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Nic Ladds 5th Feb 2010 - 17:40

Furious fight for fourth

Aston Villa travel to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham in what should be an entertaining match with two teams full of exciting British talent. The outcome of this match will surely have a sizeable effect on the battle for fourth spot, neither team wanting to lose pace with the pack.

Tottenham (21/20) currently occupy that much coveted spot but with just two points separating them from seventh they certainly won't be feeling comfortable up there.  Both sides have shown some inconsistency over recent weeks and there's no doubt the winner here will take a massive confidence boost.

Aston Villa (13/5) have booked their place in the Carling Cup final but have just one win in five in the league. With so many games over the festive period they will hope to get their league form back on track with a massive away victory, although that seems unlikely.

Although Tottenham have won just once in the league this year, I fancy them to win this, with a decent price to boot.  With the teams below them slowly creeping up the table I expect them to really put on a performance and use the away victory over Leeds in the FA Cup as a real platform for success.

Villa haven't got the greatest form away at Spurs with just one win in their last nine attempts however they will be boosted by their recent away form, winning three of their last four - keeping a clean sheet in each victory. This said, I think Spurs will improve and take all three points here.

Any Tottenham success will surely be down to on-form striker Jermain Defoe who has 15 goals in the league this season already. Historically he fares well against Villa too with four goals in his last five starts against them. You can get 5/1 on him to get the first goal or 33/1 to replicate his hat-trick he got against Leeds.

His big man/little man partnership with Peter Crouch has yielded 28 goals in 28 league starts this season so Crouchy to bag one first at 11/2 looks good but for something a little different why not try the 11/5 on either him or Defoe to score first.

New signings Gudjohnsen and Kaboul will likely make the bench but Bale should continue at left back after finally hitting some decent form. Bentley should retain his place on the right with Lennon out and is a threat from set pieces (11/2 anytime).

Villa will hope Carew is fit enough in time for the game, he and Agbonlahor are both 13/2 to get their first goal. Personally I think the 10/1 first or 7/2 anytime on James Milner represents much better value as he has played some of his best football since being moved in to the middle of the park.

Martin O'Neill has really drummed the importance of this clash into his squad, knowing a loss will put them five points off fourth, and possibly out of the running for fourth. If they can really impress then the 6/4 on them draw no bet is probably the way to go if you fancy them.

Personally however I think Harry Redknapp's men will be too strong for them, considering four of the last six games between these two have ended 2-1 I'll go for the same result to Spurs here and at 13/2, could be a nice return.



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