Dele rescues a point against Hornets
Spurs 1-1 Watford
Sat 19 October 2019, 16:57|Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli’s late leveller salvaged a point as we eventually broke down Watford’s resistance on a difficult afternoon at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors stole an early march on us when they took the lead after just six minutes through Abdoulaye Doucoure and then defended for their lives as we applied heavy pressure on their goal in search of the equaliser. But, despite having 70 per cent possession, we only had two shots on target to show for our endeavours, one in either half from Dele and it was his second – in the 86th minute – that gave us a share of the spoils. And while the game mostly saw us on the front foot, bottom club Watford had some good counter-attacks of their own but failed to take advantage, allowing us a route back into the game with Dele’s late strike on his first Premier League start of the season.
Watford lost Danny Welbeck to injury with just five minutes on the clock but 60 seconds after he was replaced by Gerard Deulofeu, they were ahead. Craig Dawson found Daryl Janmaat with an inch-perfect cross-field pass, his first touch took him away from Danny Rose down the right flank and his cross was steered into the net by Doucoure from 10 yards out.
It was a real setback and a goal which gave the visitors something to defend, something they did with determination and in numbers for the remainder of the first half. Whenever we attacked, the Hornets sat deep and invited us to break them down, but we struggled to find a way through. We did produce a neat flowing move with Lucas Moura finding Dele, who hit a low drive from the edge of the area, but Ben Foster saved comfortably. As the half wore on though, we were mostly knocking balls into the area from out wide and Watford’s defenders were clearing the danger with relative ease.
There was a change at the interval as Heung-Min Son replaced Davinson Sanchez and we switched to a back four. It almost paid dividends just four minutes into the second half when Son received Dele’s pass down the right channel, took on his defender and then smashed a shot which cracked off the crossbar with such power that it went out for a Watford throw-in on the far side of the pitch. The visitors immediately went close at the other end, Deulofeu getting clear down their right and advancing into the area with only Paulo Gazzaniga to beat, but he squared for Roberto Pererya, whose shot was superbly blocked by Serge Aurier, who had tracked him back the whole way.
Although we were starting to apply pressure on the Watford goal, the visitors kept hitting us on the break, Janmaat twice failing to pull the trigger when in great positions allowing us to clear the danger, while Doucoure capitalised on uncertainty between Dele and Harry Winks but dragged wide from 20 yards.
For us, Dele was unable to get a touch on substitute Erik Lamela’s excellent teasing cross but, with four minutes remaining, he did find the target. We had bombarded Watford with a barrage of crosses and corners without any joy but when Toby Alderweireld sent a long ball forward, Hornets substitute Kiko Femenia and Foster got in a tangle with the bouncing ball allowing Dele to nip in, control on his chest and slam the ball into the back of the empty net. A VAR check looked into a possible handball, but the goal stood. That lifted everyone of a Spurs persuasion and the final stages saw us step up in search of the winner but we couldn’t carve out that one clear chance and had to settle for a point.
Watford will look back at a number of moments in the game where they had chances to double their lead as key to the final outcome, in terms of them not taking full advantage of the situation.
But for us, the pivotal moment was Dele’s equaliser. There didn’t appear to be too much danger when the long ball landed in the area, but the England midfielder capitalised on a mix-up to score his first goal of the season, making it 1-1.
Mauricio Pochettino told Spurs TV afterwards: “We started again by conceding a poor goal and you can say ‘all is against us’, but the most important thing is that in the second half we pushed to try to score. Watford defended well, they were so strong, but I’m happy for the players because at the end we found a way to score. We maybe deserved to win in the second half, we didn’t, but this is the first step to build our confidence again after two bad games against Bayern Munich and Brighton. It’s not the three points we wanted but, okay, one point, and we build our confidence."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 1-1 Watford
Spurs (3-4-2-1): Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Sanchez (Son 46), Vertonghen, Aurier, Winks (Ndombele 71), Sissoko, Rose, Lucas (Lamela 63), Dele, Kane (c). Subtitutes (not used): Austin, Foyth, Davies, Dier.
Watford (3-5-2): Foster, Cathcart (c), Dawson, Kabasele, Janmaat (Femenia 71), Doucoure, Cleverley, Chalobah, Holebas, Pereyra (Hughes 84), Welbeck (Deulofeu 5). Substitutes (not used): Gomes, Masina, Sarr, Gray.
Goals: Spurs – Dele 86; Watford – Doucoure 6.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Sanchez, Sissoko, Rose, Dele; Watford – Pereyra, Femenia, Holebas.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Sunny intervals, gentle breeze, 15 degrees.