Son 8/10, Alderweireld 5/10 as Spurs nick Villa at the death
Tottenham Hotspur moved to within one point of fourth place in the Premier League table after a dramatic 3-2 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.
Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld scored at both ends in a frantic opening half-hour, before Son Heung-min followed up his own saved penalty to put Tottenham ahead on the stroke of half-time. The North Londoners were pegged back after 53 minutes as Bjorn Engels rose highest to meet a Jack Grealish corner, but Son had the final say, pouncing on an Engels error to slot home in the final seconds to claim all three points for Tottenham.
The Spurs attacking quadrant of Son, Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn and Dele Alli has a lovely balance to it, and the threat they pose, especially away from home, will surely deliver a few more vital results between now and the end of the season.
Jose Mourinho’s side are absolutely all over the place defensively, and their opponents were able to slice through a cumbersome back four with ease in the first half. The side’s defending on both Villa goals was amateur to say the least.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Tottenham continue to leak cheap goals under Mourinho, and his failure to deal with their season-long defensive fragility could well cost them a place in the Champions League next season.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 6 — The Frenchman should have communicated better with Alderweireld for the opener and could arguably have come out to claim the cross himself. There was a general edginess to the goalkeeper’s play throughout, particularly when dealing with balls into the box.
DF Ben Davies, 6 — On his return to the side following a three-month injury lay-off, the left-back didn’t do enough to deal with Anwar El Ghazi on the way to the opener, but redeemed himself shortly after with a goal-saving block to deny Douglas Luiz.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 5 — Had a total nightmare on the opener as he failed to proactively engage with El Ghazi’s looping cross, before poking into his own net while under pressure from Villa forward Mbwana Samatta, before making amends with a brilliant half-volley to level the score at 1-1. Questions will also be asked of the defender for Villa’s second goal after he was beaten to a header by Engels.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 6 — Easily the most secure of the Spurs defenders, but that isn’t saying a great deal, and the Colombian passed through the 90 without incident.
DF Serge Aurier, 6 — The right-back continues to struggle as a defensive entity, and he had a tough time trying to deal with the double threat of Grealish and Matt Targett. That said, the Ivorian was offered very little in the way of support by his right-wing colleague Lucas.
MF Harry Winks, 6 — Grew in influence as Spurs got a foothold in the game after a tough opening quarter of an hour, and came close to scoring on the stroke of half-time with a curling effort from the edge of the box that just evaded the top corner.
MF Eric Dier, 6 — Kept play ticking over, but doesn’t have the dynamism to really take hold of a game from a deep midfield position. With his manager looking for some creative spark, Dier was replaced on the hour by Giovani Lo Celso
MF Lucas Moura, 5 — The Brazilian was guilty of some poor decision-making on more than one occasion when presented with great openings in the final third, choosing to take chances on himself rather than moving the ball on to teammates in better positions.
MF Dele Alli, 5 — Should have done a much better when he had just the keeper to beat in the first half, albeit from a tight angle, but the England man prodded well wide when he should have at least hit the target. That wasn’t the only time he failed to make the most of decent chances and he was replaced after 82 minutes by Gedson Fernandes.
MF Steven Bergwijn, 6 — Won his side a penalty on the stroke of half-time as he got on the wrong side of Engels, and the January signing from PSV Eindhoven looked a real threat on the counter. Replaced at the death by Jan Vertonghen.
FW Son Heung-min, 8 — A poor penalty was well saved by Pepe Reina, but the South Korean was quickest to the loose ball and poked it home in first-half stoppage time to put Spurs ahead. Later won the game at the death as he raced clear and put the ball beyond Reina after a calamitous error by Engels.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 6 — An excellent ball over the top released Aurier into space for a big chance in the 70th minute, before forcing a comfortable save from Reina in injury time.
MF Gedson Fernandes, N/R — Failed to get into the game in his short cameo.
DF Jan Vertonghen, N/R — Brought on for the final few seconds to see the game out.