Van der Vaart at the double
Tottenham's talismanic midfielder Rafael van der Vaart ensured that manager Harry Redknapp maintained his hoodoo over Aston Villa with a 2-1 win.
Despite a 27th-minute straight red card for Jermain Defoe, the Dutch midfielder scored either side of that to take his tally to double figures for the season.
Although Marc Albrighton pulled one back eight minutes from time, it was not enough to spare the home side, with Redknapp unbeaten in his last 10 Barclays Premier League games as a manager against Villa.
After just 50 seconds, Heurelho Gomes produced the first of a number of fine saves to deny Villa, initially from Albrighton who was then quick to pounce on the rebound, only for Gareth Bale to bravely block.
Gabriel Agbonlahor nodded a free header wide a minute later but in the 23rd minute, a sweeping Tottenham move cut Villa apart. It was sparked by a raking cross-field ball from Gareth Bale into the path of Alan Hutton down the right wing.
James Collins then failed to cut out the right-back's low centre and Van der Vaart was on hand to score.
The visitors' joy was shortlived because just four minutes later they were contentiously down to 10 men for an elbow from Defoe in the face of Collins. It appeared to be harsh because although Defoe led with his arm in jumping for a high delivery, his eyes were focused on the ball.
Apart from an early second-half strike from Nathan Delfouneso, Spurs easily held out until breaking with devastating effect in the 67th minute. Bale found Aaron Lennon in space on the left and the winger played a simple pass into Van der Vaart's path for a first-time shot beyond Friedel.
Gomes then produced the save of the game from Agbonlahor before a cross from Albrighton floated past the Spurs goalkeeper. But there was no late reprieve for Villa.