Tottenham in Europa League with Villa win
LONDON (AP) — Tottenham Hotspur qualified for the Europa League on Sunday after an easy 3-0 victory over a calamity-prone Aston Villa.
Tottenham only needed a draw to grab a Europa League spot for the fourth season in a row, but always looked like securing all three point. Villa could have finished the season as high as 12th with a win — or as low as 17th — but ended 15th.
With each Premier League place worth more than one million pounds, Aston Villa had plenty to fight for. However, while their fans were in full voice, their team could only get one shot on target in the whole match.
“We never turned up, especially first half,” Villa manager Paul Lambert said. “It was a game too far.”
Tottenham started strongly with forward Emmanuel Adebayor whipping a 5th-minute quick cross from the left, only for striker Harry Kane to head straight at Villa keeper Brad Guzan.
Spurs continued to look lively, with Adebayor once again finding Kane, who swiveled and shot in the 10th minute only to be thwarted by a point-blank save from Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Tottenham finally opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Some neat forward interplay resulted in Gylfi Sigurdsson finding Brazilian midfielder Paulinho in the box who had his initial shot blocked, only to score from close range with the rebound.
Villa’s first corner in the 22nd saw Andreas Weimann flick on Fabian Delph’s dipping corner but Gabby Agbonlahor headed well wide of the goal.
Spurs kept on applying the pressure and went 2-0 up in the 34th via an own goal, as Danny Rose’s cross was diverted into the net by Nathan Baker.
A third quickly followed as Adebayor tucked away a 37th-minute penalty straight down the middle, after Agbonlahor’s handball.
A fantastic looping header from defender Michael Dawson nearly made it four on the stroke of halftime, but Guzan was able to keep it out.
Villa rarely looked like troubling Spurs, with Ashley Westwood’s shot in first-half injury time off target.
Villa steadied in the second half, and Fabian Delph just missed with a fizzing left-footed shot from outside the box in the 56th.
“I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been great to manage the football club, and long may it continue,” said Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood after the match, amid media speculation that he will soon be replaced.
Towards the end of the game, Sherwood plucked a heckling fan from the crowd, handed him his sleeveless jacket and sat him down in the manager’s chair, next to Spurs great Les Ferdinand.
“That guy is an expert. Every week he tells me what to do, so I gave him the opportunity to have a go,” Sherwood said.
“It was good banter, but we have the police looking for him as he nicked my gilet,” Sherwood joked.