It’s amazing what a difference a win can make to the whole atmosphere that surrounds a football team. In the week building up to the Norwich game, talk in the tabloids and amongst supporters was a lot more depressing and negative than it ought to have been and than it had been prior to the defeat against Newcastle.
On Saturday, Libor Kozak’s first Aston Villa goal and, finally, a clean sheet (at the 28th time of asking) helped Villa get the better of Chris Hughton’s Norwich City. This victory helped bring renewed optimism as doubts that had started to creep in faded away and fans started to allow themselves to look forward to the remainder of the season rather than sit at home and start chewing their fingernails.
For the time being, the focus on the Premier League can play second fiddle to the Capital One Cup as it returns to Villa Park, bringing with it the season’s first visit of Tottenham Hotspur. However, it seems that Paul Lambert is not prepared to prioritise the Capital One Cup as he has publicly stated that the visit of Manchester City next Saturday is the priority this week, an opinion which has not gone down too well with some Villa fans.
For me, this is a game we should take a ‘no fear’ approach to and in which we should aim to attack from the first moment to the last. It would be nice to see the players trying to boost confidence with a home win before the weekend’s fixture against the blue half of Manchester at Villa Park. Tottenham Hotspur boast a very good side, there is no question about that. Although they have created a great number of chances this season, they have failed to put a fair number of them away.
Villa are set to be without a host of first team regulars for the game on Tuesday evening, Paul Lambert announced yesterday during his press conference. The severity of Christian Benteke’s injury is not yet known but he will definitely miss the game against Spurs whilst Gabby Agbonlahor, Antonio Luna, Fabian Delph, Ciaran Clark, Gary Gardner, Chris Herd and Ashley Westwood have various knocks. This means that a few youngsters are expected to feature in the squad, some of them possibly for the first time.
Libor Kozak is almost certain to get the nod up front to lead the line and he will be looking to add to the goal he got at the weekend to help secure Villa’s passage to the fourth round of the cup and to take his new team one step closer to Wembley. Players such as Joe Bennett, Jed Steer, Yacouba Sylla, Nathan Baker and Nicklas Helenius, who have all struggled to secure match action this season so far, are expected to feature and will be looking to impress both the management and the Villa Park faithful.
Tottenham are also expected to make wholesale changes for the game at Villa Park as Andre Villas Boas confirmed that the players who started the game against Cardiff will not be starting the match against the Villans. Jermain Defoe is a doubt for Spurs as he is currently suffering from a groin strain so youngster Harry Kane may be asked to lead the line for Tottenham.
Tottenham were automatically entered into the cup at the third round stage due to their involvement in the Europa League so they will be keen to progress and help repay the money that Daniel Levy has spent by winning some silverware this season.
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Venue: Villa Park
Tickets: North Stand Lower/Family Stand are £15 [adults], £10 [concessions] and £10 [U16s], Holte End are £20 [adults], £15 [concessions], £10 [U16s] and Doug Ellis/Trinity Road are £20 [adults], £15 [concessions] and £10 [U16s]
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham (Kozak/Lamela) – Villa to progress on penalties.