clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Villa v. Tottenham: Sherwood, Kane, Benteke. Let's do this.

New, comments

Aston Villa head to White Hart Lane tomorrow as Tim Sherwood makes his return to his old stomping grounds. It's gonna be fun.

Goodbye, gilet.
Goodbye, gilet.
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The most interesting match in football this weekend takes place tomorrow at White Hart Lane.

But wait! Isn't the Manchester derby Sunday?

The most interesting match in football this weekend takes place tomorrow at White Hart Lane.

Look, it's not that I'm trying to discredit the importance of the Manchester derby — though really it's not that meaningful with both set to qualify for the Champions League but not win the Premier League — but this is Tim Sherwood's return with Aston Villa to his old stomping grounds.

Can Harry Kane beat the man who gave him his first opportunity at White Hart Lane? Will tons of Spurs supporters wear gilets to the match to mock their former "headmaster?" If Villa score first, will Tim Sherwood lose his mind?

If Emmanuel Adebayor plays (lol) and scores an own goal (lol), will Tim Sherwood salute him?

(Can this pretty please happen?)

You go around to anyone who follows English football and the one man they have an opinion on — perhaps more than anyone else — is Tim Sherwood. I don't know why. But that's part of what makes this match so damn compelling.

A lot of Spurs supporters have a lot of vitriol toward "Tactics Tim" and I'm not quite sure why. He had a solid win ratio and guided Tottenham to a finish that would have been good enough for the top four in eight of the nine prior years.

Needless to say, he did pretty well for himself there.

He was never getting the job for an extended period of time though for reasons we've kind of seen already at Villa — he's not exactly the best tactical manager and his Spurs teams struggled to win the big matches. Failure to win those? It makes a manager's record seem worse than perhaps it really is.

But, of course, the eccentric human being that is Sherwood returns to his old stomping grounds. I'm sure Paddy Power's already got a load of tweets lined up for the match — at least 50% will feature the word "slag" in it — and we'll see who else is "up for the banter" come tomorrow afternoon.

Though with everything wrapped up in Sherwood's return, it's a vitally important chance for Villa to build some momentum headed into a Wembley date with Liverpool.

Oh yeah, and a chance to pick up points to try and pull away from the relegation battle.

It'll be interesting to see how this one turns out. In the Villa Park version of this fixture in November, Villa were the better side for the first 60 or so minutes until Christian Benteke raised his arm and got sent off. (Hey, maybe that would've been a good time for the ‘orange’ card.)

Then Spurs came back, scored twice as Harry Kane saw a deflected free kick beat Brad Guzan in the 90th minute and everyone went crazy because OMG HARRY STYLES KANE and Villa were denied three points.

Obviously, this time around, Villa can't afford a red.

But there's certainly reason for hope going into tomorrow's clash.

Let's start with the opponents. Spurs aren't playing particularly great — they drew 0-0 against Burnley at the weekend after conceding thrice to Leicester City the match before — and, quite frankly, I'm not sure anyone at that club really wants the Europa League spot they're slotted to receive.

It wouldn't surprise me if Spurs try and do everything in their power to give Swansea City seventh place before the season's done. I don't think they can, but they might try.

And on the bright side for Villa, the most important player in tomorrow's match is now squarely on form.

Look at that conversion rate! Second to none! [/bad joke]

Much like Sherwood did with the aforementioned Adebayor last year at Spurs, he's revitalized Christian Benteke since coming to the club. Those seven goals have all come in Villa's last five games and they've seen the Claret and Blues take home seven points from five outings.

When Benteke's on, we can always feel Villa have a chance of nicking a result they maybe shouldn't get. We saw the beautiful counterattack from Gabby Abonlahor to the Belgian striker for Villa's second Tuesday and I wouldn't at all be surprised to see a similar move tomorrow.

Benteke is full of confidence and that's huge right now. Villa have to feed him.

Jack Grealish should also remain in the squad, which will boost Villa's chances immensely.

But I feel Sherwood's tactical naïveté might very well rear its ugly head again tomorrow; he'll either leave Villa too open from the start or not answer tactical shifts made by his opponents.

Whatever though. Maybe Benteke saves us. He's way too good for this club.

Up the Villa!

P.S. — For the most part, I like Spurs supporters. They're cute. U.S.-based Tottenham fans are typically the people who want winning something to be meaningful but don't want to root for, I don't know, a team like Villa. That's cool and I respect that.