Poor, poor Aston Villa. Fresh off an 8-0 hammering at Stamford Bridge, Paul Lambert's men were utterly demolished by Tottenham Hotspur at home, conceding four goals -- including a Gareth Bale hattrick -- in the second half to complete an unforgettably horrendous holiday season, one in which they matched a Premier League record for goals conceded over a two-match span.
The first half was one of frustration for the visitors. They were clearly the better side, but the hosts, apparently stung by their humiliation at the hands of Chelsea, defended en masse and kept Spurs at bay. There were chances, but Brad Guzan was more than up to stopping the likes of Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor whenever they did break through.
And then Villa tried to actually play football and were immediately punished. Defoe broke the deadlock 57 minutes in when a clever ball caught the defence napping, and Bale almost immediately made it two when Christian Benteke's awful cross allowed Spurs to break at speed.
Bale continued to torment Villa's defence, smashing in two more chances before Andre Villas-Boas showed some mercy on his beleaguered opponents by subbing off the Welsh dangerman, but by then the damage had been done. Villa are going to have to do some serious retooling in January -- they look impossibly far from the team that one at Anfield two weeks ago.