There are so many places you could start with this match. For instance, you could focus on the 531 minutes Aston Villa have gone without a goal. While the streak is longer than any Villa have had since at least 2010, it's the third such extended run in the past two seasons. There's obviously a tactical problem at work that prevents this club from scoring despite having players who should, ostensibly, be able to find the back of the net.
Or, we could start with 6 years, 1 month, and 18 days. That's not another scoring stat, it's how long we've waited since Aston Villa last beat Tottenham. Since 15 September 2008, the two clubs have played 12 times. Villa's record in those matches has been 0-3-9. In the 30 matches since we left the 20th century behind, Villa have won six times, drawn ten, and lost fourteen. Any way you slice it, Spurs have had Villa's number for a long time.
But I think it's better to start somewhere else. With everything done on Saturday, Villa are in 15th. Two points above the meaningless-at-this-point relegation line. By the end of tomorrow, a loss could mean that they drop to 16th. A win could push them to 11th (and maybe 10th if they absolutely tear Spurs apart). After a five-match goalless/pointless streak, Villa desperately need something from this match. And really, they need a win.
Because a win gives them momentum and propels them into a stretch of matches against West Ham, Burnley, Crystal Palace, West Brom, and a few other beatable teams. It's not an easy stretch, or at least there's no way to think it is now, but it's one that could see Villa put this horrible spell behind us. As I've said numerous times this season, the talent is there on this club to finish top half. And I don't think that's impossible at this point. We're only nine matches into the season, and there are plenty left to play. Win a few in a row, or at least get points, and things don't seem so dire.
And really, a loss tomorrow doesn't harm Villa that much. That same stretch is still ahead of them, and they still have the time and ability to make a run at the top half. But a sixth loss in a row is an idea that I just don't want to come to terms with. It may happen, and recent history suggests that it will happen. But I'll deal with that if we get there. For now let's just hope that the club can turn things around against a very beatable Spurs team. We've waited for more than 50 days. It's time we finally got something to cheer about.