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Tottenham Hotspur v Watford – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Watford
It was the day all the planets lined up down White Hart Lane. Three single-goal Premier League victories out of three – Top of the table – Oh, and just in case they hadn’t told you, their nearest and dearest stuck at the bottom. What a time to be alive if you are of a Tottenham Hotspur persuasion!
A victory for Spurs would see Nuno Espirito Santo become the first incoming manager since Arthur Rowe, way back in 1949, to win his first three league matches in the N17 hot seat. It was of little wonder the home crowd arrived with a spring in their step, although events unravelling down the road at the Emirates Stadium might have helped the mood.
Nevertheless, Eric Dier needed to be alert, nodding clear after Juraj Kucka thundered the games first clearcut chance goalward – A nervy start from the Lilywhtes against a Hornets side including former favourites, Moussa Sissoko and Danny Rose in their party.
Harry Kane was too high from an acute angle, while Steven Bergwijn’s snap-shot was deflected over following a scintillating move involving Heung-Min Son and Dele. Hornets keeper, Daniel Bachmann then used his feet to deny Japhet Tanganga as Tottenham searched for a way through.
Spurs were continuously running into heavy traffic. Son dragged wide, while Dele fired directly at Bachmann – Watford defended deeply, stoutly and in numbers, denying the hosts space and freedom. A nervousness took hold of the audience, hoping to see their lot finish the day at the top of the table, while the other lot from down the road… well, we’ve already covered that.
But four minutes before the interval the mood lightened as Spurs took the lead in bizarre circumstances. Son’s angled free-kick eluded a clutch of potential takers as well as a stopper, Bachmann – the ball whistling into the far corner of the net. A rendition of ‘You’re going down with the Arsenal’ rang around the Lilywhites home.
Joshua King’s close-range effort was deflected into the gloves of Hugo Lloris as Watford responded immediately after the restart. Son finding Bachmann’s midriff – the contest now a little more open and absorbing.
Dele’s cheeky flick rolled the wrong side of an upright after Son and Kane had orchestrated an opening. Meanwhile, Bachmann stuck out a glove to turn aside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s free-kick after it had taken a big deflection of Hornets substitute, Tom Cleverley.
Kane was unable to connect after Lucas Moura probed and crossed from the right. Seconds later, the England skipper was rebuffed by Bachmann as Watford dug deep and refused to buckle.
Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action on Saturday, September 11 when they face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park (3pm).
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris (Capt), Japhet Tanganga, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez, Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp, Dele Ali, Steven Bergwijn (Lucas Moura 67’), Heung-Min Son (Bryan Gil 87’), Harry Kane Subs not used: Pierluigi Gollini (GK), Matt Doherty, Cristian Romero, Ben Davies, Ryan Sessegnon, Harry Winks, Giovani Lo Celso
Booked: Oliver Skipp (foul), Dele Ali (foul), Eric Dier (foul)
Goals: Heung-Min Son 41’
Watford: Daniel Bachmann, Craig Cathcart (Capt) (Jeremy Ngakia 51’), Troost-Ekong, Francisco Sierralta, Adam Masina, Peter Etebo, Ismaila Sarr, Moussa Sissoko (Tom Cleverley 71’), Juraj Kucka, Emmanuel Dennis, Joshua King (Hernández Suárez 65’) Subs not used: Danny Rose, Imran Louza, Tom Ken Sema, Ashley Fletcher, Christian Kabasele, Robert Elliot (GK)
Booked: Peter Etebo (foul), Moussa Sissoko (foul), Emmanuel Dennis (foul)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Simon Long and Eddie Smart
Fourth Official: Graham Scott
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR: James Mainwaring