Tottenham 0 Aston Villa 0: Rock-solid Friedel and Dunn frustrate Spurs

06 February 2010 11:01
When he gets back from Poland after the Euro 2012 draw to view the tape of a game featuring a clutch of actual and potential England internationals, Fabio Capello should find more than 12 minutes to occupy him this week. Not much more, though.

Two sides brimming with attacking talent somehow played out a goalless draw that keeps both in the hunt for a Champions League place but hardly furthers the cause of either.

Indeed, Tottenham ceded the scene to Liverpool in the Premier League's sub-plot for fourth place.

Not this time: Tottenham Hotspur's Peter Crouch (left) is shadowed by Aston Villa's James Collins

For the second straight week they had to be content with a point asthey again failed to see off a Birmingham side City last week, Villathis despite creating plenty of chances. When they did break through,they found Brad Friedel in towering form in the visitors' goal.

Now the challenge for Spurs is to be more productive against the bigger clubs and better sides.

Home defeats against Stoke and Wolves were blips; more usually theyproduce the goods against the less talented, with Jermain Defoe hittingthe target. They have, however, taken just eight points from eightgames against the others in the top seven, Defoe again barren.

Villa's ability to prise points from the best which will be neededat home to Manchester United in midweek may give them an edge in thefight for fourth. The best defensive record in the division certainlydoes and they were obduracy itself again with a fourth consecutiveclean sheet and eighth in their last 10 games.

On the rise: Peter Crouch (left) out-jumps James Collins but can't find the target

Long ball, as Arsene Wenger declared recently? No, although it was ashame that they did not show enough of their attacking flair yesterday.Not that either manager was as disappointed as neutrals and supporterswith a game desperately in need of a goal.

'I thought we played well and that's the main thing,' saidTottenham's Harry Redknapp. 'We created chances but just didn't get thebreaks. That's just one defeat in 12 and the squad is looking strong.It's all to play for. It was a big result yes for Liverpool and yesit's their weekend but it will be someone else's turn next week.'

Villa's Martin O'Neill said: 'We're hanging in. It's a big point for us away from home.'

Of all the England contenders on view, the most prominent was theone who has slipped furthest down the pecking order. David Bentley hasseized his chance in the Spurs side after an injury to Aaron Lennon andhis crossing was exceptional.

No way through: Michael Dawson blocks Gabriel Agbonlahor's shot

If only Lennon's pace could be allied to Bentley's delivery, Tottenham and England would have quite some player.

Bentley, though, was upstaged by Friedel, who blocked Peter Crouchat close range and kept out two fierce long-range shots from TomHuddlestone.

His best save, though, came when he turned away Ledley King's shotone-handed after Crouch had headed down Bentley's free kick. Defoe putthe rebound on to the roof of the net.

Villa struggled for rhythm, disrupted by losing Emile Heskey earlyon with a groin strain. Their only real chance came when Heurelho Gomesgot down quickly to save James Milner's low shot, the Brazilian thensaving the rebound at the feet of Gabriel Agbonlahor.

In a late onslaught, Crouch backheeled wide and Villa survivedfanciful home demands for a penalty when Defoe fell under challengefrom Stiliyan Petrov. Instead, Villa's defence stood firm.

Just who will feel the fourth?

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Source: Daily_Mail