Venue: White Hart Lane
Date: Sunday 8th January 2017
Referee: Mike Dean
Last time the two teams met: 13th March 2016 – Aston Villa 0 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Two goals from Harry Kane sealed victory for Spurs at Villa Park, as the Villans succumbed to another defeat in their relegation season.
The Villans’ task on their introduction to the 2016-17 FA Cup couldn’t get much harder, as they travel to face one of the country’s best sides in the third round of the competition.
Spurs come into the game off the back of a fine 2-0 victory over London rivals, and league leaders, Chelsea. Although Pochettino will be sure to make changes, he has a strength in depth that most Premier League managers would be envious of.
The task for Bruce’s side is made even harder with the absence of key man Jonathan Kodjia. The side struggled last Monday against Cardiff City without the attacking ability of their star player and, with the opposition being a much better outfit Sunday’s game will be a very difficult one for the visitors.
In his press conference, the manager spoke about the importance of Gabby Agbonlahor and with only the Villa veteran, Ross McCormack and Libor Kozak as striking options, Bruce will be pinning his hopes on the former England international. Agbonlahor has a lot to prove to the fans who once adored him and, after a disappointing few years, the striker now has another chance to prove that he is still a very dangerous outlet.
When he entered the pitch against Cardiff City, he looked bright and almost got Aston Villa back into the game. The side need more of that if Bruce’s boys are to shock the Londoners.
The hosts are sure to make a raft of changes as the manager looks to give match time to squad players like Ben Davies, Vincent Janssen and Kevin Wimmer. Pochettino will be well aware of the club’s lack of silverware in recent years and will probably feel that the competition is a brilliant opportunity to rectify that.
Jonathan Kodjia and Jordan Ayew are missing due to Africa Cup of Nations commitments.
Sam Johnstone looks set to go straight into the side after signing on loan from Manchester United. The twenty-three-year-old will replace Mark Bunn after he made two costly mistakes in two games.
The hosts are missing Erik Lamela through injury but are set to shuffle their pack with Michel Vorm, Ben Davies and Vincent Janssen pushing to start.
One to watch:
Ben Davies (pictured) is a brilliantly talented left-back, who has found himself incredibly unfortunate to be stuck behind one of the best left backs in the country, Danny Rose.
An ever present for Wales at international level, he is well known to the Villa defender and current captain James Chester.
Known for his ability going forward, he is a joy to watch when he is at his flying best. This is something that those in Villa’s back line, especially Alan Hutton, will need to be aware of if they are to pull off a shock on Sunday afternoon.
Predominantly left-footed, Davies has the ability to beat his man and then swing in very dangerous deliveries at every opportunity.