OPPONENTS Watford at Vicarage Road
COMPETITION Premier League 
PREVIEW Tottenham's visit to Vicarage Road should have been a home match, but he Premier League and Watford agreed to switch the game to the Hornet's nest, which is where the Hertfordshire club would like the League Cup tie switched to instead of travelling to Milton Keynes (which I think most people might prefer).  While this match continues the run of "away" fixtures, the win over Manchester United showed that the team do not need to have a home base to record good victories.

Watford appear much more solid this season and although this might be the first big test of their campaign, having beaten Burnley, Brighton and Palace, they look well organised and in Roberto Pereyra they have a midfielder who drives them forward.  His experience with Juventus has helped add something to the Watford side and he ahs the ability to follow attacks, arriving to finish, sometimes with devastating effect.

There haven't been many new additions not the Watford side during the summer, with the permanent signing of loan winger Gerald Deulofeu from Barcelona and goalkeeper Ben Foster from West Bromwich Albion being the most notable.  A few of their buys have been ones for the future, who will be introduced gradually.  The striking partnership of Andre Gray and Troy Deeney will be relied on to get the bulk of their goals, with Stefano Okoka as back up.  Nigerian striker Isaac Success is being brought back into the side after a drop off in form after his initial impact.  All the strikers are strong and will provide a physical test for our defenders.

The defence is not that impressive on paper, but are getting an understanding to shut down the strikers of the other teams.  Craig Cathcart, Daryl Janmaat, Jose Holebas and Christian Kabasele are the preferred back four, with all likely to be reinstated after the League Cup tie saw them rested.  Janmaat and Holebas like to get forward, while Kabasele is a danger at set-pieces.  Miguel Britos, Sebastian Prodl and Adrian Mariappa are all in reserve and have Premier League experience, but all have an error in their game that could cost Watford if they are selected.  New signings Marc Navarro from Espanyol and Adam Masina from Nologna have probably jumped ahead of these defenders, with Kiko Femenia and Marvin Zeegelaar also available.  Youngster Ben Wilmot interested Spurs, but Watford nipped in to buy him from Stevenage.

The midfield is a strong area for Watford, with Swede Ken Sema coming in during the transfer window, joining youngster Domingos Quina from West Ham United London, with them trying to displace former Man United man Tom Cleverley, ex-Chelsea midfielder Nathan Chalobah, Will Hughes - formerly of Derby and Abdoulaye Doucoure, who Spurs were linked to over the last year.  Doucoure is an all-action midfielder, who gets in tackles and covers a lot of ground, while Chalobah has made the decision to get first team action away from Stamford Bridge and has a good range of passing to go with a physical presence in the centre of the side. 

Some familiar faces can be found among the Hornets' ranks, but it is unlikely that Heurelho Gomes will play, having been pushed down the pecking order with Foster's arrival, nor will Younes Kaboul, who is busier slagging off Mauricio Pochettino than being given a squad number by Watford.  One who will play is Etienne Capoue, so it will be interesting to assess if Gracia has been able to add some discipline to the Frenchman's game.  He has the talent, but his lack of concentration and defensive mindedness allows opposition sides to get through the Watford midfield.

Spurs will not find this as easy as in previous years and without Hugo Lloris and Erik Lamela a doubt, the game will be a little more difficult.  We have looked as though we are finding our game after the tiring summer the majority of the squad had at the World Cup.  Some of the closing down which is a feature of Pochettino's philosophy has returned and the slick counter-attacking style has been used to good effect and it might well be needed on Sunday.  Watford will be looking to extend their good start, but might be willing to do it by attacking Spurs rather than trying to shut them out, but this might play into our hands and I would take a narrow win to keep us up with Chelsea and Liverpool.

PREDICTION Watford    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Premier League Kick off 16:00
Watford  2 (0)  
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Deeney  68m 06s
Cathcart  75m 24s


Doucoure (o.g.)   52m 54s

Crowd :   20,141 Weather :  Sunny, warm
Referee : Andre Marriner (West Midlands) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Scott Ledger; Mr. Dan Cook
Fourth Official :  Martin Atkinson  
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Rookery Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 8 minutes.
Capoue (foul on Vertonghen)  52 
Success (standing in front of a throw-in)  90+3 


Dembele  (foul on Hughes)  68


Watford : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
26  Ben FOSTER

  2  Daryl JANMAAT
15  Craig CATHCART 
27  Christian KABASELE
25  Jose HOLEBAS

19  Will HUGHES  (14  Nathaniel CHALOBAH  86)
16  Abdoulaye DOUCOURE 
  Etienne CAPOUE     
37  Roberto PEREYRA  (  6  Adrian MARIAPPA  90)

18  Andre GRAY  (10  Isaac SUCCESS  70     )

  9  Troy DEENEY  (c) 

Unused subs: 
  Heurelho GOMES
11  Adam MASINA
13  Ken SEMA
21  Kiko FEMENIA

  13  Michel VORM

  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
Toby ALDERWEIRELD  (18  Fernando LLORENTE  81)

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
19  Mousa DEMBELE        (  8  Harry WINKS  86)
20  DELE Alli
Christian ERIKSEN
33  Ben DAVIES  (  3  Danny ROSE  89)

10  Harry KANE  (c)
27  Lucas MOURA

Unused subs: 
  Eric DIER
  Victor WANYAMA

Manager :  Javi Gracia Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   FXPro Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Spurs succumbed to a bullish Watford side, having taken the lead through an own goal, but getting stung at two free-kicks by the Hornets.  It was a disappointment after beating Manchester United, but Tottenham rarely got into their stride, despite having chances to take the three points.

