Davinson downs Hornets with late, late winner - report and reaction
Watford 0-1 Spurs
Sat 01 January 2022, 17:06|Tottenham Hotspur
Davinson Sanchez headed home a late, late winner to finally breach a dogged Watford defence and get our new year off to the perfect start at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
It looked like it was going to be a frustrating afternoon as we struggled to create too many clear-cut chances and when we did, Hornets’ goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann made a string of fine saves to keep us at bay. But, six minutes into stoppage time, the deadlock was finally broken. The game had been halted for five minutes due to a medical emergency in the crowd but, once play resumed, Heung-Min Son fizzed in a free-kick from the left and our Colombian centre-half flicked the ball past Bachmann.
Earlier, the goalkeeper had made saves from Sergio Reguilon, Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Son as we dominated the game with 74 per cent possession but, at the other end, Hugo Lloris was forced into an excellent diving save to keep out Josh King’s curling effort nine minutes into the second half.
We kept pushing forwards in the closing stages but just couldn’t find that telling opportunity – until Sanchez popped up for his second Premier League goal of the campaign to move us up to fifth in the table, two points behind Arsenal with two games in hand.
Happy New Year!
Well, it didn’t look like we were going to be celebrating the start of 2022 as the game went deep into stoppage time without a goal, but our patience finally paid off.
Watford hadn’t kept a clean sheet all season – in fact they had conceded in each of their last 27 games before this afternoon – so there would have been a great deal of frustration had we not grabbed the late winner. The pattern of play in the first half was set almost from the first whistle with Watford happy to sit deep in numbers and look to counter where possible. It meant the first 45 minutes was played almost entirely in the Watford half but, with so many bodies in a congested final third, clear chances were not forthcoming.
Our first glimpse at goal came on 17 minutes when a Lucas cross was headed away by Craig Cathcart but only as far as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on the edge of the area. The midfielder though, couldn’t keep his effort down and it flew over the crossbar. Moments later, Kane’s wonderful touch on the left corner of the box allowed him to fire right footed at goal but it was straight at Bachmann. A rare foray into our half for the Hornets ended with Ken Sema drilling a low drive from 25 yards which was easy for Lloris and on 26 minutes, Reguilon brought a decent diving save out of Bachmann from the edge of the box.
Perhaps our best chance of the half came in the 31st minute when Oliver Skipp won the ball high up the pitch from Imran Louza, it then ran straight to Kane, who lined up a shot but curled inches wide of the far post.
There was little change to the contest in the early minutes of the second half as we were immediately on the offensive again - Bachmann making saves to deny Lucas and Kane in quick succession. But, at 0-0, Watford were always in the game and created an opening on 54 minutes, King sending an effort towards the bottom corner only to be denied by an excellent diving save from Lloris. It was probably the save of the match.
The home side started to become more adventurous as the game wore on but, in turn, that created a little more space for us as well, although that didn’t translate into clearer opportunities. Son did have a couple, his attempted backheel flick from Emerson Royal’s cross drifted wide before he was denied by a great save from Bachmann on 72 minutes. Lucas was the creator this time, clipping a lovely ball over the Watford defence which Son volleyed on the turn, only to see the goalkeeper dive and push the ball away for a corner.
Watford had calls for a penalty waved away after Lloris slid out at the feet of substitute Joao Pedro but he got a clear hand to the ball to push it away, while there was a five-minute stoppage to the game due to a medical emergency in the crowd in the 85th minute.
That led to a total of eight minutes added on which meant there was still time to fashion one more chance and it came in the 96th minute. Son was fouled by Juraj Kucka to the left of the area and took the free-kick himself, whipping over a cross into the six-yard box which Sanchez headed home from inside the six-yard box. There was still time for another chance for us, Royal’s cross headed towards goal by Kane but it was straight at Bachmann. It mattered not though, as Sanchez’s goal was all we needed.
The run continues
Antonio Conte became the first manager in the club’s history to remain unbeaten in their opening eight league matches following Saturday’s victory, which made it five wins and three draws so far for the Italian.
Heung-Min Son has now been involved in seven goals in his last seven Premier League starts against Watford (5 goals, 2 assists), following his assist for the winner here.
Antonio Conte made two changes from the 1-1 draw at Southampton as Skipp and Lucas came in for Harry Winks and Dele, who were both on the bench. Our former midfielder Moussa Sissoko captained the hosts, with ex-Academy player William Troost-Ekong also in the Watford starting line-up.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'The fans deserved this win'
Speaking to Spurs TV at full-time, Antonio said: "To celebrate the first day of the year with a win is good. Also today, our fans pushed us from the start until the end and, for sure, they deserved this win.
"It was a difficult game because we played against a team well-organised defensively; they prepared this type of game but we controlled the game. We had a lot of possession and we created chances, but I think that we missed the last pass – we could do better – and also because, in this type of game, if you score early, then your opponent has to change the plan and you can find the space.
"During the game we tried to make some substitutions because it was the fifth game in 13 days and, for sure, the team was a bit tired, but I tried to make some substitutions, to change some things but, I repeat, we have to be delighted to get three points against Watford."
Highlights on Spurs TV
Watford 0-1 Spurs
Watford (4-3-3): Bachmann, Cathcart, Troost-Ekong, Sierralta, Masina, Sissoko (c), Louza (Cleverley 90+1), Kucka, Dennis (Joao Pedro 46), King, Sema (Hernandez 90+10). Substitutes (not used): Angelini, Ngakia, Gosling, Fletcher, Tufan, Morris.
Spurs (3-4-3): Lloris (c), Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Royal, Hojbjerg, Skipp (Winks 70), Reguilon (Lo Celso 83), Lucas (Bryan 90+1), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gollini, Doherty, Rodon, Tanganga, Dele, Ndombele.
Goal: Spurs - Sanchez 90+6.
Yellow card: Spurs - Skipp.
Referee: Rob Jones.
Venue: Vicarage Road, Watford.
Weather: Thick cloud, moderate breeze, 14 degrees.