Tottenham produced a great second-half display at Aston Villa when Son Heung-min’s hat-trick helped secure a 4-0 win on Saturday night, giving them the lead in the top-four race.
Son got Spurs off to a perfect start in three minutes as the ball dropped gracefully for the South Korean to fire a half-volley from the post.
Villa reacted when Matty Cash fired his first shot on goal directly at Hugo Lloris, and the Frenchman needed it again soon after to brilliantly deflect Jacob Ramsey’s ferocious shot over the crossbar. Lloris was needed again to deflect a John McGinn shot that deflected from range.
It was blood and thunder stuff on Steven Gerrard’s side, with the likes of Matty Cash and Jacob Ramsey making some solid sliding challenges within the first 25 minutes as they tried to scare off their visitors.
Spurs struggled to take control as Villa pushed for an equaliser, with Ollie Watkins firing in a header after Philippe Coutinho did well to dig up a cross. The English striker was also denied by Lloris after being slipped by Danny Ings.
It was Ings who came closest moments later when Tyrone Mings sent a cross to the back post, but hash his shot to deny Villa the equalizer they deserved.
Tottenham were locked in as the hosts swarmed around their midfield, though substitute Sergio Reguilón saved Emiliano Martínez, being deftly aided by a Mings block that hit him.
However, despite Villa’s dominance, it was Spurs who doubled their lead when they scored early in the second half. Harry Kane’s header fell into the path of Dejan Kulusevski and the Swede finished with a left foot into the far corner to give his side a respite.
That goal seemed to take the momentum out of Villa and they were unable to offer the same attacking threat they did in the first half before Kane’s header down the halfway line sent Son away again. The striker ran and kept his composure to seal the points for the Spurs.
He completed his hat-trick shortly after, being intercepted by Kulusevski and firing a shot into the far corner. That was also his 17th Premier League goal of the season, matching his best goal in an England campaign.
The win gives Spurs the lead in the top four race after Manchester United and Arsenal lost on Saturday. They are now four points ahead of the Gunners on a superior goal difference having played one more game, while Villa sit in 12th and aim for a top ten finish.
Emiliano Martinez (GK) – 5/10 – Decent save from Reguilon, taking a hit from teammate Mings in the process. He didn’t make any saves, and Tottenham finished accurately every time.
Matty Cash (RB) – 5/10 – He seemed fired up, crushing Doherty early and having his side’s first shot on target. He sat out positionally for some of the Spurs’ goals.
Ezri Konsa (CB) – 3/10 – A poor header gave Son a chance to score. Hit by Kane before Kulusevski’s goal
Tyrone Mings (CB) – 3/10 – He made some over-the-top challenges for which he was lucky to escape an additional penalty. In general all in the sea against the three forwards of Tottenham.
Lucas Digne (LB) – 4/10 – He didn’t offer much in attack and struggled with Kulusevski later in the game.
Douglas Luiz (DM) – 6/10 – His physical presence gave Villa momentum in the first half, clearing well and making plenty of tackles. The presence was not so dominant in the second period.
John McGinn (CM) – 5/10 – Torn shot from a distance that Lloris saved well. He worked his way through the Spurs at points, albeit sometimes too hard and erratically.
Jacob Ramsey (CM) – 5/10 – He was close but saw a show overturned by Lloris. He cheered but fell apart along with his midfielders as Spurs eliminated the hosts at will in the second half.
Philippe Coutinho (AM) – 6/10 – Some rusty touches and passes, but the first real contribution came when he crossed well for Watkins. He almost caught Lloris with a free kick from the sideline. He looked dangerous but he took it 4-0.
Danny Ings (ST) – 4/10 – Warning for a late challenge on Reguilón. He wasted some good starts in the first half, when Villa needed to assert his ascendancy.
Ollie Watkins (ST) – 5/10 – He got under a header to Coutinho’s cross when he should have at least hit the target.
Leon Bailey (ST) – 5/10 – Lloris gave him an easy first game, but he could only pump it up in the stands.
Emiliano Buendia (AM) – 5/10 – He took a corner kick that Lloris held.
Ashley Young (LB) – 3/10 – Booked for a cynical challenge on a Kane snapping seconds after coming on.
Hugo Lloris (GK) – 9/10 – Busy after Tottenham’s first game, making a number of fantastic saves. He kept the Spurs at it for the first half before they ran away with the contest later. He almost gave Bailey a late consolation, but got away with it.
Cristian Romero (CB) – 8/10 – He came out of the back three to make tackles, sometimes hitting and sometimes hitting a poor Villa player. He did well most of the time on another dominant screen.
Eric Dier (CB) – 7/10 – He saw the ball a lot as a starting point for Spurs. He organized the defense during the hectic moments and kept his cool on the ball as the game settled down.
Ben Davies (CB) – 7/10 – Stable and reliable to the left of the Spurs’ central three. It helped create space on the left.
Royal Emerson (RWB) – 6/10 – He made some big blocks and defended well overall, but offered little on offense. To be fair, with the Spurs’ forward three in excellent form, he didn’t need to.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – 7/10 – He had a pretty punishing first half alongside Hojbjerg during the first half when Villa’s midfield swarmed. The match was settled with Spurs scoring in the second half and Bentancur helped set things right towards the final whistle.
Pierre-Émile Hojbjerg (CM) – 7/10 – Yellow card for scuffle with Coutinho in the corner. He was quite chatty with the referee about some of Villa’s incomplete tackles, but largely kept his cool.
Matt Doherty (LWB) – N/A – He tried to continue after taking a meaty challenge from Cash, but had to be pulled around the 20th minute with injury.
Dejan Kulusevski (RF) – 8/10 – He had more work than play to complete in the first half but started the second brilliantly, finishing well to make it 2-0. He held the ball long enough before giving it to Son for the fourth.
Harry Kane (ST) – 9/10 – A minor involvement in the first goal, as his blocked shot fell into Son’s hands before his move set Kulusevski up for the second. He headed a ball into Son’s path for the third. The play was simply exceptional, although no goal came.
Son Heung-min (LF) – 10/10 – Impressive finish early on to give your side the early lead. He kept his cool to score Spurs’ third at half-time before completing his hat-trick from a pass from Kulusevski. Three shots, three goals and the winning goal for his team.
Sergio Reguilon (LI) – 7/10 – He replaced the injured Doherty. The deflected shot almost slipped. A good attacking start and he did not neglect his defensive duties.
Lucas Moura (LF) – 5/10 – Helped finish the game.
Steven Bergwijn (RF) – 5/10 – Same as above.
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