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Spurs v Watford, 30.01.19


Spurs scorers:-
Son, 80
Llorente, 87

Watford scorer:-
Cathcart, 38

Attendance:- 29,164

Referee:- Graham Scott
Assistants:- Stuart Burt, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth official:- Kevin Friend

Spurs (3-4-1-2):- Lloris (Capt.); Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen (sub Lamela, 79); Aurier (sub Lucas Moura, 46), Sissoko (sub Trippier, 69), Winks, Rose; Eriksen; Son, Llorente

Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Walker-Peters; Dier, Skipp

No bookings:-

Watford (4-2-3-1):- Foster; Janmaat, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas; Cleverley (sub Wilmot, 66), Capoue; Deulofeu (sub Success, 61), Hughes, Pereyra; Deeney (Capt.)

Subs not used:- Gomes; Britos, Masina; Quina, Sema

Booked:- Mariappa (foul on Lucas Moura), Capoue (foul on Lucas Moura), Holebas (foul on Son), Success (unsporting conduct)

Two late heroes turn it round for Tottenham!

Wembley was sparse for this game against Watford

The much maligned Fernando Llorente might be the unlikely hero for Spurs with his 87th minute winner, but another hero for Spurs was Son Heung-min, returning from his stint in the Asian Cup. Son gave an energetic and effective performance for Spurs, and put them on their way to victory with an 80th minute equaliser. Until then, as much as Spurs dominated the second half, it looked as if Watford might achieve a rare league “double” over Spurs, who were at risk of losing a third consecutive game, and a third consecutive “home” Premier League game. Only 29,164 turned up at Wembley to watch Spurs, and that included a full contingent of Watford fans. Spurs fans can’t be bothered with the trek to Wembley any more, which is a shame because we have three more “home” games to come in the next two weeks.

Surprisingly (to this observer), Mauricio Pochettino chose to play three at the back, and it is interesting to record that both our goals came after he decided to revert to a four, replacing Jan Vertonghen with Erik Lamela. Spurs scored almost immediately, and of course got that late winner. Playing with three did enable either Jan Vertonghen or Toby Alderweireld to advance at times, but between them they also negated the threat of both Deulofeu and Pereyra for Watford, who did have some early advances upon the Spurs goal, but little threat.

The match was preceded by silent reflection for the tragedy of Cardiff signing Emiliano Sala, and his pilot, whose plane disappeared crossing the channel last week, an d which still has not been found.

Spurs kicked off and played towards the East Stand. Son pushed the ball out to Aurier on the right and Watford failed to defend the cross well, but it only ran to goalkeeper Ben Foster anyway. Son then got into the Watford area towards the right-hand side, but this time he was stopped. After 8 minutes, Son received from Sissoko and moved first to his right then turned and hit a left foot shot just wide of Foster’s right post. Eriksen tried to put in Llorente, but Foster read the situation and was first to the ball.

After 14 minutes, Vertonghen got forward deep on the left, passing to Sissoko who fed Eriksen. Eriksen’s shot took a deflection but was well saved by Foster. Llorente fielded an Alderweireld cross and Son tried to take the ball on, but Foster was there first again.

Hughes cut the ball back for Watford right back Janmaat, who had a shot blocked before Deeney put the final effort wide. Llorente dealt with a rare long clearance by Lloris, sending the ball down the middle for Son, but again Foster was alert to the threat. Llorente tried to reach an Aurier cross, but Foster retrieved the ball. Watford countered and the move ended with a Deulofeu shot going wide of Lloris’s right post. Son had another shot, after receiving a Sissoko pass, but Foster held the shot.

Watford now won a couple of corners and scored from the second of these, taken from the left. Lloris was caught in no man’s land and Cathcart’s header took a deflection (off Sanchez, I think) and gently crossed the line. Watford had caught Spurs out again from a set piece, as they did at Vicarage Rod twice in our September defeat.

Now Foster, as he has so many times before, would irritate Spurs fans with his persistent use of time to slow down the game. The Watford defence would also frustrate the often slow Tottenham attack. Our playmaker Eriksen was present, but he wasn’t doing much of what he is renowned for although he did give Son a chance before the break, with Son firing wide across the goal.

Spurs were commemorating the great Bill Nicholson, who would have been 100 last Saturday, and Pat Jennings and Martin Chivers were among those interviewed pitch side. I am sure Cliff Jones was with them too, but I missed some of this event.

Pochettino replaced Aurier with Lucas Moura at half-time and Sissoko took on the right wing-back berth. Lucas Moura had an immediate impact drawing a foul from Mariappa, who was shown the first yellow card of the game by referee Graham Scott. Eriksen hit a long ball to Danny Rose, but his cross was easy for Foster.

Son made a run after 52 minutes, reaching the Watford area, passing back to Sissoko who crossed to Llorente. Llorente’s first effort was saved by Foster but only parried to the striker, who managed to scoop his follow-up over the bar. Spurs fans groaned. The referee had words with the Watford captain Troy Deeney, clearly indicating that Foster should speed up, but I don’t think this had any great effect. Lucas Moura just about reached a ball by Toby Alderweireld, but could not get quite the right touch.

Lucas Moura was fouled again and Eriksen took the free kick from out on the left. Toby Alderweireld got a touch at the near post, which Foster saved. Llorente followed up but headed wide of the same post. Wembley groaned again. It was all beginning to look a bit “Spursy”.

Lucas Moura went down in the box, but there was no penalty decision. Danny Rose had a shot saved, and the attempted Spurs follow-up came to nought. Now Sissoko went off for Trippier, who took over right back and some dead ball duties. Capoue was booked for yet another foul on Lucas Moura, who had needed treatment two or three times during the second half. Lucas had been sent away by a good ball by Son. Eriksen’s free kick was blocked with a corner resulting.

Immediately after Lamela replaced Vertonghen, Spurs scored! Llorente received a ball inside the Watford area, and deliberately or not managed to get the ball to Son who took a side step and picked his spot left of Foster. Most of the 29,000 roared their delight. Were Spurs heading for their first Premier League draw of the season and in a total of 29 Premier League games? No! Firstly Danny Rose had a shot deflected for a Spurs corner, and later he crossed from the left and Llorente met the ball perfectly to head back across the goal, and past Foster hitting the net for a dramatic winner. Llorente ran to the touchline to celebrate with Pochettino, no doubt thanking him for the faith shown. It was only Llorente’s second Premier League goal for Spurs, but then he has only made three starts for us in the competition, with 21 appearances off the bench.

Spurs “managed” the four minutes of added time, and there was a yellow card shown to Watford substitute Isaac Success, who I believe expressed his frustration at a Spurs ball-boy who delayed a Watford throw. Spurs fans laughed, and maybe that was a touch of justice for all of Foster’s shenanigans.

It was a great night for Spurs, who are now just two points behind City. If we do our job on Saturday lunchtime (over City’s Tuesday conquerors Newcastle), we will go second, as City play Arsenal on Sunday. Most importantly, we are seven points ahead of both Arsenal and Chelsea. Chelsea amazingly lost 4-0 at Bournemouth and have actually been overtaken by the Gooners on goals scored.


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