|DATE||Saturday 19th October 2019|
So, what a match we have in prospect ! A team who are bottom
of the table without a win and a team in "crisis" after losing two
game son the trot.
Spurs fans of long standing will not regard the situation that the team find themselves in at the moment as a "crisis". From social media, I understand that Eric Dier might not be everyone's cup of tea, but his comment about the progress that the team have made in reaching a pint where this is regarded as a "crisis" has been steady under Pochettino and while it's not great to lose, the expectation that has been created is now a rod for their own back.
Watford have already swapped manager without a second thought and bringing back Quique Sanchez Flores is a brave move and some might see it as a backwards one. There is little doubt that Javi Gracia was struggling and that was probably not helped by the lack of quality recruitment in the summer. Free agent Danny Welbeck and a club record fee for Rennes striker Ismaili Sarr were players in an area where the Hornets were pretty well-stocked with options, but the defence needed shoring up, with only the WBA defender Craig Dawson arriving.
The defence has remained pretty static for a few years now and by that I mean the players have been at the club for a while, although their lack of movement on the pitch has been showing lately. Janmaat, Holebas, Mariappa, Prodl, Cathcart and Kabasele are all getting on a bit and Dawson comes in at 29. The experience should be there, but is the hunger and fitness ?
A similar problem runs through the team. Sarr is a 21 year old, bought for the future, but with a decent record in France, but Cleverley, Welbeck, Gray, Pereyra, Deeney, Capoue, Fermenia and Zeegelaar are all at the top end of their 20s or into their 30s. The smattering of younger players don't really get a regular run apart from Will Hughes, but even he has seemed to be about for a long time, having started at 16 at Derby County. Isaac Success is in and out of the side, but despite his strength on the ball, he is mainly out; Dominigos Quina was let go by West Ham and has feature din only a handful of games in the season and a bit he has been at Vicarage Road; Nathaniel Chalobah had to leave Chelsea to get first team football and is another who gets few chances in the first team at Watford since he joined in 2017 and Abdoulaye Doucoure has won admirers in midfield with a more permanent place in the side but he is 26 now.
Watford have relied on their fighting spirit and in taking points off the teams around them to stay afloat in the top flight. They do spring the odd surprise against the top sides, but the chop and change of managers being the board's preferred method of keeping things fresh might just have the opposite effect. It no doubt keeps things fresh in training, with new managers bringing new ideas - a finger now pointed at Poch having been with Spurs for five years - but does it bring stability, knowing how you are going to be playing from one season to the next ?Watford are the model for a lot of clubs in terms of managing their finances, but there seem to be few players coming through their once prolific youth system to add to the squad. This means they have to rely on the skills that their experienced players possess and hope that their legs will carry them through.
Flores will have the side well-drilled and will have had the bulk of his squad available during the international break, which Pochettino will not have been afforded. Both sides have something to prove and for Tottenham, they have to be solid and earn the right to play their game. The Palace game was a shining example of how they should go about it. Pressing high, shifting the ball quickly and getting behind the ball when out of possession. Most of these things were behind the club's most successful periods and everyone needs to dig in.
It is a shame that Sonny was away on international duty and won't likely start after a long journey home, but some players didn't play all the games, so should not be too tired, although Eriksen picked up a dead leg in action for Denmark. I think that Mauricio might leave him out of this match and restore Dele at a starting position, with Lucas in midfield behind Harry Kane to trouble the Watford back four with his pace. Right-back still is a problem, so, hopefully, Juan Foyth is hopefully fit to start and maybe the diamond formation in midfield will be sacrificed for a more tried and trusted formation.
It's not an easy one to call, as it depends how each team plays on
the day, but I take Spurs to overcome Watford and take the points.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 3 Watford 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon are back in training, but it might be too early to be selected for the match with Watford.
WATFORD TEAM NEWS :
Watford will face Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium without Sebastian Prodl, Etienne Capoue, Isaac Success and Troy Deeney, all out injured.
|Premier League||Kick off 15.00|
|Tottenham Hotspur 1 (0)||
Dele 85m 28s
Doucoure 05m 54s
Sanchez (foul on Pereyra) 13
Sissoko (foul on Deulofeu) 77
Rose (foul on Hughes) 89
Dele (confrontation with Holebas) 90
Pereyra (failing to leave pitch when injured) 84
Femenia (foul on Rose) 88
Holebas (confrontation with Dele) 90
|Crowd : 58,754||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Chris Kavanagh (Greater Manchester)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Daniel Cook; Mrs. Massey-Ellis|
|Fourth Official : Gavin Ward|
|Video Assistant Referee : John Brooks||VAR Assistant Referee : Lee Betts|
|Watford kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 10 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Watford :||kit|
10 Harry KANE (c)
2 Daryl JANMAAT
(21 Kiko FEMENIA
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Quique Sanchez Flores|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Sportsbet.io|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : adidas|
An afternoon of an early goal and a late goal, VAR nonsense and two struggling teams in between saw the sun shine down on Tottenham, as a draw diverts the "crisis" focus back onto Westminster and leave Spurs a little breathing room before the next media inquest with this draw against a poor Watford side.
