Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Match Preview: Maybe This Time Hutton Will Play Striker

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Alan Hutton of Aston Villa and Luka Modric of Spurs fight for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on November 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

In some ways, this season's first meeting between Aston Villa and Spurs was the day Alex McLeish lost the fanbase. Starting Alan Hutton at right midfield was a popular decision with approximately zero percent of Villa fans, and the team got pretty much exactly what they deserved as Spurs went on to win by a 2-0 scoreline that didn't do justice to their actual dominance. There was a palpable turn against McLeish after that game; many people that had been willing to give the new manager a chance perhaps began to believe that said chance had been squandered. Things have not exactly gotten better since then, and Villa come into this game still in very real (if lessened) danger of being relegated for the first time since 1987. And in all honesty, there's zero reason to believe Villa will do anything to improve that standing in this game.

It wasn't all that long ago that Villa and Spurs were duking it out to become the club that would break up the Big-4 hegemony. Tottenham ended up winning that particular race, and Villa have fallen of the proverbial cliff. Spurs sign players like Emmanuel Adebayor; Villa sign players like Spurs' thrid-choice right back. These two clubs still have a lot left to play for, but the goals are clearly very different (though the financial implications are strikingly similar.) The point I'm making is, playing Spurs is really, really depressing.

There's really not much else to say, is there? Villa is falling apart, and if they end up staying in the Premier League it's almost certainly going to be because of things happening in games that don't involve them. This is a really depressing way to end the year at Villa Park. Maybe it's just the toll that this season has taken on me, but if Villa manage a point from this game I will be stunned. I want to stop having to worry about relegation more than anything, but unless something absolutely ridiculous happens, we're in for another week of misery.

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