Spurs’ perfect start to the season ended at Vicarage Road on Sunday as goals from Troy Deeney and Craig Cathcart ensured Watford maintained their 100% record and condemned Spurs to their first loss of the season.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 2, 2018
It was a lacklustre performance from Spurs and the manor of the goals conceded – both from set pieces – will undoubtedly irk manager Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff, particularly after he warned his players they could ‘crash’ against Watford after their impressive victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
In a scrappy first half Spurs had the better chances despite not registering a shot on target and Lucas Moura had a penalty shout turned down after Watford defender Christian Kabasele brought him down in the area. It was Lucas who was arguably Spurs’ brightest player in the first half, and the whole of the match, as he constantly looked a threat on the ball whereas Dele Alli asked questions of the Watford defence with his late runs from midfield, almost looping a header over Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster after Toby Alderweireld’s angled ball to him.
After Pochettino’s half time team talk Spurs looked an improved side, Christian Eriksen had two efforts saved by Foster within the first five minutes of the second half which signalled Spurs’ intent. The goal was coming, however it came in bizarre circumstances as Watford’s French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure turned Lucas Moura’s cross into his own net. The goal went down as Doucoure’s despite the best efforts of Eriksen to get a touch as the ball went past him.
However instead of pressing home their advantage, Spurs inexplicably took their foot off the gas and as such had to weather the Watford storm. They were close to conceding an own goal when Toby Alderweireld turned Deeney’s cross onto the bar and the equaliser came only a few minutes after that, with captain Deeney glancing home Jose Holebas’ free kick past a helpless Michel Vorm.
Soon after it was another set piece that undone Spurs, this time Northern Irish international Craig Cathcart powered in a header from Holebas’ corner to turn the game around and put Watford 2-1 up.
Fernando Llorente was sent on as Spurs looked to find an equaliser but it was not to be and Harry Kane headed over late on to cap off a frustrating game for him personally and for the team as a whole.
👏 Most home points in the Premier League since Javi Gracia was appointed @WatfordFC Head Coach on Jan 21.
22: Manchester City
21: Manchester United
21: Tottenham pic.twitter.com/jCT4b4ipBr
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 2, 2018
Pochettino Unhappy with Performance
In hindsight the Watford game may prove to be a tough fixture for the top 6 this season as Vicarage Road has been a fortress for the Hornets. Manager Javi Gracia boasts an impressive record at Vicarage Road in recent times as Watford have lost only 1 of their last 11 home games in the Premier League under his stewardship. A careless approach having taken the lead is a lesson that Spurs will surely learn moving forward in this most exciting of seasons.
Spurs v Watford Attendance
Vicarage Road: 20,141
Starting Line-ups: Spurs v Watford
“We need to show more respect to this competition. It’s difficult for me to understand after four years of us being contenders. Today, from the beginning, we needed to go there like a lion… If you want to win you need to show that character. Maybe you cannot play so well but you need to win this type of game if you want to be a contender at the end.”
Man of the Match
From a Spurs perspective the man of the match was Lucas Moura. He constantly looked a threat with his direct dribbling at the Watford defence and grabbed the assist to Doucoure’s own goal.
What’s next for Tottenham Hotspur?
Because of the international break Spurs will have two weeks until they can get back to winning ways, which may actually benefit them, before a mouth-watering tie against Liverpool. Things do not get any easier after that as their Champions League campaign gets underway with a trip to the San Siro to face Inter Milan.
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