Spurs had a bit of luck for a change so far this season, with the Hertfordshire side lacking a killer instinct that could have seen them three or four goals ahead before Tottenham even thought about getting back into the match. Playing effectively on the break after getting many men back behind the ball for the majority of the game, they looked as good as last season when they played this way, using Deulofeu's pace and only the poorest of finishing let Spurs off the hook. Conversely, substitutions by Pochettino in bringing on Son, Ndombele and Lamela added a freshness to the attack and the lumbering moves of the first half were quickened up and allowed some pressure to be built on the Watford goal that paid off with Ben Foster going into melt-down, which was a surprise as he had seemed so laid-back for most of the preceding 85 minutes.
Surprisingly, Tottenham went into the game with the same back four as at Brighton plus Davinson Sanchez, effectively three centre-halves freeing up Rose and Aurier to push forward. With Lucas in midfield, alongside Dele, Poch looked to utilise his pace against a fragile Watford defence, but it didn't pan out like that.
Ex-Gooner Welbeck was roundly derided when he had a poor early touch of the ball, went down with embarrassment and didn't get up again. Injury prone at the Emirates, he was released and found a new home not far from home at Watford, where he is rapidly becoming the equal of Wilshere at West Ham. Subbed, Deulofeu was introduced and within a minute, Watford were ahead. A long diagonal ball caught out Danny Rose, with the ball going over his head for Janmaat to take it on and put in an early low cross into the box, where Doucoure arrived to shoot past Gazzaniga from ten yards out, thus giving Spurs just the start they didn't need. It was a preventable goal, with Rose losing his bearings and nobody tracked Doucoure coming in from the left.
So, 0-1 down early on and a mountain to climb when the side isn't playing well. Not a great situation to be in and the lack of movement off the ball, sloppiness in passing or hitting the opposition with the passes. all hindered any creativity and Spurs struggled to make any meaningful chances. We worked the ball into wide positions, with the middle of the pitch being heavily congested, but the balls into the box were poor; either over-hit or under-hit. Sanchez became the first Spurs player booked when he was over-eager to win the ball and tackled Pereyra from behind. No argument there, but why then did Kavanagh not do the same when Watford's players went through ours / it was one aspect of a bizarre afternoon's refereeing that ended with a lot of confusion at the end of the match.
From a Spurs corner in the 16th minute, we had our first shot, when the ball fell for Moura, who showed quick feet to get the ball into a shooting position, but it hit a defender and went out for another corner. Taken on our right, it went short to Rose, who turned in the box, tight to the line, only to clash with Pereyra. Claims for a penalty went to VAR, which was turned down. It didn't look like a penalty, but, watching replays, the Uruguayan forward appeared to put two hands on Rose to push him down. Our first shot on target came with 22 minutes on the clock. with Lucas passing to Dele and his low 20-yard effort did trouble Foster too much, as he flopped to his left.
Spurs pressing game wasn't getting going today and Doucoure got away down the left and his ball across the box thankfully didn't find a navy blue shirt. With all of Watford's kits this season ,they were allowed to play in an all navy blue kit., which clashed with Tottenham's shorts. it appears that commercialism takes precedence over long-established football practices, but then enforcing the laws of the game seem to have gone by the board too. The referee's failure to punish the time wasting that stared around this time. We were taking a sweep-stake on which minute beyond 80 that he would book a Watford player for running the clock down.
They say that things even themselves out over the course of the season. We didn't have to wait that long today, with VAR ruling that Jan Vertonghen's long sliding tackle as Deulofeu ran towards the dead ball line wasn't a penalty in the 38th minute. It looked like Jan didn't get the ball and the only question was whether the glove and tights wearing substitute had gone down looking for it.
