Steve Bruce will be hoping that his Villa players can rise to the occasion against high flying Spurs in the FA Cup, less than nine months after being relegated from the top flight.
On the face of it, it is just about the worst time to be taking on Mauricio Pochettino’s side. They have won each of their last five league matches, scoring 15 goals and conceding just three. Formerly of the MK Dons, Dele Alli has recorded a brace in his last three matches, which has taken him to 20 Premier League goals in just 52 appearances.
However, we should be inspired by the challenge that Sunday’s match presents. Given their impressive defensive record of conceding just five goals in 10 unbeaten home league matches, it is likely that they will underestimate a Villa side that has managed just seven goals in 13 Championship away games.
The likes of Gabby Agbonlahor and Ross McCormack have a huge opportunity to claim a regular place in the side with top scorer Jonathan Kodjia on duty for Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations. Rudy Gestede has joined Middlesbrough for £6 million after managing just nine goals in 50 league matches since arriving at Villa in the summer of 2015.
Despite their recent goal-scoring form, Spurs might find the Villa defence much tougher to crack than the likes of Hull City and Watford. Since Steve Bruce arrived in October, only Leeds United have scored two goals against us in 14 matches. Even in that game, the second Leeds goal from Chris Wood didn’t come until the fourth minute of second half stoppage time.
EnergyBet Match Odds:
Spurs 1.28 | Draw 4.95 | Villa 10.00