Aston Villa punish Hugo Lloris error to hurt Spurs' top-four chances

Goals from Buendia and Luiz seal victory for Emery's side

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Tottenham Hotspur made a forgettable start to the New Year as they fumbled a chance of regaining their position in the Premier League's top four after falling to a 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Spurs lacked any spark and paid a huge price for a costly mistake from Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham's France World Cup final-losing goalkeeper was at fault for Emiliano Buendia's 50th-minute opener. And when Douglas Luiz added a second in the 73rd minute, home fans began streaming towards the exits.

Lloris was left on the bench for Tottenham's draw against Brentford on Boxing Day and, going by Sunday's effort, he might need more time to get back on top of his game.

Chants against Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy rang as Villa eased to only a third win in their last 22 Premier League clashes with Spurs.

Spurs had hoped the first Premier League match of 2023 would serve to kick-start their bid to qualify for next season's Champions League via a top four finish. Instead, Tottenham were booed off at the final whistle as defeat left them in fifth place with 30 points from 17 matches.

Villa keeper Robin Olsen, who kept his place ahead of Argentina hero Emiliano Martinez, was untroubled and three yellow cards in the space of 10 minutes for Tottenham, including one for returning World Cup winner Cristian Romero, was about the only talking point for the opening 37 minutes.

Son Heung-min started the match once again wearing the mask he used during the World Cup to protect his fractured eye socket. But Tottenham's South Korean star ripped the mask off for good early in the first half, discarding it angrily after failing to control a pass.

Son's frustration summed up Tottenham's insipid performance.

No player has scored more Premier League goals on New Year's Day than Harry Kane's five. But the Tottenham striker was denied another at the start of the year when he nodded Ivan Perisic's cross goalwards, only to see Ashley Young clear off the line with an agile diving header.

Although Tottenham dominated possession for long periods, they couldn't make the breakthrough.

Antonio Conte made a flurry of late substitutions with Pape Sarr being brought on for his debut and Djed Spence earning a rare appearance but boos greeted the full-time whistle.

It was a forgettable day for Tottenham after a third home defeat from their last five games.

While Tottenham were boosted by the return of Romero and Lloris, Dejan Kulusevski became the latest player unavailable to Conte due to a muscle injury.

Romero's compatriot Emiliano Martinez was also at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but only named on the Villa bench a two weeks on from his heroics at the World Cup final in Qatar.

Former Arsenal manager Unai Emery, meanwhile, masterminded Villa's success on his return to north London. Emery, dismissed by Arsenal in 2019, has now won three of his four Premier League matches since replacing Steven Gerrard in November.

Updated: January 01, 2023, 5:02 PM