Mauricio Pochettino had scelection problems, with Hugo Lloris injured in training forcing a change to be made, so Michel Vorm took the gloves and Eric Dier was dropped to the subs bench as Davinson Sanchez was brought in to add height to protect Vorm.  While you would have thought Watford would have tried to pressurise Vorm, they had an early long throw, but it did not create a chance and Spurs hit back with Kane going left to try and square for Lucas and then Moura himself tried the same from the right after turning and skinning Kabasele. The Watford defender had to be alert when Kane got on the end of a long ball from Alderweireld and won a corner, from which Kabasele got a kick in the head from Sanchez as he tried a donkey kick to the ball as it came in.
Twelve minutes in, Toby’s long ball down the middle found Dele’s run and from the edge of the box he lofted a header over the advancing Foster. Luckily for Watford, the ball dropped just wide and avoided another embarrassing moment for the keeper against Spurs. Tottenham were finding it congested in Watford’s five-man midfield, but the home side created a chance for Deeney when he got the better of Alderweireld in the air from a right wing cross, but couldn’t keep it from flying over the bar. From the goal-kick, Vorm put the ball out of play near our won goal, but fortunately, it came to nothing.

Dele almost opened up the Watford defence with a straight pass to Moura on the edge of the box and he slalomed past two men before Kabasele eased him off the ball and Foster grabbed it at his feet. For the Hornets, Deeney looked to get away from Vertonghen when he beat him to a bouncing ball, but Jan produced a fine sliding tackle that scooped the ball off the Watford forward and kept the ball in play. Just before the half hour, dele looked to line up a shit, but with players in front of him, played the ball wide, where Eriksen and Trippier combined to win a corner. It was cleared, but a ball into the box was missed by Sanchez, but it fooled Foster who let the ball bounce off his chest, with it coming out to Lucas 22 yards out. He tried an instant volley, but sliced it a long way off target.

When Kane was bumped off the ball and didn’t get a free-kick, when it dropped to him just inside his own half, he won a throw, which he took quickly, winning a  orner, as Dele ran onto it. Frustratingly, the ball in didn’t beat the first man. There was a slight worry as Pereyra and Deeney worked the ball to the dead ball lien and Davinson slid in, but didn’t tackle the Uruguayan, who wanted a penalty.  When a decision as given at the other end by the corner flag, perhaps Kabasele was lucky not to pick up a card for a jump tackle on Moura. It was well planned with Trippier pulling it back and short to Christian and his low ball in across the box was side-footed wide from a yard out by Dele, but he was relieved to see the linesman’s flag go up for offside. The Watford fans went wild, when Marriner awarded them a free-kick just inside their own half, as they felt they had been hard done by up until the 38th minute. Then another one came inside the Spurs half and again the crowd went crazy !

The closest Spurs came in the remaining time in the first half was when a corner ran all the way through to the left side, 22 yards out and Davies hit it first time, but way too high. Sanchez knocked a free-kick down to Dele, who tried to juggle it into a shooting chance, but it was whipped off his toe and Sanchez flashed a header over from Jan’s cross from the left. Tottenham’s attempt to try and hold onto the ball until the half-time whistle almost cost them, when Vertonghen was dispossessed
and Deeney went forward, but attempting a shot from 25 yards out, he trickled it weakly straight at Vorm.

The second half started in the same sunshine that made the pitch half in sun and half in shade during the first 45 minutes. Marriner was letting a lot go and the Watford fans were happy with that when it went their way and furious when it didn’t. Kane was pulled to the ground but no penalty resulted, Spurs worked a good move but Lucas’ ball was a little short for Eriksen, who had to rush a shot that was going wide, but Foster dived for it anyway. Eriksen also hit Foster with an effort  from just outside the box, but was closer to getting a goal with his next effort. Spurs broke from midfield and Dele lofted a high ball over the back line from the 18 yard line. Kabasele headed it wide as Foster charged out but wouldn’t have got anywhere hear the ball, with the ball going wide right to Lucas, who played it back in while the keeper was receiving his position. In trying o stop it, Doucoure got back and deflected it in at the near post despite Foster’s desperate dive and Eriksen’s stretch to try and poke it home. It was a mess at the back for Watford, but the ball was in the net and they all count.

The ref was still giving soft free-kicks and when Andre Gray was pulling and holding Sanchez as much as he was being pulled, it went Watford’s way and he won another one when Dele went in for a challenge, but the home team wasted both. Gray came closer when he stood on two feet and hit a shot from the edge of the D, but it swerved away from the top corner of the goal for a goal kick.  Lucas suffered a clash of heads with Kabasele, but he was Tottenham’s out ball and worked tirelessly to chase the ball down and his prodigious jumps were causing the Watford defenders problems in the air.

