Tottenham’s strong start to the Premier League season has been undone by back-to-back defeats against Chelsea and Wolves and a depleted squad may leave them vulnerable at home to Aston Villa.
The Villans head into this Sunday showdown only one point and one place behind Spurs but victory in the capital would see them leapfrog the north London side into the Premier League’s top four.
Tottenham had laid down their marker as being surprise title contenders as they went unbeaten in their opening 10 Premier League games, dropping only four points along the way.
That run featured victories over Manchester United and Liverpool and a thrilling 2-2 draw with north London rivals Arsenal, although all their early hard work is in danger of being undone.
Ange Postecoglou’s side have suffered back-to-back league defeats against Chelsea and Wolves, which have seen them slip to fourth in the table.
The 4-1 defeat at home to Chelsea isn’t as bad as it seems as they were reduced to nine men and conceded two of those goals in stoppage time.
The 2-1 loss away at Wolves was another tough one to take because they led inside three minutes but were pegged back by Pablo Sarabia in the 91st minute before Mario Lemina added another with one of the final kicks of the game.
The international break may have come at a good time for Spurs but they are still depleted by suspensions and injuries and could be vulnerable again.
Tottenham are without their most creative player in James Maddison, who has already scored three goals and grabbed five assists, which could leave Heung-min Son isolated.
Defensively they could be suspect too as first-choice centre-backs Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven are both missing, as well as midfield anchor Yves Bissouma.
Along with Son, that sidelined quartet have arguably been Tottenham’s most important assets this season, so Villa should really be fancying their chances.
Like Spurs, Villa have won eight of their opening 12 games and find themselves only one point and one place behind the Londoners.
Unai Emery has considerably fewer selection problems and, although his allies are stronger at home, they did record a 1-0 victory away at Chelsea earlier in the season.
Only City went into this weekend with more goals than Villa's total of 29 in 12 matches and they can capitalise on Tottenham's depleted defence.
It is also worth noting that Villa completed a league double over Spurs last season, winning 2-0 away in January before a 2-1 home win in May.
With Romero and Van de Ven missing, Watkins should be smelling blood and the Villa hotshot looks worth backing to add to his tally in the capital.
The 27-year-old has 11 goals in all competitions this season, with six of those coming in the Premier League. He has had 16 shots on target across his 12 appearances, with only Erling Haaland, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah having currently racked up more.
Spurs have conceded in seven of their last nine league games and Watkins can make the most of any defensive deficiencies.
Cristian Romero and Yves Bissouma are suspended for Tottenham while James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, Ivan Perisic, Richarlison, Ryan Sessegnon and Manor Solomon are all ruled out through injury.
One welcome boost for Spurs is the return of marauding left-back Destiny Udogie and, while Pape Matar Sarr must be assessed after picking up a knock on international duty with Senegal, he is expected to be fit to feature.
Villa have Emi Buendia, Tyrone Mings and Bertrand Traore sidelined through injury but Emi Martinez, Matty Cash, John McGinn, Leon Bailey and Nicolo Zaniolo should all shake off their respective knocks.
|Aston Villa wins
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.