Tottenham Hotspur slipped to a third successive Premier League defeat as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Aston Villa in an absorbing clash full of chances on Sunday.
Villa’s first win on the road in just over two months took them above Tottenham into fourth place in the table but it did not look likely as they were outplayed in the first half.
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The hosts were given a deserved lead by Giovani Lo Celso’s deflected shot in the 22nd minute and could have been comfortably ahead before Pau Torres levelled with a thumping header deep in first-half stoppage time.
Chances continued to flow both ways after the break but it was Villa who went ahead with a fine finish by Ollie Watkins just past the hour mark after being set up by Youri Tielemans.
Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez made two great saves, Ben Davies headed a golden chance over the bar and Pedro Porro hit the post for the luckless hosts who also suffered another injury blow as Rodrigo Bentancur limped off in the first half.
Unai Emery’s upwardly-mobile Villa side have 28 points from 13 games, behind Liverpool only on goal difference and just two points behind table-topping Arsenal.
For Tottenham, who were unbeaten in their first 10 Premier League games under new manager Ange Postecoglou until a riotous 4-1 home defeat by Chelsea, the wheels appear to have come loose.
They are down to fifth place on 26 points and face champions Manchester City away next weekend.
Injury-hit Tottenham are also the first side since Leicester City in 2014 to lose three successive Premier League matches despite leading 1-0, having also been in front against Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“A tough outcome but I couldn’t be happier with the way the boys played,” Postecoglou said.
“I’m really proud of them, I thought we played some fantastic football and on another day we would’ve won comfortably. There’s no frustration. We played well and as a manager that’s all you can ask for.”
Postecoglou’s side almost went in front in the third minute when Dejan Kulusevski cut in and curled a shot against the post.
Son Heung-min then blazed over an open goal as Tottenham continued to carve Villa open, although he was ruled offside.
Eventually Tottenham’s pressure paid off as Lo Celso let fly with his left foot from the edge of the area and his shot took a deflection and flew past Martinez.
Villa thought they had equalised almost immediately as Watkins glanced home from close range but a VAR check, one of several in the game, ruled him offside.
Tottenham’s troubles began when Bentancur limped off the pitch, the Uruguayan having only recently returned from a serious knee injury though this time it was an ankle problem.
Then in the sixth minute of stoppage time Torres met a Douglas Luiz ball and powered his header past Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario.
Villa looked more of a threat after the break and took the lead as Tielemans linked with Watkins who sent a clinical finish past Vicario for his seventh league goal of the season.
“Three points, it was an amazing match, both teams different tactically, really hard, really tough,” Emery, who has rejuvenated Villa in just over a year at the helm, told reporters. “I enjoyed it, but I lost all my energy!”