Dele’s lifeline saves troubled Tottenham’s blushes

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Watford

DELE ALLI pounced on an error from former England goalkeeper, Ben Foster, to hand troubled Tottenham Hotspur a share of the Premier League spoils against struggling Watford at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The international break had given Mauricio Pochettino and his players an opportunity to recuperate and rethink following embarrassing defeats to Bayern Munich and Brighton

“Our objective is to put Tottenham in the place that Tottenham deserve to be. In the last five years and a half, it has been all about praise for Tottenham – our stadium and facilities as well. It was nice to hear about us,” te Argentine explained

“When that turns a bit negative you have to listen and work hard to turn things to positive again. We work for a club and our fans want to be happy, they want to enjoy the team winning.”

Tottenham’s issues must have seemed somewhat trivial compared to those of visitors, Watford. The Hornets arrived in North London sitting at the bottom of the table with just a single victory to their name all season.

Nevertheless, there was to be an early sting for the home side. Abdoulaye Doucoure arrived unmarked and supplied a tidy finish, this after Daryl Janmaat had picked him out from the right – it had all been too easy for Watford, who were already looking confident and comfortable despite their lowly league position.

Tottenham – cumbersome and untidy – were already treading on eggshells with their expectant but ultimately agitated supporters while Watford were clearly thriving off the uneasy atmosphere their awkward arrival had created.

Danny Rose went down after a coming together with Roberto Pereyra. However, VAR was just as unhelpful to the Tottenham cause as their frustration continued to mount. Indeed, Alli’s goalbound strike was all the hosts had to show for their efforts. That footballing adage stating that possession is nine-tenths of the law providing hugely inaccurate, as it has all too frequently for Spurs recently.

Heung-Min Son crashed against the face of the crossbar – the South Korean looking to make an immediate impact after arriving as a half-time replacement for Davinson Sanchez.

But Watford, with the cushion of that early goal, was still able to offer a threat of their own – Gerard Deulofeu scuffed wide, while Douciure – looking for his and the Hornets second – was also off-target as the tension in the stands continued to multiply.

There was little sign of a Tottenham storm for Watford to weather. Son had presented pace but with ideas and creativity thin on the ground, the Hornets had little trouble rebuffing whatever Pochettino’s men had to offer.

But with time fast running out, Spurs were handed a lifeline. Watford stopper, Ben Foster, fumbled horrendously, allowing Alli the opportunity to fire into an unguarded goal – VAR confirmed the legitimacy of the strike, despite suspicions of handball from the Spurs man. All of a sudden the mood had changed.

That was as good as it got for Spurs. It’s difficult to gauge whether this is a case of two points dropped or one gained. What is clear, Tottenham’s leap towards the promised land has so far fallen some way short of its intended destination.

Spurs now turn their attention to the UEFA Champions League, facing Red Star Belgrade at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday, October 22 (8pm). They return to Premier League action on Sunday, October 27 when they take on Liverpool at Anfield (4:30pm).

Tottenham Hotspur: Paulo Gazzaniga, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez (Hueng-MIn Son 46’), Harry Winks (Tanguy Ndombele 71’), Harry Kane (Capt), Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli, Serge Aurier, Lucas Moura (Erik Lamela 63’) Subs not used: Brandon Austin(GK), Eric Dier, Juan Foyth, Ben Davies

Booked: Davinson Sanchez (foul), Moussa Sissoko (foul), Dele Alli (dissent), Danny Rose (foul)

Goals: Dele Alli 87’

Watford: Ben Foster, Daryl Janmaat (Kiko Femenia 71’), Craig Dawson, Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck (Gerard Deulofeu 5’), Nathaniel Chalobah, Craig Cathcart (Capt), Abdoulaye Doucoure, Jose Holebas, Christian Kabasele, Roberto Pereyra (Will Hughes 83’) Subs not used: Heurelho Gomes (GK), Adam Masina, Andre Gray, Ismaila Sarr

Booked: Jose Holebas (dissent), Kiko Femenia (foul), Roberto Pereyra (foul)
Goals: Abdoulaye Doucoure 6’

Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Daniel Cook and Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 58,754

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]