Spurs 2-0 Watford - report from Wembley
Mon 30 April 2018, 22:05|Tottenham Hotspur
It was a victory which sees us climb to within one point of third-placed Liverpool in the Premier League with a game in hand on the Reds and moves us five clear of Chelsea in fifth place with both teams having three matches left to play.
Just over a quarter-of-an-hour had gone when we opened the scoring, helped by a goalkeeping error from the Hornets’ Orestis Karnezis. The Greek international spilled Kieran Trippier’s cross and Christian Eriksen flicked the ball to Dele, who drilled through a flurry of legs and into an unguarded net.
But the visitors responded well and three fine saves from Hugo Lloris ensured we went in ahead at half-time. First he saved a one-on-one from Andre Gray, did likewise from Richarlison just before the interval before racing off his line to slide tackle the onrushing Abdoulaye Doucoure, who would have been in on goal had the skipper mistimed his challenge.
They proved to be vital saves as just three minutes into the second half, we went further ahead. Trippier was again involved, picking up the ball wide on the right and sending over a low cross which Kane tucked home for his 38th goal of the season, 27 of them coming in the league.
We almost added a third on 68 minutes when Jan Vertonghen headed a Trippier free-kick against the post with Kane unable to tap home the rebound, but Watford continued to threaten and could have levelled moments later, only for Richarlison to fire Troy Deeney’s knock down way over the bar from 10 yards.
Substitute Moussa Sissoko could have wrapped it up late on but fired over the bar after an excellent through-ball from Kane.
Mauricio Pochettino made one change to the team that faced Manchester United in the FA Cup last weekend, with Lloris replacing Michel Vorm in goal. Meanwhile, Watford named two ex-Spurs players in their matchday squad - Etienne Capoue starting in central midfield while Heurelho Gomes was the Hornets' substitute goalkeeper.
Goal: Spurs 1-0 Watford – Dele – 16mins
There was a real open feel to the game with both sides having early sights of goal. Will Hughes fired wide inside 30 seconds, Eric Dier fizzed a header over from Mousa Dembele’s cross, a neat Hughes pass on 14 minutes found Richarlison near the left edge of the six yard box but he slipped when shooting before we went ahead two minutes later. Trippier’s cross was spilled by Karnezis, Eriksen’s flicked the ball away from the goalkeeper to Dele, who took a touch and drilled past four defenders and into the net.
Save: Lloris Keeps Out Gray – 26mins
There had been a touch of tension around the stadium before the goal, but the opener certainly lifted that and allowed the players to play with more freedom. We were enjoying plenty of possession but were almost caught out when, on what looked a promising counter, Dier played the ball straight to Capoue who immediately set Gray free through the middle, only for Lloris to smartly block his shot from just inside the area.
Above: Heung-Min Son on the ball.
Saves: Lloris Double Stop Keeps Us in Front – 43mins
As the half wore on, it was the visitors who ended it the stronger and they could have been level had it not been for the exploits of Lloris. Although he comfortably saved a Doucoure effort following a clever Hughes backheel on 36 minutes, he pulled off a fine stop to deny Richarlison who had been set free down the left channel by Gray. And a minute later, Doucoure was put through and could have been in on goal, only for our French skipper to race from his line and make a perfectly-timed sliding tackle to clear the danger.
Goal: Spurs 2-0 Watford – Harry Kane – 48mins
Watford may have finished the half well, but we doubled our advantage just three minutes after the restart thanks to Kane. Dele played an incisive pass forward to Heung-Min Son who squared a cross which Kane looked like he was going to poke home, only to slip in front of goal. But Trippier picked up the ball on the other flank and, although he was in a good position to shoot, instead played a smart cross in for Kane to this time convert.
Woodwork: Vertonghen Heads Against the Post – 68mins
It was still quite an open game and chances continued to come for both teams. Vertonghen almost scored his first league goal of the season, heading Trippier’s free-kick against the post with Kane somehow unable to put in the rebound from four yards out, while at the other end Jose Holebas’ cross was nodded down by substitute Deeney but Richarlison blazed over from 10 yards. Both sides also had goals ruled out for off-side, Gerard Deulofeu for Watford and Kane for Spurs.
Chance: Sissoko Over the Bar – 90mins
The game remained competitive right through to the end, even if goalscoring opportunities dried up in the closing stages. There was one glorious chance just before the clock ticked over to stoppage time though, Kane finding substitute Sissoko with a wonderful pass, the French midfielder taking a touch before rifling a shot over the crossbar. The visitors had one final sight of goal themselves when their own substitute Andre Carrillo struck a powerful shot but once again, Lloris was there to preserve our clean sheet.
Mauricio Pochettino said
"It was a massive win. It keeps us in a very good position in the top four - fantastic. I'm happy. Maybe it wasn't a great performance but the most important thing was to be competitive and win the three points. It's never easy to play against a team with good players and a team that plays with freedom. For us, it was a must-win game.
Harry Kane said
"The first half was disappointing and we were lucky to be 1-0 up - that was down to Hugo. The second half was a little better, we should have been more clinical, we had the chances... we're happy to have won but there is room for improvement. Hugo made massive saves in the first half to keep us ahead. He's a fantastic goalkeeper. We're now concentrating on the three games ahead and trying to win all three."
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele (Wanyama 63), Eriksen, Dele (Lamela 82), Son (Sissoko 74), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Aurier, Alderweireld, Lucas.
Watford (4-2-3-1): Karnezis, Mariappa (c), Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas, Doucouré, Capoue, Femenía (Deulofeu 64), Hughes (Carrillo 83), Richarlison, Gray (Deeney 64). Substitutes (not used): Gomes, Britos, Janmaat, Sinclair.
Goals: Spurs – Dele 16, Kane 48.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Wanyama.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Man of the match
Following a series of important stops, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was named Man of the Match by our supporters with 41 per cent of the votes on social media.
We’re off to The Hawthorns this weekend to face a West Bromwich Albion side currently five points from safety at the bottom of the Premier League. However, since the appointment of their former defender Darren Moore, the Baggies have beaten Manchester United and Newcastle United on the road and drawn at home to Swansea City and Liverpool. Kick-off on Saturday is at 3pm.