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The top-four race is now Tottenham's to lose. There is plenty of time for them to do exactly that but a 4-0 win at Aston Villa means that Ange Postecoglu's side are now in control of their own destiny. With 11 games left for them to play, one more than the Villains, Spurs are two points off an opponent who faltered woefully on a day they could have made themselves overwhelming favorites to reach next season's Champions League.

Instead, second-half goals from James Maddison, Brennan Johnson and Heung-min Son gave Spurs a crucial road win, their 10th in their last 13 visits to Villa Park. To make matters worse for Unai Emery, a rash challenge from captain John McGinn saw him sent off, ruling him out of a trip to West Ham next weekend.

Playing in a 5-3-2 that is relatively unfamiliar to the home faithful, Villa rarely managed to test Tottenham's high line in the first half as Mickey van de Ven proved himself to be a match for Ollie Watkins in foot races. Spurs had precious little joy of their own until after the break when their fresh legs seemed to shine through against a side who had been held to a 0-0 draw at Ajax on Thursday.

Villa's left looked particularly porous, Lucas Digne caught high upfield in the 50th minute, leaving space for Pape Sarr to fly forward and cross for James Maddison to net his first goal since returning from injury. One swiftly became two when Ezri Konsa's pass was intercepted, Son slipping in Johnson to lift over Emiliano Martinez.

Hopes of an unlikely comeback were ended in the 65th minute when McGinn went flying into Destiny Udogie and Villa were perhaps lucky that Tottenham took so long to turn into goals on the numerous occasions that they carved the 10 men up. Early in added time Son found space to rifle a Dejan Kulusevski shot into the roof of the net before substitute Timo Werner added the fourth. Arriving in Birmingham, Spurs had had a goal difference that was six inferior to their hosts. Now it is two better.

Emery, whose only previous full season in the Premier League saw him fritter away a top-four berth when in charge of Arsenal, will now be hoping for a favor from Chelsea when Spurs face them in their rearranged fixture. He will also need to address what has become a worrying downturn in form at what was once fortress Villa Park, scene of just one win and four defeats in their last five.

Both Villa and Tottenham still need to play all of the Premier League's top three before the end of the season and, watching on after their 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday, Manchester United might just hope that this defeat for the side in fourth has opened up a path for them to rise up the table. All three will also be looking to Europe for salvation as English clubs battle with their German counterparts to earn the coefficient points that would see them awarded a fifth Champions League qualification place.