|OPPONENTS||Watford at Vicarage Road|
|DATE||Saturday 18th January 2019|
With Watford hitting a bit of form under new manager Nigel Pearson,
who has been brought in to save them from relegation, it is an
intriguing meeting at Vicarage Road, with Spurs still finding their
feet amid the arrival of Jose Mourinho and with injuries to key
players affecting team selection. How the two teams fare
against each other, with Spurs looking comfortable, but struggling
to get past Middlesbrough in the FA Cup and Watford spared a slog
through the mud at Tranmere by a postponement giving them a free
week to prepare.
Pearson has turned around the fortunes of the Hertfordshire club since he took over and it has come from good old fashioned organisation and restoring some of the regulars to the team. Some have been forced on him as a result of injuries within the squad, but with relatively new signing Ismaila Saar teaming up with Deulofeu and Troy Deeney up front, they have added a scoring threat that had been missing and has resulted with the Hornets only having scored 20 goals in 22 games.
With the back four of Watford have been tight since Pearson's take-over, but when you look at them on paper, there should be nothing to worry the Spurs forwards. Mariappa, Cathcart, Dawson and Masina would not shout clean sheets at you, but the manager's work with them and the midfield in front of them has formed a well-drilled defence to make them hard to get past. Chalobah and Capoue are both leggy, but effective in breaking up play. Doucoure has been freed from an anchor-man role to take up positions further forward and it has seen him create and take goals now.
Such has been the buy-in to the manager's tactics that Uruguayan Roberto Pereyra and former regular Jose Holebas have been stuck on the bench, along with forwards Andre Gray and Isaac Success. Injuries within the squad have robber Pearson of some of the more experienced players and with a potential of four games in nine days, it will be interesting to see how the team utilises rotation ,although he has said that the FA Cup is not a priority.
For Spurs, they need to take the momentum of the win over Boro into this match and to realise that the key to it was the way they set about going at the opposition form the start at a quick tempo. Fizzing passes about and moving well of the ball would give Watford some problems they might not have faced lately. They have beaten Manchester United at Vicarage Road and last time out, they took the points 3-0 at Bournemouth.
They are not to be
under-estimated and the wide men Saar and Deulofeu need to be
contained to prevent the ball coming in for Deeney, who will make
his presence felt in the middle. Using Lo Celso and Lamela,
Spurs can stretch Watford by running at them with the ball on the
floor. There is no point humping the ball forward in the air,
as Mariappa and Cathcart will eat that up all afternoon. Keep
it on the turf and make sure there is an option to lay the ball off
to, while moving to receive the next pass. It's not rocket
science and Spurs have been doing it through the Rowe, Nicholson and
Pochettino eras. So, if Spurs can build up a bit of pass and
move in their play, while not losing sight of the ability Watford
have to attack them, then they cold come out of the day with a smile
on their faces.
|PREDICTION||Watford 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS : -
Spurs have injury victims Hugo Lloris (elbow), Ben Davies (ankle), Moussa Sissoko (knee), Harry Kane (hamstring) and Tanguy Ndombele (hip) still unavailable. Midfielder Gedson Fernandes could be available for selection after signing on an 18 month loan deal from Benfica.
WATFORD TEAM NEWS
|Premier League||Kick off 12:30|
Tottenham Hotspur 0 (0)
|Crowd : 21,366||Weather : Sunny, cold|
|Referee : Michael Oliver (Northumberland)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Simon Bennett; Mr. Stuart Burt|
|Fourth Official : Tim Robinson|
|Video Assistant Referee : Kevin Friend||Video Assistant Referee Assistant : Stephen Child|
|Watford kicked off and played towards the Rookery stand end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 8 minutes.|
Capoue (foul on Lo Celso) 35
Doucoure (handbags with Winks) 61
Tanganga (foul on Sarr) 19
Winks (handbags with Doucoure) 61
Vertonghen (handball) 69
|Watford :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
|Manager : Nigel Pearson||Manager : Jose Mourinho|
|Sponsor : sportsbet.io||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Nike|
The visit to Vicarage Road on a sunny, but chilly January lunch-time should have brought more than the one point we returned home with, but without a recognised forward leading the line, the finishing was as off-target as the use of VAR in this goal-less draw. And that was with Watford being handed a penalty by Vertonghen's flailing arm, but even that was spurned on a day when shooting boots were well and truly left at home by both sides.
