Tottenham 0-2 Aston Villa: Player ratings as sluggish Spurs slump to defeat
By Tom Gott
Tottenham put on another concerning showing for their home fans as they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Aston Villa on Sunday.
After another slow start, Emiliano Buendia tapped home shortly after the break but, unlike in previous weeks, conceding did not spark Spurs into life and Douglas Luiz put them to the sword with a nice finish to seal the victory.
The first chance fell to Ollie Watkins. The Villa striker beat the offside trap and cut inside, but he dragged his effort well wide of the goal when he really should have at least tested Hugo Lloris.
Moments later, Matt Doherty went down the other end and weaved his way into the box, but a last-ditch challenge from Boubacar Kamara prevented a clear sight of the Villa goal.
After 20 minutes of both sides threatening to offer some entertainment, Ivan Perisic got in behind and tried to get around Robin Olsen before crossing in towards Harry Kane, whose header was flicked away by a desperate lunge by Ashley Young.
Spurs were the better side as the first half drew to a close but the first 45 minutes of Premier League action in 2023 could easily be some of the worst we see all year.
Just five minutes into the second half, there was some fun as Villa took the lead. A long strike from Luiz was spilled at the feet of Watkins, whose cut-back to Buendia was happily finished off - the tenth game in a row in which Spurs have conceded first.
Ivan Perisic missed a great chance to level the scoreline soon after but he couldn't keep his lunging effort down.
A series of quick passes gifted a half-chance to Kane but the isolated striker had to contort his body for a volley which never looked like threatening Olsen.
With 17 minutes to go, Luiz hammered the nail into Spurs' coffin. A glorious one-two with John McGinn put the Brazilian through on goal and he happily dinked the ball past Lloris to seal the three points.
As the clock ticked on, it never looked like Spurs would get back into it and there are yet more questions for Antonio Conte to answer.
Tottenham player ratings (3-4-3)
GK: Hugo Lloris - 5/10 - Did nothing apart from spill the ball at Watkins' feet for the opener.
CB: Clement Lenglet - 5/10 - The only creative player in Spurs' side in the first half, but lost all influence after the break.
CB: Cristian Romero - 5/10 - Threw himself at everything and usually got his foot on the ball, but spoiled his performance by failing to react for the opener. A good example of Romero's game, really.
CB: Ben Davies - 5/10 - Didn't offer enough going forwards. Felt like he was too slow in possession.
RM: Matt Doherty - 5/10 - An early threat. Made a number of excellent runs but nobody wanted to pass to him in the first half. Significantly quieter after the break.
CM: Yves Bissouma - 3/10 - Too safe and reserved. Booked and now suspended for the Crystal Palace game.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - 4/10 - Nice work rate but similarly offered so little going forwards. Doesn't seem like he can work alongside Bissouma.
LM: Ivan Perisic - 4/10 - One of the few players who actually looked keen to make something happen in the first half. Guilty of a handful of poor decisions and completely disappeared after the break.
RW: Bryan Gil - 5/10 - Lively with his movement without ever really threatening to do anything significant.
ST: Harry Kane - 2/10 - Didn't touch the ball for 20 minutes (genuinely) and all the touches he did have were miles away from the goal. Something was really wrong tactically.
LW: Son Heung-min - 2/10 - Can't fault his effort for trying to get involved but nearly everything Son attempted didn't come off. Another concerning performance.
Ryan Sessegnon (63' for Gil) - 5/10 - The odd nice move but rarely looked like threatening.
Pape Matar Sarr (80' for Bissouma) - N/A
Emerson Royal (80' for Doherty) - N/A
Djed Spence (88' for Perisic) - N/A
Oliver Skipp (88' for Hojbjerg) - N/A
Antonio Conte - 3/10 - Obviously hampered by injuries but when it takes your team 20 minutes to find one of the best strikers on the planet, there's a problem with your system.
Aston Villa player ratings (4-4-2)
GK: Robin Olsen - 6/10 - Solid. Didn't need to do anything spectacular but did his job well. Really comfortable claiming crosses.
RB: Ashley Young - 7/10 - Cleared Kane's header off the line and seemed determined to throw himself at everything.
CB: Ezri Konsa - 7/10 - Impressive on the ground as he marked Spurs' forwards out of the game. A little concerning in the air, however.
CB: Tyrone Mings - 7/10 - Had the odd scare but largely looked comfortable up against Spurs' front line.
LB: Lucas Digne - 6/10 - Took a while to get used to facing Doherty but eventually sorted himself out.
RM: John McGinn - 7/10 - Asked to play as a second right-back to keep Son quiet and, to be fair to him, he did a nice job of it. Rarely got forward but made it count when he did with an excellent pass for Luiz.
CM: Boubacar Kamara - 8/10 - A monstrous performance at the base of Villa's midfield. Swallowed up so much of Spurs' space and always seemed to be in the right place.
CM: Douglas Luiz - 8/10 - Nice energy around the midfield to make things hard for Tottenham. An ambitious pop shot for the opener but deserved the luck that came with it, and a glorious finish for the second. His five shots was a personal best in a Premier League game.
LM: Emiliano Buendia - 7/10 - Did so much unselfish defending either side of composedly tapping into the back of the net.
ST: Leon Bailey - 5/10 - Worked hard but didn't get a whole lot of luck centrally. Spurs' three centre-backs looked comfortable dealing with him.
ST: Ollie Watkins - 7/10 - Excellent work rate and reactions for the opening goal. Clearly loves doing the dirty work and was really effective with it.
Matty Cash (65' for Bailey) - 6/10 - Played as a right winger but did a decent job of it.
Philippe Coutinho (78' for McGinn) - 6/10 - Didn't get much time.
Jan Bednarek (82' for Konsa) - N/A
Danny Ings (82' for Luiz) - N/A
Calum Chambers (82' for Buendia) - N/A
Unai Emery - 7/10 - There are questions about his system but Emery got the most out of Buendia and McGinn as wide players in a four. Still a few questions to address - is Leon Bailey the right striker for him? - but cannot fault the results.