Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Match Review: Everyone Breathe

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Sandro of Tottenham Hotspur is tackled by Richard Dunne of Aston Villa resulting in a pentalty, during the Barclays Premier League between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park on May 6, 2012 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Watching this game on delay meant watching this game with no earthly idea as to what had happened elsewhere was, I would guess, something of a different experience than watching with divided attention. I hate scoreboard watching, largely because I'm generally a big enough mess during games, and given the way things unfolded in the Bolton and QPR games I likely would have been sitting in a corner rocking back and forth and muttering to myself. Without the other scores to distract myself, I merely rocked back in forth in complete silence as Aston Villa somehow managed to hang on for a points against Tottenham Hotspur, a point which we now know has all but guaranteed safety from relegation.

Given the circumstances, this was about the best performance anyone could have hoped for; Spurs had the majority of possession, but a compact Villa back four eight prevented them from taking anything from the run of play. Ciaran Clark's goal that was likely bound for Row Z had it not taken a deflection off of Younes Kaboul is the perfect example of why it's worth it to take those shots from time to time, and Emmanuel Adebayor's penalty is a prime example of why you ought to be very damned sure you're getting the ball when you make a tackle in the box. It was frustrating to concede in that manner as it really did feel like Spurs were out of ideas, but it's hard to be too angry at Richard Dunne, or of of Villa's defenders. They were tremendous today, and they've really stepped things up since it's become apparent that their teammates on the attacking side weren't going to be much of a factor.

I've been critical of the kind of football Aston Villa has been playing for quite some time now, but today it was a fairly obvious decision. It would be delusional to suggest that Villa deserved a win, but they came fairly close to getting one and that likely wouldn't have been the case had Spurs had more space in which to operate in their attacking third. I'm as tired of McLeish's constant excuses as the next guy, but he does have a point in regards to the injury situation; consider as well that Villa was forced to use all three of their subs due to injury before the 70th minute, and it's pretty easy to justify the hang on for a point mentality on display for much of the final half hour.

It's tempting to complain that Villa were ahead when Spurs went down to ten men with more than half an hour remaining and still managed to drop points, but that lead was never holding up; when you consider as well that Villa didn't have the luxury of making any substitutions in midfield (despite Charles N'Zogbia carrying a pretty obvious knock throughout the majority of the game) it's honestly a testament to the determination of the players on the pitch to see it through. There have been consistent complaints this season from certain segments of the fanbase about the "desire" and "fight" of this Villa squad. I've always found them to be complete and total bullshit, if you'll pardon my language, and I don't think you could have asked for more of an effort from the team than they put on display.

So at this point, the only thing about this season that still matters has been attended to. Alan Hutton's leg is still in one piece. Andreas Weimann's injury could have been much worse than it ended up being. Stephen Ireland has been just tremendous as of late. Now everyone's attention will turn to the managerial situation, the transfer market and all of the other things that consume us during the off-season. There's still another game left, but it's not really important anymore; for that, I am grateful.

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