Toby Alderweireld picked out a Tottenham head with a cross from the right at last and Lucas got on the end of it, but he was stretching for it and it went over. Watford fans were having fun in the sun, with their section bathed in bright sunshine and their team leading, with the Spurs crowd occasionally getting behind the team. When the teams left the field, the home fans booed Spurs off and it is an unnecessary hindrance to any sort of recovery we might have wanted, with football reporters ready to lap up that reaction to make the "crisis" even deeper.
Son was called back to the dressing room early in the half-time warm up and at the restart it was Sanchez who made way for the striker who went into the right wide position and started to run at the Watford defence. Dele was having trouble finding space. Every time he received the ball and he did make himself available to take passes, he found two or three men around him, forcing him to try and lay the ball off first time, with the ball mostly hitting one of the blue shirts near him. He did pick out a pass through the Watford defence for Son in the box, where he took the ball outside Janmaat and fired an early shot that bounced off the bar for a throw-in with Foster nowhere near it. A goal five minutes after the break could have made the match very different.
Spurs were sloppy with their passing and were caught on the break. Deulofeu went away on the right almost straight after Son's shot and squared the ball to his left for Pereyra right in front of goal, with Gazzaniga trying to recover his position. Only a fine recovery block by the much criticised Serge Aurier took the ball wide and prevented a certain goal. The game was getting a bit stretched and Son ran into the box, where he was tackled by Janmaat and left on the floor, but any appeal for a penalty was waved away by the referee. Watford wee getting rattled and when Harry Winks, who played well trying to drive Tottenham forward, burst through the middle and Foster ran out to clear the ball outside his area, but only succeeded in crashing it against Dawson. Luckily for the hapless Watford keeper, the ball went out for a throw-in.
Sissoko was strong in midfield and was on hand to tidy up, when Doucoure took the ball from Aurier when it got stuck under his feet, but when the visitors broke away again, Deulofeu went up the right and had three team-mates with only two defenders between them and goal. His pass inside to Janmaat but eh stumbled over the ball and failed to shoot. Deulofeu then tried to bend a shot on goal, but put it wide before Pochettino brought off Moura, with Lamela coming on. From his first touch Erik looked positive and wanted to get at the Watford back-line. But the Hornets were still going forward and their record after this game of five goals from 90 chances created shows why they are bottom of the table. Doucoure got into a good position, then fired wide from outside the box.
Tottenham were not getting the run of the ball. When a Winks ball into the box hit Dawson's heel, it could have gone anywhere. Except it didn't fall in front of Kane and the ball was out out for a corner. That produced another one, from which Watford broke after a poor touch and only a pass off the pitch stopped them getting in on the Spurs goal again. Winks was replaced as Pochettino made his last change, bringing on Ndombele and his side sway produced a bit of space to play Aurier in on the right wing, with his resulting crosscut out by Kabasele's header as Kane lurked behind him. Then Cathcart got in just before Dele looked to get onto Son's low cross into the middle of the goalmouth as Spurs started to put the Watford defence to the test. A couple more corners failed to produce much more than a blocked Kane shot, but the ball then broke for Watford and they put Deulofeu away, only for Sissoko to bring him down on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, earning him a yellow card. Spurs almost handed the away side another goal when Gazzaniga put a poor clearance from the right side of his box straight to Kabasele and he fed Deulofeu, who was brought down and a free-kick given outside the area again. This time it was straight at Paulo and then Spurs were on the attack again, winning three quick corners, which were delivered into good areas, but no Spurs player was there to get on the end of them.
Dele and Danny Rose worked a neat move on the left corner of the Watford box, but Kabasele broke it up. When play went up to the Spurs end, Pereyra went down and the referee told him to leave the pitch, as he was looking to waste time and the booking for the offence finally came in the 84th minute ... most surprisingly not for Foster, who the referee tolerated by waving him to take a goal-kick almost every time without any perceptible effect on the time it took the keeper to take it. He still didn't leave the pitch, finally doing so when he was substituted.
Just when it was looking like it would never happen for Spurs and my son saying that Watford were the biggest danger to their own goal, so it proved. Alderweiereld's ball into the penalty spot was headed away by Chalobah as Kane was close by, but it only went up in the air and Foster rushed headlong into Femina with only a flappy hand getting to the ball. It dropped to his right and Dele was there to take the ball on his shoulder and as it dropped, he showed good technique in hooking his foot round the ball from wide of the goal to put it into the net past two defenders on the line. He took it really well and although he hadn't had the greatest success, he kept going and for that we must be grateful. Grateful too that the odious Foster paid for his gamesmanship by being directly responsible for the goal. Five minutes from the end and it was only our second shot on target.
