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Dean Smith and Aston Villa eyeing big scalp as they prepare to face Tottenham

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Dean Smith has urged Villa to grasp their chance of taking down a Premier League big gun when they host Tottenham on Sunday.

Dean Smith.

Villa sit just one spot above the relegation zone and are aiming for a victory to boost their survival hopes.

The target for the sixth-placed visitors, meanwhile, is to push closer to the Champions League places after a largely underwhelming campaign to this point, which saw Mauricio Pochettino sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho in November.

Spurs are among several members of the so-called big six to have struggled this term.

Villa are also still to host Arsenal and Manchester United and Smith said: “Some of the games we have at Villa Park should be mouthwatering because you do not get too many opportunities to go and beat these kind of teams.

“This season is one which is giving you those chances because there have been transitions at some of those clubs.

“Manchester United changed manager last season. Arsenal and Tottenham have done it this season. They are three of the teams normally in the top six.

“I think (last season) you would probably have gone into (these games) with a bit more fear than we will now.”

Villa are looking to improve their own record against teams in the top half of the table. Just four of the 25 points they have earned have come against the current top 10, nine of whom they face over the final 13 games.

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But Smith countered: “We have played a lot of them away from home. Now we will be playing them at home and I have always said our season will be defined at Villa Park.

“Someone pointed out to me the other day - and I never realised - we have actually won more games than Arsenal. That tells you a little about what the Premier League has been like this season.”

The boss remains confident his team will get stronger the longer the season goes on.

He added: “We had a big turnaround in the summer and we had to, as everyone knows.

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“Things feel like they are starting to come together, in the way players are training since the turn of the year.

“Where I felt players could be a little bit rushed in games I feel they have more time on the ball now. That is getting used to the Premier League, as well as each other.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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