While Tottenham may have smelled the chance to start 2023 with Sunday afternoon excitement, Spurs ended up suffering an alarming 2-0 defeat at home against Aston Villa.
Missing a chance to return to Champions League qualification, Antonio Conte’s side were met with a chorus of cheers after the final whistle after a second-half brace from Emi Buendia and Douglas Luis.
Still trying to find some stability, Spurs have largely failed to deliver a significant blow to the Villa team, which is on a wave of momentum on both sides of the World Cup break.
Now with three Premier League victories in their last four matches, Unai Emery’s new side has also swept away from any potential relegation.
With more pressure on Conte’s shoulders and a real blow to Tottenham’s dreams of finishing in the top four, we’ve covered the main topics for discussion.
Could Conte have left north London?
While many in north London may have been thrilled by Conte’s arrival 14 months ago, friction seems to be building between the dugout and the stands.
While the former Chelsea boss could have guided Spurs back into the top four last season, the Sunday hosts really failed to find stability this time around.
As Conte’s pragmatic approach doesn’t resonate with much of Tottenham’s fanbase, they’ve managed just a couple of Premier League victories in their last seven attempts.
With this streak starting on October 15th, Conte should have had a real headache with his team’s lingering defensive problems this season.
After throwing a couple of shots here and causing a number of problems for Villa on Sunday afternoon, the Spurs have failed to record a clean sheet in any of their last seven matches.
Having slipped out of the top four and watching the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle enjoy their recent purple spots, Conte’s team could face an uphill battle in 2023.
Villa open in 2023 with application
While Tottenham’s toothless performance may draw the most headlines here, Aston Villa deserves credit for being attractive under Emery.
Since the ex-Arsenal boss took over from Steven Gerrard back in October, Sunday crowds have continued to skyrocket at the table and it looks like the vibes around Villa Park are really on the rise.
While Emery’s new team may have marked their comeback from the World Cup break with a 3-1 home defeat to Liverpool earlier in the week, they’ve definitely come back with a roar.
Putting on what was a gritty spectacle and keeping the likes of Harry Kane quiet, Villa have amassed nine points in their last four Premier League matches alone.
Having pushed themselves back from a bottom-3 flopping and established what has been a true second-half marker in north London, Villa must now set their sights on creating a true top-half spurt in 2023.
Now with victories over Manchester United and Spurs on both sides of the break, Emery deserves credit for his immediate impact.
Could Martinez leave Villa Park?
While Amy Martinez could have returned to Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon after helping Argentina clinch a third world title in Qatar this winter, the ex-Arsenal goalkeeper had to settle for a place on the bench here.
Although the 30-year-old could also have been awarded the Golden Glove of the World Cup in the Middle East, he has found himself at the center of an ongoing controversy.
After coming under scrutiny for his post-World Cup antics and publicly taunting Kylian Mbappé during Argentina’s homecoming last month, it has been speculated that Martinez could leave Villa Park in the coming weeks.
With deputy goaltender Robin Olsen showing a professional look here, reports over the last week hint that Emery is far from impressed with Martinez’s performance.
Although the Argentinean hero could receive a number of applause for his heroic deed in Qatar, daily mail reports that Emery is already lining up a potential new number one in January.
Tottenham: Lloris, Romero, Lenglet, Davis, Doherty, Bissum, Hojbjerg, Perisic, Gil, Kane, Son
Subscriptions: Sessegnon, Spence, Royal, Skipp, Sarr
Aston Villa: Olsen, Young, Konsa, Mings, Ding, Buendia, Louis, Camara, McGinn, Watkins, Bailey
Subscriptions: Coutinho, Bednarek, Chambers, Ings, Cash
Goals: Buendia (50′), Luis (73′)
Yellow cards: Tottenham Hotspur: Romero, Lenglet, Davies, Bissuma – Aston Villa: Konsa, Mings, Chambers
Red cards: N/A
Judge: Chris Kavanagh