Watford vs Tottenham
Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off saw Watford playing host to Tottenham.
The Hornets looked to be staring the Championship in the face after an awful start to the season under the guidance of Javi Gracia and then Quique Sanchez Flores.
But since former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson has taken the reins at Watford, their form has taken a dramatic upturn.
Prior to kick-off on Saturday, Watford had picked up four wins in their last five league games, drawing the remaining tie.
This saw Watford climb out of the relegation zone last weekend.
As for Tottenham, they began the weekend’s action 8th in the table with a nine-point gap open between themselves and 4th place Chelsea.
Both sides put out fairly standard starting elevens with Spurs’ new signing Gedson Fernandes on the bench.
Japhet Tanganga was also handed another start for the Lilywhites.
#THFC: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen (C), Tanganga, Winks, Lo Celso, Dele, Lamela, Son, Lucas
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 18, 2020
We’re unchanged from last weekend’s win!
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) January 18, 2020
An uneventful first-half
An in-form Watford started the game brightly with Gerard Deulofeu carrying the ball a fair distance before putting his effort wide.
Tottenham would slowly grow into the tie with Jose Mourinho’s side being afforded a fair bit of possession and space on the flanks.
But with 25 minutes on the clock, neither side had mustered up a solid chance with Pearson’s Watford defending well and looking slightly more threatening in attack.
VAR would once again become a talking point in the first-half after Etienne Capoue put in a rather high tackle on Spurs’ Tanganga.
Nothing resulted from said foul but the game was delayed as Michael Olivier had to fix his VAR equipment.
Capoue was then shown a yellow card in the 34th minute after a foul on Giovani Lo Celso with the Frenchman arguably lucky to be on the pitch as he really should have been booked for that aforementioned challenge on Tanganga.
Lucas Moura then had the biggest chance of the game 37 minutes in when he found himself one on one with Ben Foster who saved well.
A rather uneventful first 45 drew to a close with the score at 0-0.
Tottenham earn rare clean sheet
The second half began much the same way the first ended, with Watford on top.
Ismaila Sarr, who had caused Spurs and Tanganga all sorts of problems down their left-hand side, burst down the wing before playing in a cross, which fell to Abdoulaye Doucoure who really should have scored.
Sarr then had a great chance of his own as the ball fell to him in the Spurs box but the winger scuffed his effort wide.
The next big chance came as Jan Vertonghen was judged to have handled the ball in his penalty area when blocking a shot from Deulofeu, earning Watford a penalty.
However, Paulo Gazzaniga came to Spurs’ rescue, getting down well to save Troy Deeney’s spot-kick.
Spurs then had their own chance to clinch a victory in second-half injury time as Erik Lamela saw his effort cleared off the line by the finest of margins.
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) January 18, 2020
The tie eventually drew to a close at 0-0 with both sides likely somewhat pleased with the result.
Watford earned another point towards their fight for survival whilst Spurs managed to keep just their second clean sheet in 17 league outings.
However, one thing was apparent on Saturday and that was Spurs are seriously missing Harry Kane.
Since the England international suffered an injury vs Southampton on January 1st, Tottenham have failed to score a single league goal and with the January window still open, it looks pretty clear that Spurs need to bring in a fresh centre-forward.