Capoue started as he meant to go on by hauling back Lucas Moura in the first minute as he dragged the ball away from him. An early dinked ball into the Watford area saw claims for a handball, but Deulofeu broke away to the Spurs penalty area and shot wide as no penalty had been given at the other end despite the ball clearly hitting Cathcart’s outstretched arm (a la Sissoko in the Champions League final). Son hit a weak shot to Foster as Spurs played their football in the Watford half in the first five minutes, as Aurier won a corner and then won the ball when it was punched out, allowing Lamela to have a run from right to left, but he pulled his shot across goal and wide.
Watford were sitting deep and were probably looking to use Deulofeu’s pace on the break. While Spurs were comfortably controlling possession, Watford were getting lots of people back to stop Tottenham coning through the middle and the crosses that came in were more likely to be won by the home players. It took 17 minutes for Watford to break out and Winks had the ball taken off him on their left wing and it came into the middle, but Sarr could only fire it high and wide. It gave them a little boost and Deeney won a free-kick, very central and 35 yards out, but they couldn’t make anything of it. A minute later and they had one on the edge of the box on the Watford right when Tanganga pulled down Sarr and got a yellow card for the foul. Chalobah tried to- beat Gazzaniga at his near post but put the ball into the Hornets’ fans behind the goal, missing it by a long way.
Watford started to get back into the game and were further forward than in the first quarter of an hour. Both sides went through a phase of giving the ball away, before some neat close footwork saw Son and Dele set up a shot for Moura, but Dawson blocked it at close range. Capoue raised his studs and caught Tanganga on the knee, but surprisingly, VAR deemed that it was nothing. The inconsistency shouldn’t be surprising when you know referees are judging this in a studio, but they are supposed to be getting these decisions right. It then brought about a long break in play while the referee had to have his mic changed, which took over three minutes.
When played restarted with a
Spurs free-kick, they worked the ball forward to Dele, who passed to
Son. His shot on goal was deflected and Foster had to dive to grab
the ball to his right. Sarr beat Japhet and put in a low ball that
Deeney couldn’t make a connection with and when it went to the far
post Deulofeu took on Aurier, but Serge blocked it out for a corner.
Gazzaniga had to palm away a deep cross and then, the be-tighted
Deulofeu won a free-kick, but Tanganga headed it well clear. Capoue
finally got his booking when he cynically brought own Giovani Lo
Celso when he broke away and when Aurier cleared a long throw, Dele
took the ball with a back-hell that put the ball in front of him to
run into the Watford half. He laid it out to Lucas on his right in
the area and his shot was blocked as Foster came out to meet him.
Dele was making some good moves but was also letting the ball run
out of his reach when running with it and making loose short passes.
It was a long pass that almost opened up Watford, when Winks played
a diagonal ball left from halfway to pick out Son’s run and he chose
to strike it first time on the volley, but he couldn’t keep it down.
In the first minute of the second half, Tanganga was left unprotected with Sarr running at him, and he put the ball to Doucoure who go a favourable bounce in the box, but he could only shoot into the side-netting. A long ball into the spurs box was headed up in the air by Deeney and Lo Celso’s presence put Sarr off as he totally missed his kick when it looked likely that he might score. Sarr took on Japhet again, who looked uncomfortable at left back, but Dele covered and blocked the cross at the cost of a corner. From that, Tottenham broke away and Son’s cross in was just too high for Dele to get over to head on target.
Deeney managed a shot that was deflected by off Toby Alderweireld after the Hornets captain got the bounce of the ball. Deeney then conned the referee into giving him a free-kick when he went down so softly, with Toby behind him but not holding onto him. The lack of control by the referee caused a ruck when he failed to spot a foul by Doucoure on Winks and a lot of players were involved, leaving VAR to sort it out and no red card ensued, but yellows for both players. . When it was sorted out, Spurs broke away and Lamela’s ball to Dele was left, as he was well offside and Son chased it down, as the Watford defence hesitated and flashed a shot just over the bar from a tight angle on the right. Lucas turned away from three men in a tight position and ran forward before laying it off to Lamela, whose right foot shot was scuffed, but went off a defender for a corner.
