Post-mortem: Aston Villa unable to beat ten man Spurs

There are many ways to look at yesterday and I'm sure there will be many different views on why we lost or why we didn't put away the chances we had, but for me, the biggest disappointment is we couldn't beat ten men.

I know that playing against ten men can be difficult and we did create the chances, we just lacked the killer instinct. Gabby had a great opportunity, but once again failed to deliver and I'm starting to think he won't get to his fourteen goals I predicted he would this season.

What the Papers Say

Stuart James, The Guardian
It was Van der Vaart's 10th in 15 appearances and gave Spurs the breathing space they needed at a time when Villa had been cranking up the pressure. The lively Marc Albrighton, who is just about the one shining light in this increasingly bleak season for Villa, ensured that Redknapp had to endure a nervous final eight minutes when his inswinging cross drifted beyond Heurelho Gomes, but Tottenham refused to buckle and held on for a deserved three points.
Glenn Moore, The Independent
Both goals were the result of sweeping moves which showcased the fluidity of Tottenham's football. There was also, however, backbone. Not so long ago Spurs, if they were down to 10 men away from home on a freezing night, would have crumbled. This time they drew the sting from Aston Villa with possession football, then picked them off.

The Manager

Gerard Houllier
Sometimes there were some situations in front of the goal where we could have scored. We lacked a bit of presence in front of the goal at times.

The Players

Brad Friedel, Stephen Warnock, Carlos Cuellar, James Collins, Eric Lichaj, Stewart Downing, Marc Albrighton, Fabian Delph (Robert Pires, 74), Jonathan Hogg (Stiliyan Petrov, 46), Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey (Nathan Delfouneso, 39).

Man of the Match

I've banged the Eric Lichaj drum for a while now and when he plays behind Marc Albrighton, I think he looks even better and I think that others are starting to see it also as he has won the man of the match vote - by a country mile.

He looks better behind Albrighton, because Albrighton tracks back and supports him. I've said it before but I'll say it again; these two remind me of Neville and Beckham, just a little bit better.

Final Analysis

The real man of the match yesterday was Rafael van der Vaart and he was quite simply, the difference. All the papers have mentioned it this morning and even our manager has suggested we are lacking real quality up front and I'm willing to say that if we had a Rafael van der Vaart, we'd be a much better team.

But today is a dark day and it isn't just one player we need. What we need now is to dig deep.

We need to look at what is actually happening and if you look at the football and take off the glasses you'll see that we are passing it more, we are actually starting to look a little better and you'll recognise that it doesn't just instantly get better - it takes time.

Fortunately, we do have the January transfer window just a few days away and I believe we are going to see people coming and going and it is going to be very important to get the right people in. However, I'm a little worried that if he doesn't get the player or two in during this window, he might be out of a job before the next one comes along.

This is an important window for this manager and he has to get it right and if he wants to play Pires again, I hope it is for the reserves. You don't leave Barry Bannan on the bench and play Pires - sorry, but the injury crisis is over and Pires doesn't offer anything.