(Adebayor – 14, 40)
Aston Villa 0
A first half Emmanuel Adebayor brace ensured Harry Redknapp endured a happy return to the Tottenham dug-out as the North London side leap-frogged Newcastle United into third in the league.
With Rafael Van der Vaart passed fit, Redknapp opted to stick with the same starting XI that defeated Fulham at Craven Cottage 15 days ago.
Nevertheless, it was Aston Villa who troubled Brad Friedel in the Spurs net early on, Emile Heskey smashing into row Z from eight-yards out.
It took until the 11th minute for Spurs to fashion a decent opportunity, Adebayor making poor contact on Aaron Lennon’s cross after Benoit Assou-Ekotto expertly switched play from left-to-right.
The Togolese forward made amends minutes later, Van der Vaart’s corner was tamely cleared by the Villa defence as Gareth Bale looked to take advantage of the poor clearance.
However, his effort found the un-marked Adebayor who made no mistake this time round, firing home with a superb overhead strike from six-yards out.
Spurs looked to take full advantage of their early pressure, Van der Vaart firing into the side netting after a short-corner one-two with Lennon before Adebayor attempted to add a second but the front-man failed to make any form of decent contact from the Dutchman’s exquisite lofted ball across the 18-yard box.
The duo then linked up expertly again, Adebayor sending Van der Vaart through on goal but the latter failed to test Shay Given with his attempted lob of the Irishman.
Villa again tested, Gabriel Agbonlahor shifting the play out left to Heskey but the striker failed to pick out Darren Bent at the far-post, his effort drifting yards between the England man and the Spurs woodwork.
And the away side were made to pay for their inability to test Friedel as Spurs made it 2-0 moments later.
Luka Modric found Bale on the left and the Welshman sent in a delightful cross to the near-post and with James Collins diverting the ball towards to his own net, Adebayor had the simple task of tapping the ball over the line.
After the interval, Bent did well to get his headed effort on target from 10-yards but Friedel was on hand to meet the goal-bound opportunity.
At the other end, Adebayor came agonisingly to rounding off his hat-trick, some excellent work from Modric as the Croatian broke over the half-way line and releasing the Togolese ace but the striker saw his side-footed effort drift inches wide of the post with Given rooted to the spot.
Kyle Walker then let fly from 25-yards only to see his strike drift just wide of the top corner while Adebayor again came close to adding to his brace, his finesse effort beating Given but failing to hit the back of the net.
The on-loan front-man was then denied from close-range by Given while Parker attempted to test for Villa ‘keeper, his effort rising over the bar.
With two-minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official, Spurs saw out the final moments to secure all three points and move up to third.
What Redknapp had to say
I enjoyed the way we played tonight, I think the fans enjoyed it as well – they’ve seen lots of great teams over the years and they’re enjoying the way this team’s playing,” Redknapp told Sky Sports.
“It’s great to be back tonight – I wouldn’t want to watch it at home again, that was nerve-wracking.”
Moment of the match
Adebayor’s opener in the 14th minute set Spurs on course for a routine 2-0 win, in a game that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the training pitch. Incidentally, it was Adebayor’s first league goal since the 4-0 win over Liverpool back in September.
Man of the match
Every player was excellent tonight and honourable mentions go to Scott Parker, Modric and Van der Vaart but, for To the Lane and Back, that accolade belongs to Younes Kaboul. The Frenchman was superb in the Spurs back-four, repelling every Villa attack, both on the deck and aerially, and ensuring the away side were limited to only one shot on target.