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Aug 10, 2019 at 5.30pm UK
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Aston Villa
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Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League encounter between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa.

Tottenham Hotspur head into their Premier League opener with Aston Villa looking to make a positive statement as they look to put together a sustained title challenge.

Villa, meanwhile, make the trip to North London having spent big in the transfer market, something which has only raised expectations in the West Midlands.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino pictured on July 30, 2019© Reuters

There has been frequent speculation regarding the future of Mauricio Pochettino over the past 12 months, with a mix of interest from other clubs, potential Champions League glory and issues regarding transfers all playing their part.

However, Pochettino and his squad head into the new season with supporters increasingly optimistic that they have the tools to rival the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool for the top-flight crown.

While much of that has come from the club's run to the Champions League final, several high-profile additions have naturally heightened expectation levels in North London.

There may be an insistence in the public eye that City remain the clear favourites to win a third successive Premier League crown, but chairman Daniel Levy will want a return for the money which he has been prepared to shell out on fresh faces.

Spurs only claimed fourth spot on the final day of the last campaign, an achievement which will now be regarded as unacceptable given the level of investment.

There will, of course, be a certain level of patience with a manager who remains highly sought-after, although Pochettino now has less grounds to argue that work off the pitch is hindering his efforts on it.

Now that the transfer window has been slammed shut until January 1, focus will now turn on trying to gain as many points as possible from a difficult start, with games against City, Newcastle United and Arsenal to follow the meeting with Villa.

Such a schedule places extra importance on overcoming the newly-promoted club, but Spurs have shown in the past that they can produce a clinical streak when facing teams who have recently come up from the Championship.

Recent form: WLWDD

Aston Villa

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith celebrates winning the Championship playoff final on May 27, 2019© Reuters

While Aston Villa have spent the last three years away from the Premier League, there is a belief at the West Midlands outfit that they can quickly get themselves back up the standings during the upcoming campaign.

Despite Norwich City and Sheffield United - teams which earned automatic promotion - being satisfied with avoiding relegation, spending over £100m on a dozen new players suggests that Villa have bigger plans.

Dean Smith will attempt to play down the chances of instant progression in an increasingly competitive league, but Villa are expected to looking ahead rather than behind them towards the relegation zone.

That said, it is important that the playoff winners begin on the front foot. While Spurs represent a tough opening test, home games against Bournemouth, Everton and West Ham United come over the course of the following five weeks.

With a trip to Arsenal also thrown in there, Smith is aware that his team must be firing on all cylinders for their outings at Villa Park if they are to make any sort of impact around the mid-table area and beyond.

Much responsibility is naturally being placed upon the shoulders of boyhood fan and cult hero Jack Grealish, who probably only remained at Villa as a result of their promotion.

However, having played an important part during the second half of last season, defender Tyrone Mings is under pressure to justify his £25m price-tag, as it striker Wesley who cost just lower than that fee.

Whether they can immediately deliver against a team of Spurs' quality remains to be seen, although five successive wins during pre-season would indicate that Villa are suitably prepared for the game in England's capital.

Recent form: WWWWW

Team News

Tottenham Hotspur full-back Danny Rose in action during his side's Premier League clash with Leicester on February 9, 2019© Reuters

Despite having almost joined Watford on deadline day, a number of injuries may mean that Danny Rose starts at left-back for Spurs.

The same applies to Christian Eriksen, who continues to be linked with other clubs, while Erik Lamela could get the nod on the left with Son Heung-min serving a suspension.

Tanguy Ndombele is a likely starter alongside Harry Winks in central midfield, but Giovani Lo Celso may begin the game among the replacements, with Ryan Sessegnon missing out altogether due to a hamstring issue.

As for Villa, Smith may opt to select the team which began the friendly against RB Leipzig last weekend, meaning that Bjorn Engels would get the nod in the middle of the backline.

Trezeguet is pushing for a starting role, while Douglas Luiz is in contention to feature in the squad having been given permission to link up with his new side after gaining a visa.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Ndombele, Winks; Moura, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Heaton; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett; Hourihane, McGinn; Grealish, El Ghazi, Jota; Wesley

Head To Head

Saturday's meeting will represent the 164th competitive clash between the two clubs, with Spurs registering 72 wins in comparison to 56 victories for Villa.

The two teams last met in January 2017 when Spurs ran out 2-0 winners in the FA Cup, while the last top-flight game came during the previous year.

The North Londoners hold a dominant recent record over Villa, with 13 triumphs and just one defeat being recorded in the last 17 encounters in all competitions.

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We say: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa

We expect there to be a few nerves on Saturday evening, especially with Spurs being aware of Villa effectively having little to lose this weekend. However, the home side should have enough quality to come through, although they may need to strike late in order to get the better of the visitors.

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