Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - Premier League
Aston Villa are back in the big time with a bang, as Dean Smith’s side face a daunting trip to Tottenham on the opening weekend of the 2019-20 Premier League season. While the Villans will no doubt feel they’re back where they belong, Spurs will be looking to show them just how tough the step up from the Championship is going to be.
Tottenham have won the last two meetings between the sides 2-0, with the most recent of those coming in the FA Cup in January 2017. Villa did beat Spurs 1-0 at White Hart Lane in 2015, but that’s the only time they haven’t avoided defeat against Tottenham in their last 10 fixtures against the north London outfit.
After Kieran Trippier’s transfer to Atletico Madrid, Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters are battling for the right-back berth in Mauricio Pochettino’s side. New midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is set for his debut, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll line up in midfield alongside Christian Eriksen, with the Danish playmaker’s future up in the air. Son Heung-min is suspended, while Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Ben Davies, Victor Wanyama and Juan Foyth are all injury concerns.
Villa aren’t messing around on their return to the Premier League, splashing out well over £100m on new talent. That includes two Brazilians, forward Wesley and midfielder Douglas Luiz, as well as Matt Targett, Ezri Konsa and the wonderfully monikered Marvelous Nakamba. Tyrone Mings has been signed on a permanent deal, while Anwar El Ghazi, Jed Steer and new boy Konsa are slight injury doubts.
Tottenham v Aston Villa Preview and Predictions
It’s been a summer of huge contrast when it comes to these two clubs. Tottenham ought to be buoyed by their run to last season’s Champions League final, but Pochettino’s continued grumbling regarding transfer policy means things are a little less rosy than might be expected. Opposing manager Smith could hardly have the same gripe, after the Villa board have backed their man to the hilt throughout the window.
How much of an impact that has on this game and beyond remains to be seen, but Villa will hope they can catch Spurs napping at the start of the new campaign. This is a game the newly promoted side would be expected to lose during most points of the season, but the opening weekend gives them something of a free hit.
That could make them dangerous, but there’s no doubt Tottenham start as the heavy favourites. Their transfer business may be left until the last minute once again, but with the likes of Harry Kane up top, the hosts should have more than enough to get the job done in Saturday’s late kick-off. Spurs are 2/7 for the win this weekend, while Villa are 21/2 and the draw is priced at 24/5.
Tottenham to win and BTTS at 2/1
Villa smashed in 82 goals in 46 games in the Championship last season, and they’re sure to give this game a real go. Spurs should still get the win though.
Kane to score first at 5/2
The England captain broke his August curse last season, and will be looking to put the double disappointment of the Champions League final and Nations League exit behind him as quickly as possible.