When the ball was pulled back from the right wing, Doucoure shot after Winks slipped and as Vertonghen and Lo Celso slid it, it hit Jan’s arm that was away from his body but with his back to the shot. VAR looked at it and confirmed the spot-kick, with Deeney stepping up to take it. He struck it to Gazzaniga’s right but it was too close to him and a couple of feet off the floor that saw Paulo dive the right way and push it well away from goal. It was quite a surprise that VAR didn’t order a re-take for encroachment, but play went on, with Watford putting pressure on the Spurs defence. Jose brought Eriksen on for Dele and his first action was a shot at goal that came off a defender for a corner that he took, but put straight into Foster’s hands. With just over 10 minutes left, Gedson Fernandes came on for his debut as a sub for Lo Celso. The referee did play a good advantage, when Deulofeu almost kicked Alderweireld in the head and then Masina brought down Lamela, but the game was allowed to continue. The ball got played out left to Gedson, who pulled it across the six-yard box to cut out the keeper, but there was no Spurs shirt in support to get on the end of it.
Tanganga made a good
interception on the edge of his own box when Deeney tried to move
the ball on and played it forward, with Moura getting the bounce of
the ball. It was worked across the field to the left and Aurier put
in a fierce low ball to the near post, where Lamela got a touch and
Foster was down to block it. Erik then fired a shot over the bar
from 20 yards out, then in added time, he nudged the ball on for
Aurier to have a shot blocked and then got the ball across for
Lamela to squirt the ball past Foster, but having just come on,
Watford sub Pussetto kicked the ball away millimetres before the
whole of the ball crossed the line. It was so close to a goal. And
that was the last chance.
It bring on another important match on Wednesday against Norwich. Not a must win, but a victory will give the team confidence ahead of the FA Cup tie at Southampton and then the home match with Manchester City. We will need it !
Tottenham's first 0-0 Premier League draw after 93 games.
This was the first away
clean sheet Spurs had kept for 382 days (Cardiff City 01.01.2019).
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|Match programme sponsors||-|
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|How the players did|
|Paulo Gazzaniga||Little work to do apart from save a penalty ! A long awaited clean sheet had been well earned with the save from Deeney.|
|Serge Aurier||Did well and looked to get into attacking positions, although the majority of his crosses failed to find a Spurs man.|
|Toby Alderweireld||Tough afternoon with Deeney giving him a roughing up, but managed to win the ball fairly most times.|
|Jan Vertonghen||Looked a little rattled in the middle of the defence but unfortunate to give away the penalty. Got involve din the face-off with Doucoure, as a captain should do.|
|Japhet Tanganga||Given a torrid afternoon by the pacy Sarr. Got an early yellow card and kept going, even though he was played out of his usual right back position.|
|Harry Winks||Battled away and tried to kick start some forward moves, but most notably got booked for a row with Doucoure.|
|Dele Alli||Ran to close down energetically and moved well into space, but some passing was off-target and .|
|Giovani Lo Celso||Looked good again despite Capoue taking out a contract on him. Faded in the second half, but looks like he will be a capable replacement for Eriksen.|
|Erik Lamela||Tried to open up the massed Watford defence with runs and passes. Only just failed (by 10mm) to force the ball over the line at the end.|
|Heung-Min Son||Looked Tottenham's most likely to score, but his best chance - a volley from Winks' long pass - was flashed over the bar.|
|Lucas Moura||Worked hard to battle through on runs with the ball and closing down defenders.|
|Gedson Fernandes||Had ten minutes and showed that he could be a useful player. Confident on the ball and showing good movement off it, Gedson might be a shrewd signing.|
|Christian Eriksen||Looked a bit more engaged than the Middlesbrough game, but little time to make too much of a difference in the match.|
|What you thought|
VAR is becoming a little bit of a joke. A studs up challenge was
judged as nothing to worry about when other players seemingly get
sent off for less, while between four officials and some more in NW
London, they couldn’t even get a factual issue like the amount of
time taken to change the referee’s equipment right.
Why bother with it, as it seems to cause even more controversy trying to get decisions “right” than
when the referee on the field used to have to make the decisions.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Woolwich Wanderers||1||Sheffield United||1||Saturday|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Aston Villa||1||Saturday|
|Manchester City||2||Crystal Palace||2||Saturday|
|Norwich City||1||AFC Bournemouth||0||Saturday|
|South Coast Big Club||2||Wolverhampton Wanderers||3||Saturday|
|West Ham United London||1||Everton||1||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||1||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||0||Saturday|
|League Table 2019-20|
|4||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||23||12||3||9||39||30||39||+9|
|13||South Coast Big Club||23||8||4||11||29||42||28||-13|
|15||Brighton & Hove Albion||23||6||7||10||26||31||25||-5|
|16||West Ham United London||22||6||5||11||26||34||23||-8|
Position before match :
Position after match : 8th
Position after the weekend : 8th
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