Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Aston Villa – 21st March
After such a catastrophic performance against Dynamo Zagreb, Spurs traveled to Villa Park looking to save their season.
Jose Mourinho faced a fair amount of scrutiny following Spurs’ exit from Europe and made his feelings toward the squad known as seven changes were made from the starting eleven.
Aurier, Dier, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Lamela and Dele would all miss out and be replaced by Tanganga, Rodon, Reguillon, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Lo Celso and Vinicius. Kane, Moura and Lloris would be the only three to remain.
Academy products Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine were also given places on the Tottenham bench.
Mourinho and Spurs fans alike certainly got the reaction that they were looking for after 29 minutes of action as Vinicius chased down a long ball from Reguilon forcing a mistake from Martinez, who raced off his line but failed to make a clearance. Allowing Moura to capitalise by playing a nice one-two with Kane before squaring the ball to Vinicius, who has an empty net in front of him.
Having scored his first Premier League goal, the on-loan Brazilian striker has now scored nine goals in nine starts for the North London club.
The first half was a positive one for a new-look Spurs team, as the unfamiliar back-line was able to stop Aston Villa from registering a single shot towards the Tottenham goal in the opening 45 minutes.
The reliable Harry Kane would double the Lilywhites’ lead from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after a reckless challenge from Cash.
Kane has been on an absolute tear this season, currently leading the Premier League in both goals and assists with seventeen and thirteen respectively.
The win leaves Mourinho’s side in sixth place, only three points behind fourth place Chelsea going into the international break.
With the potential return of Heung-min Son looming and a place in the top four, Spurs still have it all to play for to end the season.
Gareth Bale’s comments – 23rd March
It’s fair to say that Gareth Bale’s comments caused quite a stir among Spurs fans this week.
The Welshman was asked about his current situation at Tottenham and where he expects to be next season during a press conference, ahead of Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Belgium.
“There’s no distraction for me,” said Bale.
“I think the main reason I came to Spurs this year was to play football first and foremost.
“Going into the Euros I wanted to be match-fit. The original plan was to do a season at Spurs and after the Euros still have a year left at Real Madrid.
“My plan is to go back, that’s as far I have planned.”
Many viewed Bale’s comments as a form of disrespect towards Spurs and questioned why he would want to return to Real Madrid, due to his tainted relationship with current manager Zinedine Zidane.
In reality this is a typical comment that loan players often give, Bale is still contracted to Real Madrid for another year once his loan with Spurs expires so for him to comment on his future elsewhere without anything being agreed shouldn’t be expected.
According to Marca, Bale is not in Real Madrid’s plans next season with the club keen to sell him before the expiration of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
football.london reported that Spurs have the first option to bring Bale back next season, if he agrees. The terms of his loan would remain the same if triggered, meaning roughly 40 percent of the wingers wages would be paid by Spurs.
With nineteen Spurs players representing their nations during the international break, it’s safe to say that the club will be well represented for the next two weeks.
The following players have been selected to participate in senior fixtures for their nation:
Gareth Bale, Joe Rodon (Wales), Toby Alderweireld (Belgium), Steven Bergwijn (Netherlands), Harry Kane, Eric Dier (England), Tanguy Ndombele, Moussa Sissoko, Hugo Lloris (France), Matt Doherty, Troy Parrott (Ireland), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast) and academy centre-back Maksim Paskotsi (Estonia).
Following call-ups for the England U21 squad, on-loan pair Ryan Sessegnon and Oliver Skipp join Japhet Tangnga for UEFA Euro U21 action, while Alfie Devine and Dennis Cirkin link up with England’s U19 squad.
Ben Davies was forced to withdraw from Wales’ squad due to an injury that he picked up against Aston Villa. The left-back is expected to be sidelined for up to three weeks.
Dane Scarlett’s new deal – 28th March
Academy standout Dane Scarlett was rewarded with his first professional contract after breaking into Mourinho’s matchday squad at the age of sixteen.
The young striker’s contract will run until 2023, having been triggered following his 17th birthday.
Scarlett made his first team debut in Spurs’ Europa League victory against Ludogorets Razgrad in November 2020. He has currently racked up three appearances for the senior side, including a Premier League debut vs West Bromwich Albion.
The Hillingdon-born forward has scored 22 goals in 18 appearances for the U18 and U23 sides this season.
By Reece Coughlan