Aston Villa - Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Villans now battling for pride

With their relegation surely now a formality, Aston Villa must do their best to bring some smiles to the fans before they lose their Premier League status.

Aston Villa - Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Villans now battling for pride

With just nine games to go in the Premier League season, things are looking pretty bleak for Aston Villa as they host high-flying Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon.

With 27 points left to play for, a win would, at best, move bottom of the table Villa to within six points of safety. That'd be with teams above them having a game in hand to further extend the gap.

Villans taking on a very tough opponent

What are their chances though, of taking points off the side that sit second in the Premier League? Spurs have been a real force under Mauricio Pochettino this season, only losing four of 29 games, conceding just 24 goals - the best record in the division.

There might be some solace taken from the fact that Spurs have actually lost three of their last six games though, drawing one and winning the other two. However, those three defeats were all in separate cup competitions, with a narrow 1-0 loss to West Ham the only poor league result.

Recent form is abysmal

If anything, that could give the visitors more motivation against Villa, who certainly need a result following recent performances. After undergoing a mini revival, which consisted of losing just two games in an impressive eight game spell, they've now lost four league games on the trot. Conceding an astounding 15 goals in those four games, the most recent was a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City.

Aguero was on hand to put Villa to the sword last week (photo: PA)
Aguero was on hand to put Villa to the sword last week (photo: PA)

Although there have certainly been some brighter performances, little has changed since these two teams played at White Hart Lane earlier this season. It was the game after Tim Sherwood was sacked, before Remi Garde was appointed, with Kevin MacDonald on the touchline as goals from Moussa Dembele and Dele Alli gave Spurs a 2-0 lead, Jordan Ayew pulling one back before Harry Kane clinched a 3-1 win for the hosts.

Team news

Thankfully, the Villans have no new injury news ahead of Sunday's game, but do have a number of existing problems. Adama Traore is edging closer to a return, but remains out with an ankle injury that has seen him sidelined since early January.

Carlos Sanchez, Libor Kozak and Jack Grealish are also out, leaving the Villa fans to call for Garde to use some youngsters. There's likely to be a large exodus of players should they be relegated, and it'd do little harm to blood some local talent before they're thrust into the spotlight next season.

Tottenham were dismantled 3-0 by Borussia Dortmund in midweek, with Pochettino opting to rest a number of players. Harry Kane should return up front, whilst Dele Alli and Eric Dier will hope to return from minor injuries that kept them out of the European clash.