Unai Emery continued his impressive start to life as Aston Villa manager as his side picked up a 2-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur in the first Premier League game of the year. The result means the Spanish manager has seen his side win three of his four league games in charge.
After a lacklustre start to the season under Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa have looked refreshed since the appointment of Emery. Their win over Manchester United before the break was impressive, and they faced a trip to London this time to take on Tottenham.
The match was billed to be a first meeting between both sides’ first-choice goalkeepers after they met in the World Cup final a fortnight ago, but Emiliano Martinez was only fit enough for the bench at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium while Hugo Lloris made his first start since that game.
Both sides failed to find the net in the opening half, but it took only five minutes of the second half for the game to come to life. A long-range free-kick from Douglas Luiz was spilled by Lloris into the path of Ollie Watkins, who calmly rolled the ball to Emiliano Buendia to open the scoring from close range and give Aston Villa the lead.
The visitors defended stoutly before hitting their hosts on the break in the 73rd minute. The impressive Luiz added his name to the scoresheet with a delicate chip over Lloris following a one-two with captain John McGinn.
Tottenham could not breach the stubborn Aston Villa backline, and they started 2023 with a home defeat. Spurs have now fallen out of the league’s top four after a dismal run of form that has seen them win two of their last seven games. Aston Villa, on the other hand, have recorded wins in back-to-back away games as they improve under Emery.