Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Friedel dropped as Spurs triumph

Brad Friedel, right, saw his record run of Premier League starts end on Sunday
Brad Friedel, right, saw his record run of Premier League starts end on Sunday

Hugo Lloris was a spectator for most of his Barclays Premier League debut as goals from Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon secured a 2-0 win over a poor Aston Villa and gave Tottenham their fourth straight Barclays Premier League win.

Jermain Defoe smashed a low shot wide from a Gareth Bale corner, but Caulker was standing in the right place at the right time, the ball clipping his heel and flying past Brad Guzan after 58 minutes.

Soon after Spurs put the game to bed when Lennon picked the ball up off Clint Dempsey, strode past his marker and shot beyond Guzan in a game which saw another American, Brad Friedel, dropped after a record run of 310 consecutive league games.

With less than 30 seconds gone Defoe laid the ball off to Gareth Bale, who flashed a curling shot just wide.

Lloris' first piece of action came after 20 minutes when he saved awkwardly from Christian Benteke, but the Frenchman showed confidence by racing out to clear before Brett Holman could shoot.

Tottenham failed in their bid to break the deadlock before the break - and they almost went behind just after the restart thanks to Lloris' only error. Villa intercepted the Frenchman's throw to Jan Vertonghen and Gabriel Agbonlahor found the unmarked Benteke at the back post but he headed wide.

The crowd, fully aware of the cost of Spurs' profligacy against Panathinaikos on Thursday, became tense, but their nerves eased when Defoe's deflected shot went in just before the hour. The England striker got on the end of Bale's cross and took a touch before firing a low shot that was going wide until it clipped Caulker's heel and flew past Guzan.

Nine minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to Lennon's first of the season. Joe Bennett failed to close down Dempsey, who squared for Lennon and he swept a precise shot past Guzan in to the far corner.

Dempsey should have put the game beyond doubt 15 minutes from the end, but he somehow missed a free header from eight yards.

Worryingly for Villa, Bennett was carried off on a stretcher with 12 minutes left after clattering in to the advertising boards.

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