Sherwood enjoys dream return to Tottenham as Aston Villa triumph at White Hart Lane
Tim Sherwood is celebrating a dream return to Tottenham after Christian Benteke fired his relegation-threatened Aston Villa side to a 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane.
Benteke headed home in the 35th minute and Spurs were unable to find an equaliser, drawing a blank for the second game in a row after their goalless draw at Burnley.
With Jan Vertonghen missing a second successive game through illness, Federico Fazio made his first Premier League appearance since January, while Michel Vorm and Vlad Chiriches deputised for the injured Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker respectively.
Andros Townsend also took his place back from Paulinho, who had surprisingly got the nod at Burnley in the previous game and failed to justify his place with an awful display. Harry Kane captained the team for the second game in a row.
There seemed certain to be goals but the game began slowly and it took until the 19th minute for either side to fashion any kind of opening as Benteke teed up Leandro Bacuna but he sliced his shot well wide of the near post from the right side of the box.
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Christian Eriksen volleyed over the bar at the other end and Fazio also should have done better when he got his head to a corner kick.
Spurs then created their best chance of the half as Eriksen played in Danny Rose, whose low drive from a narrow angle was saved by Brad Guzan’s legs.
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Villa’s threat increased though and Gabriel Agbonlahor was denied a run at goal by an incorrect offside flag after getting in behind Vlad Chiriches, before the visitors took the lead anyway.
Fazio had previously done a decent job marking the powerful Benteke but the Belgian beat him to Bacuna’s cross, seeing his header beat the rooted Vorm and bounce in off the far post.
Tottenham tried to respond but could only muster an ambitious effort from Kane, whose well-hit 35-yard drive was straight at Guzan – and the Villans very nearly doubled their lead just before the interval as Agbonlahor hit the post.
Spurs increased their efforts after the interval and Townsend got to the by-line before putting the ball across the goalmouth, with Kane just unable to get his head to it.
Rose’s low shot was then deflected just wide, while Nacer Chadli headed wide from the ensuing corner, and Kane sent a curling left-footed effort inches over the top left corner.
However, the hosts could not find an equaliser and, as time ticked by, Pochettino introduced Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and debutant DeAndre Yedlin in an effort to increase the pressure.
Instead it was Villa who went closest in the final 10 minutes - Ron Vlaar headed wide from a corner and Benteke freed Delph, who held off Yedlin and just had to beat Vorm but saw his shot well saved one on one.
The visitors lost Carlos Sanchez to a second yellow card late on, but they were the ones celebrating at the end.
Tottenham: Vorm, Chiriches (Yedlin 79), Fazio, Dier, Rose, Bentaleb, Mason, Townsend (Lamela 79), Eriksen, Chadli (Soldado 62), Kane