Aston Villa v Tottenham preview: Dele Alli expected to be fit
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 13/03/16 5:12pm
Tottenham are confident Dele Alli will be fit to face Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday despite his ankle problem.
The young midfielder was left out of the squad for Thursday's Europa League defeat to Borussia Dortmund, but is expected to feature this weekend as Spurs look to close the gap on league leaders Leicester.
Last Saturday's north London derby saw Maurico Pochettino's men maintain their three-point gap over local rivals Arsenal - but remain five points behind the Foxes who play second-bottom Newcastle on Monday.
Aston Villa are the only team worse off than the Magpies, and are rock-bottom of the Premier League table with 16 points.
They are nine points adrift from the safety zone and have conceded 15 goals in the last four league games - all of which have been defeats - and have scored just twice.
Alongside the return of Alli, Eric Dier is also hoping to shake off a knock in time for the game at Villa Park.
Danny Rose sat out Thursday's defeat to in Germany with a sore calf and will be assessed, but Jan Vertonghen and Clinton Njie are both out with knee injuries.
Aston Villa boss Remi Garde is expected to choose from the same squad that lost 4-0 at Manchester City last weekend.
Carlos Sanchez (hamstring), Jack Grealish and Libor Kozak (both ankle) are all still sidelined while Charles N'Zogbia remains out of Garde's plans despite being fit.
Jordan Amavi is out until next season with a serious knee injury while Adama Traore (broken foot) is closing in on a return but is not ready yet.
Spurs have lost none of their last eight trips to Villa Park in all competitions (W6 D2 L0).
There have been red cards in three of the last five Premier League meetings between these two sides at Villa Park.
Tottenham Hotspur have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League away games (W7 D5 L1), but this defeat came in their last road trip in the competition at West Ham United (0-1).
Spurs have won a league-high 18 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.
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Harry Kane has scored 16 goals in his last 20 Premier League appearances for Tottenham, two more than Aston Villa (14) have in their last 20 Premier League games.
Tottenham's next away defeat in the Premier League will be their 200th - only Newcastle United (201) have lost more on the road before this weekend.
Aston Villa's 16-point tally after 29 games this season is the third lowest at this stage of a Premier League season, but Leicester City only had three points more (19) at this stage last term and finished 14th.
This is Spurs' best points tally from their opening 29 matches of a Premier League season (55).
Spurs were on the end of a good hiding against Borussia Dortmund and I found it strange because you get so far in the competition and then make seven changes. It's a shame for the fans who travelled over to Germany, but it was the same when Stoke went to Valencia a few years ago.
If that was the plan, you could say Spurs would have been better off beating Crystal Palace in the FA Cup and dropping the Europa League.
As for this game against Villa, it's must-win for Tottenham. There is no messing about now because draws are not good enough and if it's level in the last 15 minutes of matches, they have to go all out.
I think they'll beat Villa by three goals, though. There's not one Villa player that would get in the Tottenham team at the moment.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-3 (Sky Bet, 17/2)