Tottenham beats Aston Villa 2-0 in EPL
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP)
Man of the moment Andros Townsend and Roberto Soldado both scored as Tottenham restated its Champions League credentials with a 2-0 win at Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.
Following a shock 3-0 home defeat to rival West Ham, the London club claimed its fifth league win of the season to move to fifth in the standings, three points behind leader Arsenal.
''The opening goal was important to bring confidence and we really played well in the second half,'' Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said. ''We deserved to go 2-0 up. It was the right response after the defeat by West Ham and it is good to see us near the top.''
Townsend scored in his England debut last week in a 4-1 win over Montenegro before impressing in a 2-0 victory over Poland that secured a place at next year's World Cup.
The 22-year-old winger scored his first Premier League goal for Tottenham as Spurs broke the deadlock against the run of play in the 31st minute.
Soldado doubled the lead in the 69th with a clean finish from Paulinho's clever pass.
''Andros Townsend had a great game. He didn't start well but really picked up after his goal. He is a great threat. (With) his pace and ability to beat a man, he takes the team forward,'' Villas-Boas said.
The game started under heavy rain and Aston Villa had the upper hand in the early stages as Spurs looked sloppy and struggled to keep possession.
Villa's first chance came after 20 minutes when Ashley Westwood produced a good save from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris before Andreas Weimann fired a dipping volley from long-range that ended wide.
Tottenham then took the lead after both Lewis Holtby and Soldado failed to touch Townsend's cross that went straight into the goal at the far post.
The match was interrupted for a few minutes after assistant referee David Bryan was hit on the back of the neck by a flare thrown from the crowd just after the goal. The black smoke delayed the restart of the match but Bryan was able to continue.
Townsend had another chance to score three minutes later but saw his shot from the edge of the box blocked.
Just before halftime Townsend almost doubled his team's lead with a low shot that Guzman did well to keep out with a one-handed save.
Tottenham missed another chance in the 49th as Guzman made another superb save to push away Paulinho's effort.
Substitute Christian Benteke gave some extra strength to Villa but the powerfully-built Belgium forward headed over the bar from Leandro Bacuna's cross.
Spurs responded with an impressive collective move concluded by Soldado, who burst into the area to latch onto Paulinho's delicate pass and calmly score.