Garde Sees Scale of Task Ahead as Spurs Continue Rapid Rise

A changing of the guard at Aston Villa, with Remi Garde finally appointed the Premier League club\'s new manager, and it cannot come soon enough.

Published: 03rd November 2015 08:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd November 2015 08:27 AM   |  A+A-

A changing of the guard at Aston Villa, with Remi Garde finally appointed the Premier League club's new manager, and it cannot come soon enough. Unfortunately it did not come soon enough here.

The arrival of the Frenchman failed to provoke a positive reaction until this game was lost with Villa slumping to a seventh successive league defeat as they were defeated by a Tottenham Hotspur side who are now only a point outside the top four. And rising.

There was a sliver of hope, however, with an astonishing late rally, before that was suppressed, after Villa had spent much of this encounter simply wanting it to be over. Garde will seize on that as he prepares to take charge of his first game - at home to Manchester City. Bon chance.

The final team selection of Kevin MacDonald's brief time as Villa's caretaker manager was revealing: not one of the club's foreign summer signings made the line-up. That will have to change under Garde, of course, but, for now, a cadre of recruits sat parked on the bench.

MacDonald was also forced to reshuffle his defence with the pronouncement, delivered before kick-off, but known to the club earlier in the day, that captain Micah Richards had been handed a one-match ban and a pounds 10,000 fine by the Football Association for his clash with Swansea defender Federico Fernandez.

If that was the bad news then the good news, for Villa, was that the deal to secure Garde was tied up in time for him to beat the fog and fly to Birmingham and then beat the traffic and head down to White Hart Lane so he could take his seat

between chief executive Tom Fox, and director of recruitment Paddy Reilly, to survey the scale of the task ahead. Maybe he wished he had not bothered.

Garde was soon rubbing his face. Spurs scored. It came after just three minutes with Danny Rose playing a simple lofted pass forward down the Spurs right to Mousa Dembele who easily, all too easily, rolled Richards's replacement,

Ciaran Clark, holding him off to bear down on goal. From a tight angle it got even careless for Villa with Dembele shooting low between the legs of goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Shambolic and, yes, Villa had been caught off-Garde.

For Spurs, confidence is coursing. They had not lost for nine games, since being defeated on the opening day of the season, but Villa did eventually work their way back into the contest. Briefly.

It came with an elusive run by Scott Sinclair who tricked his way in from the left and between Kyle Walker and Eric Dier and then across Toby Alderweireld to fire a fierce shot that Hugo Lloris palmed away. The rebound fell to Jack Grealish but he sliced the halfvolley wide.

Spurs reasserted themselves with Dier sliding the ball through to Kane who also sprinted away from Clark before cutting back inside. His shot took a deflection off Alan Hutton and Guzan did well to adjust a tip it over the crossbar. From the corner Rose's snap-shot also steered just narrowly over before Dembele wriggled away to send another rising drive that veered too high.

Villa suffered another blow -  after Ashley Westwood took a blow, a stray arm from Dembele catching the midfielder who then appeared groggy and was unable to carry on as he was eventually lead down the tunnel. On came one of those new signings, Jordan Ayew.

It seemed to be one setback after another for Villa and it did get worse for them, just as the three minutes of added time were announced, with Harry Kane challenging Joleon Lescott to reach Rose's cross. Lescott headed it backwards to the edge of the penalty area where it was collected by Dele Alli.

The midfielder - with England manager Roy Hodgson watching - cushioned the ball and then calmly drove his volley beyond Guzan and into the net.

Game over? It already felt like it. Gabriel Agbonlahor who had been woeful in his woollen gloves, gave way at half-time with Rudy Gestede introduced as the visitors desperately attempted to find a way back into a contest that had so easily gone away from them.

Instead they were inevitably pushed even further back as Spurs sensed their vulnerability. Kane was crowded out as he shaped to shoot, on no fewer than three occasions, and then Rose headed over from Erik Lamela's cross.

Spurs's lifted the pace. They pushed Villa deeper and deeper as they attempted to end the final  embers of resistance. Grealish also departed, after a deeply disappointing performance, with Carles Gil the final Villa change as they desperately attempted to find some kind of spark.

Finally there was one. It started with Ayew laying the ball back to Leandro Bacuna whose dipping shot beat Lloris but struck the post. Then, incredibly, Villa scored. Out of nothing. Spurs substitute Ryan Mason and Dier between them lost possession with the ball running to Ayew who headed, with purpose, for goal. His shot ricocheted off Jan Vertonghen's legs to beat Lloris. Gestede then reached Bacuna's cross, with Lloris stranded, to head narrowly wide.

Incredibly Ayew went close as he drove just over the bar. The dynamic shifted but then swung back. In injury-time Spurs broke with Christian Eriksen finding Lamela who centered low for Kane to arc a first-time shot around Guzan to end any uncertainty.


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