SUNDAY 29TH AUGUST, 2021
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1) WATFORD 0(0)
Referee:- Andre Marriner
Assistants:-- Simon Long, Eddie Smart
Fourth official:- Graham Scott
VAR:- Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR:- James Mainwaring
Spurs (4-3-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Tanganga, Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Skipp, Dele; Son (sub Gil, 88), Kane, Bergwijn (Sub Lucas Moura, 68)
Subs not used:- Gollini; Doherty, Romero, Davies, Sessegnon; Winks, Lo Celso
Booked:- Kane (foul on Sarr), Dele (foul on Sarr), Skipp (foul on Sarr)
Watford (4-1-4-1):- Bachmann; Cathcart (Capt.) (sub Ngakia, 51), Troost-Ekong, Sierralta, Masina; Etebo; Sarr, Sissoko (sub Cleverley, 71), Kucka, Dennis; King (sub Hernandez, 65)
(Armband to Troost-Ekong)
Subs not used:- Elliot (GK); Rose, Kabasele; Louza, Sema; Fletcher
Booked:- Etebo (foul on Kane) , Sissoko (foul on Skipp), Dennis (foul on Lucas Moura)
Son’s stroke puts Spurs on top of the league!
It is only after three games, but the dream of Spurs fans came true when Son Heung-min’s 42nd minute free kick which deceived the errant Bachmann gave Spurs a third 1-0 win and put them on top of the table, whilst their nemesis from the wrong end of The Seven Sisters Road holds up the table! It was a great way to cap Son’s 200th Premier league appearance (all for Spurs, of course). Nuno Espirito Santo became only the second Spurs manager/coach to win his first three league games. His predecessor was the eminent Arthur Rowe in 1949.
The win wasn’t easy and Watford gave a good account of themselves, particularly in the first half. Ismaila Sarr was always a danger down the right wing, and was the victim for each of Spurs’ three bookings, one of which was for Harry Kane. Kane was given a great reception when his name was announced, and of course this was his first Premier League start of the season. Another player who was loudly cheered when announced was Watford’s number 19 Moussa Sissoko who clearly had been signed and registered in time to play, despite suggestions that we would not see him today. Moussa’s name was sung around the stadium at times, by both sets of fans. Unused Watford sub Danny Rose was also acclaimed with enthusiasm, and both former Spurs walked around the stadium at the end of the game to acknowledge their former fans.
Watford kicked off and played towards the South stand but within seconds (I made it 13), Bergwijn passed to Kane who went down in the box with no reward from referee Andre Marriner. Lucas Moura had been the unlucky player to make way for Kane, but he did get off the bench for the last quarter of the game. Still inside the first minute (I made it 41 seconds) Eric Dier had to block a shot by Kucka. Both Dier and Sanchez gave good defensive performances with Eric in particular making several good blocks and clearances.
Sarr drew a foul by Reguilon and won a free kick after 4 minutes. A cross by Sarr after 6 minutes was well cleared by Dier. At the other end, Reguilon got forward and passed to Hojbjerg who was towards the right of the area. Hojbjerg slipped the ball to Kane to his right and Harry tried a lofted shot which passed just over the bar.
I thought Oliver Skipp had another really good game, and he enjoyed a good running battle with his former colleague Sissoko. There were fouls in either direction and Sissoko got booked for one of his offences, but Skipp won their first battle. To be honest, I don’t recall Skipp pitting a foot wrong. Skipp and Dele had combined down the left before Dele passed inside to Hojbjerg who found the advancing Tanganga with a good ball. Japhet cut the ball back and Bergwijn’s shot was deflected to win a corner. Skipp came to the rescue in his own half after a mistake by Dele nearly let Watford in. Lloris held easily from Sarr after the ball had been crossed from the left.
Spurs had a corner on the right which Mr. Marriner required to be re-taken. After that, Bergwijn’s touch at close quarters was cleared. After a foul by Skipp just outside the box, Dennis took a free kick but this was skied. A Bergwijn cross intended for Kane was too deep at the other end. Etebo got the first yellow card of the game for foul on Kane, who had been sent away by Skipp’s good pass. Spurs had a free kick 28 yards out, taken by Dier, but easy for Bachmann. Watford broke forward and Oliver Skipp made a nice interception, followed by a good pass. Spurs had a corner after 31 minutes, taken by Son, but headed over by Sanchez.
There followed a spell when Spurs were swarming the “Hornets”’ area, and Dele and Kane were involved in a final move which saw “Sonny” fire over. Bergwijn challenged Bachmann for the ball when Cathcart headed back, but the keeper just got there first. Spurs broke up a Watford attack and responded with Kane’s pass to Dele towards the left of the box. Dele’s shot was held by Bachmann. Dele was on the end of another strong attack in the middle of the area. He made several touches of the ball, trying to find a final strike as he did a few years ago at Selhurst Park. It didn’t come off though and Cathcart headed back to his keeper.
The goal followed a foul upon Bergwijn quite deep towards the left of the area. “Sonny” shaped up and took the kick and perhaps the Watford defence, especially their keeper, was anticipating aa cross, but Son’s kick was allowed to pass the keeper and hit the net in the far corner! Soon after that “Sonny” was down in the area when receiving from Reguilon, but there was no foul.
Spurs were out early for the second half and performed the warm-up drill that is liked by Nuno. They were ready to kick off, but Watford kept them waiting. Cathcart soon needed treatment and had to be replaced. Former Spurs academy player Troost-Ekong took the armband. It wasn’t long before Watford were testing the Spurs defence again. Sarr crossed from the left and the blond-haired Kucka hit a shot over the target. Watford did well to keep the exciting Sarr in their Championship season and coach Xisco Munoz has signed several decent players who will test plenty of teams this season.
Sissoko got to the bye-line inside the area in front of his new fans and crossed short to Sarr, whose shot was half-blocked by Dier, then held by Hugo. Sissoko had made a good dribbling run and his fans chanted his name. Sanchez was only just off target when jabbing at a Son corner after 56 minutes. Then we had a free kick from the left taken by Son who received the ball back from Hojbjerg before hitting a shot straight at Bachmann. Skipp it an excellent ball for Tanganga, who made good ground before feeding the ball to Son whose cross/shot was held by the keeper.
More good defending by Dier started a good Spurs move involving Hojbjerg, Son, Kane and finally Dele, whose shot passed just wide. Bergwijn was replaced by Lucas Moura who performed well in the time available. Tanganga cross to Kane inside the box. Harry went to the ground again, but all he won was a corner. Sissoko went off to good applause from the whole stadium and was replaced by Cleverley.
Watford had given a good account of themselves, but I felt that Spurs were in control of this closing stage of the game, defending strongly when required and generally managing the game effectively. Hojbjerg found Lucas with a ball to the right and Lucas’s cross passed across the goalmouth, taking a deflection on its way out of play for another corner. After a foul on Dele, Hojbjerg drove in a free kick which was deflected then pushed around the corner by Bachmann.
Lucas showed great skill and pace down the right after 83 minutes, hitting a cross which Kane could not quite reach. Harry had a shot saved by the keeper following the corner which resulted. Bryan Gil got a few minutes at the end of the game, and he too was warmly applauded by the first big Spurs crowd to see him.
Spurs controlled the four minutes of added time during which Lucas drew a foul and a booking for Dennis.
Enjoy bumping into those Arsenal fans over the next two weeks everyone. We play first on September 11th at Palace and could extend our hold on the top of the table, at least for another week, before we face the real test of Chelsea on 19th September.
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