Belfast Telegraph

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas begins preparing for Chelsea reunion

By Paul Hirst

Andre Villas-Boas set his sights on halting Chelsea's unbeaten run after guiding Tottenham to an impressive fourth straight Barclays Premier League win yesterday.

Spurs followed up their historic win over Manchester United by strolling to a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa that came courtesy of goals from Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon.

The Londoners played some of their best football of the season, and they are now joint fourth in the table with Everton, who are five points short of table-toppers Chelsea.

Chelsea won the Champions League two months after Villas-Boas left and they have started this season in supreme form, dropping just two points from their opening seven games.

But with Spurs now exhibiting the same kind of football that brought them so much praise under Villas-Boas' predecessor, the Portuguese is confident of ripping up the Blues' unbeaten record when they play each other a week on Saturday at White Hart Lane.

He said: "It's obviously going to be a difficult game but we are showing good levels of competence and we hope to profit from the fact that we play at home and profit from the fact that we play an unbeaten league leader to help on our motivation to try to beat them."

Villas-Boas thinks the game will be a good test to see whether his side are capable of attaining the top-four position that was demanded of him when he signed a three-year contract at White Hart Lane this summer.

He added: "It will give us the chance to finally break in to the top four and join the elite of the Premier League which is what we have been wanting for quite some time."

Hugo Lloris, surprisingly chosen ahead of Brad Friedel yesterday, was a spectator for most of the 2-0 win.

Villa's only real chance came in the second half when they cut out a poor throw from Lloris, but fortunately for the hosts, Christian Benteke somehow missed his header from eight yards.

The miss reignited the debate around Paul Lambert's decision to choose the Belgium 21-year-old ahead of England striker Darren Bent.

Bent, who was stripped of the Villa captaincy by Lambert, was on the bench for the second successive game yesterday despite scoring a crucial equaliser against West Brom last weekend.

Lambert insists the former Spurs striker fully understands the decision to play Benteke ahead of him.

"Christian gives you a different option," the Scot said.

"Darren's threat is going in behind. That was the only reason why we did it.

"Tottenham's full-backs are going to bomb on at every opportunity so that's why I went with that decision. Darren has been fine about it."

Lambert confirmed defender Joe Bennett went to hospital after clattering in to an advertising board in the second half following a duel with Gareth Bale.

"I think he has gone to hospital to get stitched up. It was quite a nasty cut," Lambert added.

Belfast Telegraph


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