The home fans were ecstatic when Deeney shouldered Sanchez off the ball and put in a near post cross that Alderweireld got to first. It flew across goal, beating Vorm, but bounced out off the top of the upright and was cleared away. The home fans were claiming the referee didn’t know what he was doing, but loved it when they were given a free-kick that Hughes swung in for Deeney to rise above the Tottenham defence to glance down to Vorm’s right and make it 1-1. Spurs knew that they would be strong in the air, but didn’t put that into practice when the free-kick allowed a 68th minute equaliser.

It gave the home team some impetus and again, the ref allowed some dubious challenges to go Watford’s way. Isaac Success came on and played with two hands in Spurs players’ chests, but Janmaat’s right wing cross caused a bit of panic, before Spurs cleared the ball away. When a corner came in, Dembele turned his back as Craig Cathcart headed in without having to leave the ground and put Watford ahead. It was weak defending again and Watford didn’t really look like scoring from anything other than a dead ball situation.

The goal came at a time when Spurs were dropping deep and with the slow build up, Watford were not testing Watford enough. With ten minutes left, Llorente came on for Toby, as Pochettino reverted to a back four and pushed Kane, Moura and Llorente up top. A few passes opened up a shooting chance for Eriksen, who, again, found Foster behind it, then Christian produced a great diagonal ball to Jan, whose first time ball towards goal was near Llorente, but the sub couldn’t get a
toe on it, when he looked favourite to reach it.  Spurs introduced Winks for Dembele and his first involvement was telling, with a sweeping ball out to Trippier, whose cross picked out Harry Kane, but even though he got under it and it skimmed over the bar. There was five minutes of added time, but it didn’t look like we would get anything from the game. Watford pinned the ball in the corner and kept it there, with a minute for each free-kick they were given to run time down effectively.  Winks put in a long run which Chalobah couldn’t keep up with or even reach the sub to foul him, but Rose was fouled and a last chance from a free-kick came from the left hand corner of the Watford box. It was headed away for a corner, which another sub, Danny Rose belted over the bar on the volley.

So, it was Watford who kept their 100% record and probably deserved it on their second half performance. Not that they were great, but in the end, we were bullied out of the game. Not just by the referee’s allowance for the physical approach, but not being strong enough to face up to the home team. Pochettino went with a side that would be strong in the air and that was where both of Watford’s goals came from.  For all Dembele's excellent work against Man U he was not influential today and got caught on the ball, as teams are now closing him down quickly, Eriksen and Trippier's crossing was failing to find Spurs shirts and Dele worked hard, but was not hurting Watford as he has done in the past.

There were few chances coming our way, but enough to have wrapped the game up with better finishing. A loss had to happen sooner or later, but coming after the win at Old Trafford, it might be regarded as a bit too much like the old Spurs. Watford were nothing special and were not a problem t o Michel Vorm in the first half, but after Spurs took the lead they upped their game and we didn’t up ours. We need to get up for the next game, after the international break, as Liverpool come to Wembley with 12 points out of 12. A win would put us level with them, but a defeat puts us off the pace. Sonny will be back by then and raring to go, which will hopefully boost the side.

Barry Levington

Match facts

Christian Kabasele played his 200th career match.

Played his 50th Watford game.

This was Watford's first Premier League win over Spurs.



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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Fulham 2 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Bournemouth 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 0 Southampton 2 Saturday
Everton 1 Huddersfield Town 1 Saturday
Leicester City 1 Liverpool 2 Saturday
Manchester City 2 Newcastle United 1 Saturday
West Ham United London 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Cardiff City 2 Arsenal 3 Sunday
Burnley 0 Manchester United 2 Sunday




League Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 4 4 0 0 9 1 12 +8
2 Chelsea 4 4 0 0 10 3 12 +7
3 Watford 4 4 0 0 9 3 12 +6
4 Manchester City 4 3 1 0 11 3 10 +8
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 3 0 1 9 4 9 +5
6 Leicester City 4 3 0 1 8 6 9 +2
7 Bournemouth 4 2 1 1 6 5 7 +1
8 Everton 4 1 3 0 7 6 6 +1
9 Arsenal 4 2 0 2 8 8 6 0
10 Manchester United 4 2 0 2 6 7 6 -1
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 1 2 1 4 5 5 -1
12 Southampton 4 1 1 2 4 4 4 0
13 Fulham 4 1 1 2 7 9 4 -2
14 Brighton & Hove Albion 4 1 1 2 5 7 4 -2
15 Crystal Palace 4 1 0 3 3 6 3 -3
16 Cardiff City 4 0 2 2 2 5 2 -3
17 Huddersfield Town 4 0 2 2 2 10 2 -8
18 Newcastle United 4 0 1 3 3 6 1 -3
19 Burnley 4 0 1 3 3 9 1 -6
20 West Ham United London 4 0 0 4 2 10 0 -8


Position before match :  4th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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