We all celebrated ... but wait. The referee had his finger to his ear, the sure sign that is his a big fan of folk music. No, he was actually listening the the voices in his head (which might have explained his weird performance). VAR was in the house (again). Set up to improve decision making, the Video Review system is being uncovered as the shambles it is. After seemingly an age for any suspicion of handball in the goal, it was deemed to have hit Dele's shoulder and so the fans cheered again and the players set up for the kick-off. Except that wasn't the end of it ! Watford players once more (for about the third or fourth time in the match, which I thought was out-lawed) to point at the big screens that had a message spelling out in big letters "NO GOAL" ! Dele looked aghast, the fans began to boo, while the away section jumped up and down in joy, only for their chips to be pissed on as the message came through on the referee's ear-piece to confirm that it was a real goal and then the screen caught up as some numpty 40 miles away had pressed the wrong button to throw almost everyone into frantic confusion.
So, the best part of two minutes after the ball had crossed the line, Spurs were level and they set about trying to earn an undeserved win by going for a second. Both sides swapped yellow cards twice and Ndombele had a shot blocked, Lamela hit a free-kick into the wall after Dele had been bundled over again, Aurier's cross was fired at goal but was blocked and Rose put a ball across goal that Dawson cleared.
It was a frenetic ending to the game and if Spurs had played with that intensity of the last quarter of an hour for the majority of the game, they would have come out of the match with three points. As it was, they were fortunate that Watford were crap and couldn't finish off the breaks they had otherwise we might have been looking at another Brighton score-line. How this will shape up next week at Liverpool, I hate to think.
The passing for most of the game and the movement for most of the first half was not good enough. Players were looking exasperated as they had no options of finding someone to give it to and no runs were being made until after the break when Son and then Lamela quickened things up. If they can perform like they did at the end, they have a chance of turning things around, but the loose passing gave Watford the opportunity to break on us and to do so against a better side will end badly.
A pint, but it's a start and hopefully something to build on. When Lo Celso and Sessegnon are fit it might produce an impetus in the team that look creatively barren in the first 45 minutes. We can but hope.
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|How the players did|
|Paulo Gazzaniga||Didn't have much chance with the goal and not a lot to do otherwise. Confident in his passing out form the back and made one howler that if it had been pinged back at goal from 40 yards might well have found him out of position.|
|Serge Aurier||Despite coming in for a lot of criticism lately, he had a solid game. Won a lot in the air, did lose the ball in a dangerous position once, but made a goal-saving intervention to stop Watford going 2-0 ahead.|
|Toby Alderweireld||Played well, but when he had the ball was unable to play too many decisive diagonal balls because of the lack of movement. Did play the ball in that led to the goal though.|
|Jan Vertonghen||Played OK without standing out.|
|Davinson Sanchez||Did OK. Booked for tackle on Pereyra that others got away with and subbed at half-time to revert to a flat back four.|
|Danny Rose||Poor touches today took the ball too far away from him and looked off the pace. Will probably be rested on Tuesday in the Champions League.|
|Harry Winks||Ready to receive the ball and keep the ball moving. Had a couple of dodgy moments before being substituted leaving the ball for Dele and letting Doucoure have a shot and then mis-controlling the ball allowing Watford to keep the pressure on.|
|Moussa Sissoko||Another solid game, putting in lots of running and some important interceptions. Looked to move forward with the bal when he had the opportunity.|
|Lucas Moura||Had a couple of runs with the ball, but it was so congested, he couldn't find a lot of space to operate in.|
|Dele Alli||Looked off the pace a little bit and was crowded out, but kept trying to get into attacking positions, which paid off when he was in the right place for the goal.|
|Harry Kane||A quiet game and few chances, as service to him wasn't great. Didn't show much leadership as captain when things weren't going well.|
|Tanguy Ndombele||Not a lot of time to make an impact, but helped move the ball better when he came on.|
|Heung-Min Son||Looked to run at the defence and was unlucky with his shot that hit the bar.|
|Erik Lamela||Livened things up when he came on and was effective in worrying the Watford defence.|
|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||2||Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Saturday|
|Crystal Palace||0||Manchester City||2||Saturday|
|Everton||2||West Ham United London||0||Saturday|
|League Table 2019-20|
|4||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||9||5||2||2||19||14||17||+5|
|11||West Ham United London||9||3||3||3||11||13||12||-2|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion||9||2||3||4||9||12||9||-3|
before match : 9th
Position after match : 7th
Position after the weekend : 7th
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