Tottenham upset by resurgent Villa; Chelsea held at Forest

LONDON (AP) — Any New Year's resolution by Tottenham to stop conceding the first goal lasted less than one day as Aston Villa continued its revival under Unai Emery with a 2-0 away win in the Premier League on Sunday.

Antonio Conte’s side has now conceded first in its last 10 matches with Tottenham fifth in the standings following its latest disappointment.

Emiliano Buendia took advantage of an error by Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal to open the scoring at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Douglas Luiz doubled the advantage to secure a second consecutive away league victory for midtable Villa, which has won three of its last four league games.

Tottenham has endured a poor string of results with just two victories in the club’s last seven games undermining its push for a top-four finish.

Spurs struggled to create chances throughout and players were booed off after a third home defeat from their last five games.

Liverpool can climb above Tottenham by winning at Brentford on Monday.

Chelsea was held 1-1 at Nottingham Forest in the other Premier League match on Sunday.

Forest’s impressive performance was soured by alleged homophobic chanting from some home supporters toward traveling fans.

BAD HABIT

Tottenham was boosted by the return of World Cup finalists Cristian Romero and Lloris but Dejan Kulusevski became the latest player unavailable to Conte due to a minor muscle injury.

The two goalkeepers in the World Cup final — France’s Lloris and Argentina hero Emiliano Martinez — were set to face each other again but while Lloris started, Martinez was on the bench.

A lackluster opening half featured as many yellow cards as shots. Each of Tottenham’s three center backs received bookings in a rash nine-minute period.

Ashley Young was well placed to clear Harry Kane’s header off the line in the 40th minute after Ivan Perisic had rounded Robin Olsen in the Villa goal. The chance woke up Tottenham with Son Heung-min, who chucked away his protective mask midway through the half, curling a free-kick into the arms of the Swedish goalkeeper soon after.

Despite making it to the break without conceding, Tottenham’s habit of falling behind continued five minutes into the second period. Lloris was at fault in his first appearance since the World Cup final and Buendia profited.

Luiz’s shot from range was spilled by Lloris and the alert Watkins reacted quickest to tee up Buendia, who slotted home from close range.

Kane fired wide on the half volley soon after before he made a costly error to allow the away side to double its advantage in the 73rd. Boubacar Kamara won possession from the Spurs forward and John McGinn exchanged passes with Luiz, who poked home.

BOOST FOR FOREST

Nottingham Forest gave its Premier League survival hopes a boost with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea whose troubles on the road continued.

Forest has beaten Liverpool and Tottenham at the City Ground this season and looked strong against the 2021 European champion despite falling behind to Raheem Sterling’s opener for Chelsea in the 16th minute.

Forest put in a fine second-half display which was rewarded with Serge Aurier’s equalizer just after the hour mark. Chelsea did at least avoid a fourth straight away defeat but will require huge improvement to close the seven-point gap on the top four.

Arsenal stretched its league lead to seven points on Saturday with a 4-2 win at Brighton while closest challengers Manchester City and Newcastle both dropped points.

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The Associated Press