Premier League - Spurs clinch Europa League spot with first-half demolition of Villa

Premier League, White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Paulinho 15, Baker og 34, Adebayor pen 38) Aston Villa 0

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Premier League - Spurs clinch Europa League spot with first-half demolition of Villa
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Tottenham Hotspur's Aaron Lennon (2nd L) celebrates his goal against Stoke City with Zeki Fryers (2nd R), Roberto Soldado (R) and Emmanuel Adebayor (L) (Reuters)

Tottenham sealed their place in next season’s Europa League with a comfortable 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

In what may turn out to be his final game in charge, Tim Sherwood’s players gave him a fitting send-off, wrapping up the points in the first half and cruising to victory in the second.

They took the lead after a quarter of an hour when Paulinho played a neat one-two with Gylfi Sigurdsson before shooting straight at Brad Guzan and stroking the ball into the empty net on the rebound. Their lead was doubled on 34 minutes courtesy of Villa defender Nathan Baker, who inadvertently headed Danny Rose’s fizzing cross into his own net.

Four minutes later and Spurs were home and dry. Sandro’s long-range shot struck Gabriel Agbonlahor’s arm inside the area and Emmanuel Adebayor tucked away the resulting penalty down the middle.

Both sides would have been happy to call it a day at half-time, and the game meandered uneventfully towards its inevitable conclusion in the second half. While Spurs ended a tumultuous campaign on a high, it was a sorry end to a sorry season for Villa.

[SHERWOOD'S INCREDIBLE GESTURE SEES FAN SIT IN DUGOUT]

KEY MOMENTS

15’ – SPURS TAKE THE LEAD! They work the ball on the edge of the box and Paulinho bursts into the area. His first shot is blocked by Guzan but he mops up the rebound, stroking the ball into the empty net.

34’ – SPURS STRIKE AGAIN! It's an own goal from Nathan Baker! Danny Rose fizzes a cross in from the left on the half volley and Baker can do nothing but divert it into his own net with his head.

37’ – PENALTY TO SPURS! An Agbonlahor handball is deemed more than accidental.

38’ – GOAL! Adebayor places the penalty straight down the middle! Spurs are out of sight, surely.

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KEY STATS

This is the first time this season that Spurs have scored inside the first 15 minutes of a Premier League game.

Villa’s last away win was on New Year’s Day.

Spurs have equalled their highest ever win tally in a Premier League season (21).

TALKING POINT

Is the Europa League a poisoned chalice? Many believe that Europa League football hinders performance in the league and the following stat would seem to corroborate that view. Sic of Spurs' 11 defeats this Premier League season have come off the back of Europa League games. Will that dastardly competition once again get in the way of Spurs' ambitions of a top-four finish?

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

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MAN OF THE MATCH

Paulinho (Spurs). Not only did he score the goal that got the ball rolling today, but he was the beating heart of the Spurs midfield that dominated Villa in the first half.

PLAYER RATINGS

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris 7, Naughton 7, Chiriches 7, Dawson 6, Rose 7, Sandro 6, Sigurdsson 6, Paulinho 8, Eriksen 7, Adebayor 7, Kane 7. Subs: Veljkovic 5, Bentaleb 5, Pritchard 5.

Aston Villa: Guzan 6, Lowton 5, Vlaar 6, Baker 5, Bertrand 5, Bacuna 6, Westwood 7, Delph 6, Weimann 6, Bowery 5, Agbonlahor 5. Subs: Robinson 5, El Ahmadi 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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