Tottenham Hotspur secure Europa League place with comfortable win over Aston Villa

Enfield Independent: Paulinho gave Tottenham an early lead when he finished off a neat passing move Paulinho gave Tottenham an early lead when he finished off a neat passing move

Tottenham Hotspur secured their place in next season’s Europa League with a comfortable 3-0 win over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane.

Paulinho gave Spurs an early lead before a Nathan Baker own goal, and Emmanuel Adebayor scored from the penalty spot to end the contest before half time.

Tim Sherwood had called for a good performance from his side to end the season on a high following last week’s disappointing loss to West Ham, and the head coach got just what he wanted from the kick-off.

Tottenham outplayed a struggling Villa from the off with some slick passing and creative play that has so often been lacking this season.

Guzan got out well to block Kane’s shot from close range in the first real chance of the match early on after the forward had headed straight at the goalkeeper from the six-yard line.

Spurs were dominant in the opening stages, moving the ball quickly through the midfield and creating chances amongst a congested Aston Villa defence.

And it took just 14 minutes for that defence to be breached when Sandro found Paulinho with a clever through ball after some neat one-touch build up play, allowing the Brazilian to find the net with his second attempt after Guzan blocked his initial effort.

It could have been 2-0 moments after the re-start when Paulinho again broke into the box but this time the midfielder skewed his shot well wide.

Agbonlahor headed over in Villa’s first real chance but it was Spurs who looked the better team and Guzan was forced to tip over when Kane’s drilled cross ballooned up and goal bound off a defender.

Tottenham went 2-0 up on 36 minutes though when Danny Rose’s drilled cross bounced in off Baker’s shoulder.

And they had the game all but won 60 seconds later when they were awarded a penalty for a handball against Agbonlahor, who blocked Sandro’s long-range shot with his arm.

Adebayor stepped up and struck the ball into the roof of the net to give Tottenham a deserved 3-0 half-time lead in a game they had dominated from the first whistle.

Fabian Delph went inches wide with a well-struck effort from 25-yards early in the second half as Villa began to put up more of a contest and create one or two chances themselves.

Kane and Guzan were involved in a heavy collision mid-way through the second half as the forward tried to latch on to a ball over the top but, after seemingly being taken out by the on-rushing goalkeeper, the referee gave the free-kick Villa’s way.

The game petered out towards a comfortable Spurs victory, allowing Tim Sherwood to engage in a bizarre exchange with one critical fan.

The Tottenham head coach invited the young man into the dugout before giving him a gilet to wear as he sat in Sherwood’s seat for a couple of minutes before returning to the stands.

Spurs: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose, Sigurdsson (Pritchard, 82), Sandro (Veljkovic, 61), Paulinho (Bentaleb, 74), Eriksen, Adebayor, Kane. Subs: Soldado, Capoue, Friedel, Fryers.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Vlaar, Bertrand, Westwood, Bacuna, Delph, Weimann, Bowery, Agbonlahor. Subs: Clark, El Ahmadi, Steer, Sylla, Holt, Robinson, Grealish.

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)

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