Mark Lawrenson predicts Tottenham v Aston Villa, comments on North London derby

Mark Lawrenson is backing Spurs to beat Aston Villa 2-0 tonight.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he believes Tottenham will beat managerless Aston Villa at White Hart Lane tonight.

Spurs have enjoyed a strong start to the Premier League season, losing just once so far - and that defeat came all the way back on the opening day of the season against Manchester United.

With a superb defensive record, Mauricio Pochettino has his side moving in the right direction during his second season with the club, and now goes in to tonight's game knowing that a victory could send them above West Ham in to fifth place.

They take on an Aston Villa side who remain managerless having sacked former Spurs player and manager Tim Sherwood last week, though reports from BBC Sport suggest that ex-Arsenal midfielder Remi Garde is set to take the reins at Villa Park later today.

Interim boss Kevin MacDonald will take charge again, and pundit Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he believes Villa will lose 2-0 - and are taking a huge gamble by appointing former Lyon manager Garde.

Lawrenson also praised Tottenham and manager Pochettino, but stated that Spurs will struggle against their rivals Arsenal in the North London derby next weekend.

"We are all waiting to see who Villa go for to replace Tim Sherwood," said Lawrenson. "It looks like their first choice is Remi Garde, who would know all about their French players, but appointing anyone who is untried in the Premier League as a manager would be a gamble, especially because Villa are rock bottom."

"I think the key to Tottenham's recent results is a really good defensive base, which is very much Mauricio Pochettino's way. He is clearly building from there and the whole team has definitely improved but next week's north London derby will probably show that Arsenal are still quite a bit above them. Spurs are nowhere near their level yet," he added.

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