Tottenham extends unbeaten EPL run to 10, beats last-place Aston Villa
LONDON (AP) — Within hours of being hired as Aston Villa manager, Remi Garde witnessed the magnitude of his task on Monday when Tottenham handed his new team a ninth loss in 11 Premier League games to leave it stranded at the bottom.
Tottenham's 3-1 victory kept Spurs firmly in the contention for a return to the Champions League and left Villa seemingly headed for the League Championship unless Garde can transform the team in the second third of the season.
Only after Villa pulled one back in the 79th minute — with Jordan Ayew's strike beating goalkeeper Hugo Lloris thanks to a deflection off Jan Vertonghen — did the team show any of the fighting spirit required for a relegation scrap.
But Villa's defense had taken only three minutes to be unpicked by a Tottenham team which is now only five points behind leader Manchester City in fifth place. Mousa Dembele cut in from the left, outmuscled Ciaran Clark and slotted the ball under Brad Guzan at the goalkeeper's near post.
Garde watched the goal go in from his seat in the directors' box at White Hart Lane as Kevin MacDonald remained in temporary charge following Tim Sherwood's dismissal.
Perhaps the only accomplishment for Villa in the first half — when Ashley Westwood was substituted with a potential concussion — was preventing Tottenham from scoring again until stoppage time. That time it was Joleon Lescott's failure to fully clear Danny Rose's cross with a header that proved costly as 19-year-old Dele Alli netted his first home goal.
The hosts looked complacent in the second half, failing to convert domination into a more commanding lead. But Tottenham responded to Ayew's goal, with Kane sweeping the ball high into the net in stoppage time to complete a counterattack after being set up by Erik Lamela.
Tottenham hasn't lost since the opening day of the season. Villa hasn't won since then — and doesn't look like doing so any time soon. Premier League leader Manchester City is up next on Sunday when Garde, the former Lyon coach, will be in the dugout.