Ange Postecoglou is well aware of the difficulty posed by Aston Villa’s current record as well as boss Unai Emery’s impact as we resume Premier League action on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (2pm).
Since taking over in November of last year, Emery has dramatically transformed Villa. They started out ranked sixteenth but moved up to seventh, earning them a spot in the Europa Conference League. This season, Villa has maintained its form. In fact, since the conclusion of the first international break of the season, the team has won more games (six) and accrued more points (19) than any other Premier League team. Additionally, they have scored 27 goals, which is only surpassed by Manchester City.
In praising Emery and giving a nod to Villa’s form, Ange also pointed out the importance of being back in front of our fans in N17. This is only our sixth home game of the season – by way of comparison, we’d had 11 in all competitions by this time last season.
Speaking on our preview show Inside Spurs, Ange said: “Villa are a good side and it’s a good challenge for us. Since Unai Emery has gone in there, they’ve been really consistent in the way they play their football and gained a lot of confidence particularly in recent weeks in the front third with their goalscoring, so, a good challenge for us, but we’re back at home and, apart from last time against Chelsea, we’ve been really strong at home and it’s important we get back to that.”
Ange is once again preparing without a number of players – Cuti Romero and Yves Bissouma are suspended, while James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, Richarlison, Manor Solomon, Ivan Perisic, Ryan Sessegnon and now young defender Ashley Phillips are all sidelined. Pape Sarr is also a new injury doubt.
Asked in his pre-match press conference about how the team might react to the players missing, Ange replied: “As you said, we don’t have two injuries, we have a few more, but every club will go through it and, for me, it does allow me to look at every aspect of our squad.
“You try to do that by design but sometimes that happens and that is our existence at the moment, where guys will get an opportunity to play. It is great for me to see how they cope with playing our football, with the stress of playing against good opposition, so it will be a good test for us, but it is one we have to be up for.”