Tottenham v Aston Villa: Spurs win to nil the play to make

The challenge of juggling mid-week Europa League clashes with the high-intensity of the Premier League is well documented for managers, but Mauricio Pochettino faces an even tougher task this week.

Aston Villa’s visit to White Hart Lane kicks off a run of three games in seven days for the Lilywhites. Anderlecht visit on Thursday and the north London derby caps the stretch, but it’s likely Pochettino will trot all the clichés about taking things one step at a time.

For all his toeing the conventional line in public, the Argentine must privately consider managing his squad for the pivotal clash with Arsenal on Sunday. There’s a case to be made that he can do that against Villa.

Spurs have won eight of the last 10 against their Midlands rivals, scoring 20 goals to Villa’s five in that time. The current version of the Villans, playing their first match since Tim Sherwood’s sacking, is far from threatening, so Pochettino may be slightly tempted to rotate.

Four points from 11 games sees the managerless outfit prop up the Premier League. They have shipped an average of two goals a game over their last eight, with a total of 10 being conceded in their last four on the road.

Spurs’ home form is solid and the north Londoners are yet to suffer defeat at the Lane in the league. Odds of 15/2 say Villa are the first change that, although even that price feels too short.

Spurs are 2/5 for victory with Ladbrokes, with the draw at 7/2 but, considering Spurs’ formidable defence, it’s the 5/4 about the hosts winning to nil that appeals most.

Only Manchester City have managed to find the net in the last four games with Pochettino’s men on hosting duties and Villa have only scored once in their last four trips to that stadium.

Of course, if that doesn’t sufficiently tickle the taste buds there are two Ladbrokes special offers to take advantage of.

The first, as with all televised British games, involves Sharp Shooter*, while the second sees the price on Spurs winning and both teams scoring boosted from 9/4 to 11/4.

* For full Sharp Shooter T&Cs click here

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.