Tottenham vs Aston Villa | Wednesday 19h May 2021, 18:00 | Sky Sports
With two games to go, Spurs welcome Aston Villa to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as they look to strengthen their claim for a European spot.
It’s looking increasingly likely to be a place in next season’s Europa League for Spurs, with them reliant on Chelsea slip-ups to help their Champions League claims – and those could have already been extinguished in Tuesday night’s FA Cup final repeat.
Aston Villa are straight back in the capital just a few days after Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Crystal Palace. Dean Smith will have been left frustrated, especially with the lack of fight shown in the second half.
The Villains are booked for a mid-table finish, which will disappoint many after the flying start they made. However, they could be boosted by handing a start to the returning Jack Grealish, who’ll be one that could help them to finish the season in style.
The betting angles
I’m expecting this to be quite an open game, which should see goals. Both sides racked up the shots in their respective matches at the weekend with Spurs hitting 24 v Wolves – that’s two 20+ lines hit in their last three, while Villa had 19 at Palace.
Aston Villa games have seen a flurry of goals of late as well, with seven of their last eight hitting both teams to score and over 2.5 goals. I did eye that angle up given the attacking nature of these sides at 20/21 with Bet365.
However, there are two angles focused on individuals I think are worth taking. The first is 1+ Eric Dier tackle at 10/11. He’ll be up against a lively Villa attack, which is likely to feature three out of Grealish, Ollie Watkins, Bertrand Traoré and Anwar El Ghazi.
If he plays as the left-sided centre-half then he could find himself out on the left flank covering for Sergio Reguilón, who loves to get forward. That means going head-to-head against one of those nimble, quick attackers.
The England international has recorded at least one tackles in 12 of his last 15 games. He’s also managed to hit the 2+ line in six of his last 10, so the 10/11 for one looks a tidy price, while he’s 4/1 to hit a couple, something that also appeals.
The other angle worth exploring is cards. Referee Craig Pawson has the whistle and his three Spurs games this season have been lively contests. In those three matches, he’s dished out 4, 7 and 5 – that’s an average of 5.3 cards per game involving the hosts.
There were a few options I looked at. I’ll start with both Spurs full backs, who could get through plenty of work. Japhet Tanganga (19/5 Bet Victor) could have the duty of dealing with Grealish – the most fouled Premier League player, so that puts the right-back as a prime candidate. He’s been booked in each of his last two, including at Newcastle when Pawson was in charge.
On the opposite side is Reguilón. The Real Madrid loanee likes to get forward and could find himself on the wrong side of one of these Villa attackers, so that springs to mind. He’s committed 23 fouls in the league, picking up five cautions, so the 3/1 could be the way to go.
But the man I’ll take to feel the wrath of Pawson is John McGinn. The all-action midfielder isn’t afraid to put himself about and has been carded in each of his last three outings.
His recent ill-discipline takes him to five cautions in his last 10, so that sits well for a card here. The Scot also ranks quite high in the fouls committed stakes with 42 according to fbref.com.
In recent Spurs games, a few opposition players in central areas have walked the disciplinary tightrope. Leeds Utd’s Robin Koch, Man City’s Fernandinho, Everton’s Tom Davies, Man Utd’s Fred and Scott McTominay, plus Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey have all been cautioned – and that’s just to name a few of late.
The latter of those – Shelvey – was in Spurs’ 2-2 draw at Newcastle overseen by Pawson, so the engine room could well be an area to explore here, especially with how open and end-to-end this could be.
So, to recap, McGinn’s had five cards in 10, while only Harry Maguire (11) has had more than the Scot (10) over the course of the season. The 3/1 looks perfectly acceptable in a game that could become stretched.