The transformation in the fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur since their nightmare August has been nothing short of remarkable.
Battered in consecutive games by the Manchester clubs, Spurs were bottom of the league, struggling to make worthwhile additions to their squad and facing the prospect of losing key man Luka Modric.
Fast-forward three months and the picture couldn’t be more different. Chelsea failed to lure Modric to Stamford Bridge and just as crucially late singings in the form of Emmanuel Adebayor and Scott Parker added the quality manager Harry Redknapp was so desperate to acquire.
Tottenham haven’t looked back. Seven wins from eight Premier League games, the majority won in swashbuckling style, have put Tottenham firmly in Champions League contention and they have little to fear from today’s visitors Aston Villa.
Odds of 12/25 for a Spurs win don’t give much away – the draw is 16/5 while Villa are priced at 21/4 – but I don’t think odds-on homes come much more nailed on.
Spurs are in an entirely different class to Alex McLeish’s side, who are flattered by their current position in the top half of the table.
McLeish was the rather uninspired choice of Villa owner Randy Lerner to take the reins in the summer, and his penchant for solid rather than spectacular football has not won over a fanbase baffled by the appointment of a man who twice relegated their great rivals Birmingham City.
Villa may have only lost away from home once this season – and most sides are going to get beaten at Manchester City – but they are yet to win in five games, and trips to Fulham, Everton, QPR and Sunderland hardly represent the Premier League’s toughest assignments.
More worryingly, statistics show that Villa are allowing the opposition more shots, more shots on target and more corners than they themselves are managing and their negative difference puts them in the Premier League bottom three for each category.
An easy fixture list has masked this, but Tottenham are different proposition entirely and have the firepower to inflict a convincing defeat on the Villans. Rather than taking the 12/25, though, there are more profitable ways of making Tottenham supremacy pay.
For starters, the 11/10 on a home win that features more than 2.5 goals is a more sensible play.
Only one Tottenham match this season has featured less than three goals and there is no reason the trend can’t continue, particularly given Tottenham’s habit of conceding soft goals.
Spurs have kept just two clean sheets this term, which will give Villa, who have failed to score just twice, some encouragement they can score a goal.
With this in mind, the odds of 3/1 that Spurs beat Villa 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 look very inviting.
I would also advise the Tottenham/Tottenham half time/fulltime double result at 23/20 – that has been the case in five of their seven league wins this season, and each of their three home victories.
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