly beleaguered side responded in the worst possible way. Tottenham Hotspur dominated the first half before turning a brief spell of quality from Villa into the opening goal just after the break. From there it was a familiar story, with Aston Villa's complete and total collapse giving way to another three from Spurs and the referee's whistle bringing a 4-0 end to a second consecutive thumping. After finally making good on a month's worth of real promise in defeating Norwich City and Liverpool by a combined score of 7-2, Villa have been outscored 12-0 over their last two games and once again find themselves far too close to the bottom three for comfort.
It was something of a minor miracle that the teams headed to halftime with the score still 0-0, as Spurs were dominant from the opening whistle. Tottenham managed to win 15 corners in the first half alone, and if not for some tremendous saves from Brad Guzan and excellent last-ditch defending from the Villa back line the game could have easily been out of reach before the half-hour mark. Stephen Ireland was brought on for an injured Nathan Baker in the 45th minute and Ashley Westwood made way for Marc Albrighton at the start of the second half, giving Villa a far more aggressive posture.
For a time, the changes appeared to have worked; Villa began the second period brightly, finally pressuring the Spurs defense and giving Hugo Lloris work to do for the first time. But with Villa committing more men forward it left them vulnerable at the back, and Jermain Defoe wasted little time in exploiting the space and putting Tottenham ahead in the 57th minute. That was the end for Villa, as Gareth Bale would double the lead three minutes later and add two more for good measure. A Villa team that has made a habit of responding positively after big losses just didn't have it in them today, and from the moment Defoe's opener hit the back of the net it was pretty clearly over with.
Aston Villa now face a test with 18th placed Wigan Athletic coming to Birmingham on Saturday. With the season now halfway over and the gap between Villa and drop standing at just three points, some breathing room heading into January would be a welcome sight. Those in search of an upside to the debacle that has been the past week can take some comfort from the fact that three points from Liverpool away, Chelsea away and Spurs at home is not on the face of things the worst outcome, but the writing is pretty clearly on the wall; this team isn't good enough or deep enough for anyone to feel comfortable, and some kind of change has to happen before things get even further out of hand. Whether it's in the form of changes to the squad, changes to the approach or some combination of the two is yet to be seen. But the situation at Villa Park has quite clearly become untenable.