|WATFORD 0 (0)||TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)|
|Date : – 1st January 2022||Kick off : – 15.00|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Vicarage Road|
|Crowd : – 20,391|
|Referee : – Robert Jones (Cheshire)||Linesmen : – Mr. Richard West; Mr. Nick Hopton|
|Fourth official : – Craig Pawson|
|VAR official : – Lee Mason||VAR Assistant : – Darren Cann|
|Weather : – Rain at the start, stopped during the first half|
|Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the Rookery Stand end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 10 minutes
|None||Sanchez 90+5m 43s|
|–||Skipp (foul on Pedro) 61|
|26.||Daniel BACHMANN||1.||Hugo LLORIS (c)|
|15.||Craig CATHCART||6.||Davinson SANCHEZ|
|5.||William TROOST-EKONG||15.||Eric DIER|
|31.||Francisco SIERRALTA||33.||Ben DAVIES|
|33.||Juraj KUCKA||29.||Oliver SKIPP ( 8. Harry WINKS 70)|
|6.||Imran LOUZA ( 8. Tom CLEVERLEY 90+2)||5.||Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG|
|19.||Moussa SISSOKO (c)||3.||Sergio REGUILON ( 18. Giovani LO CELSO 83)|
|12.||Ken SEMA ( 29. Cucho HERNANDEZ 90+10)|
|27.||Lucas MOURA ( 11. BRYAN Gil 90+1)|
|7.||Josh KING||10.||Harry KANE|
|25.||Emmanuel DENNIS ( 10. Joao PEDRO 46)||7.||Heung-Min SON|
|41.||Vincent ANGELINI||22.||Pierluigi GOLLINI|
|2.||Jeremy NGAKIA||2.||Matt DOHERTY|
|18.||Ozan TUFAN||14.||Joe RODON|
|42.||James MORRIS||25.||Japhet TANGANGA|
|16.||Dan GOSLING||28.||Tanguy NDOMBELE|
|17.||Ashley FLETCHER||20.||DELE Alli|
|Manager : – Claudio Ranieri||Manager : – Antonio Conte|
|Kit Supplier : – Kelme||Kit Supplier : – Nike|
|Shirt Sponsor : – Stake.com||Shirt Sponsor : – AIA
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – Dogecoin||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch
|Colours : –||Colours : –|
|Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website|
|After Watford had been beaten by West Ham a few days ago, they shut the barn door that the Irons strolled through and it was a difficult task to get through the bee-like shirts that buzzed around in front of the ball, but they couldn’t keep Spurs out with Davinson Sanchez the match-winner in the fifth of eight added minutes after the game had been stopped for a medical emergency in the crowd. IN truth, it was all Watford deserved, as their tactics to desperately try and win points to stave off the threat of relegation saw them get four of six shots on target, but failed to stop Spurs having 21 shots, although most were blocked.
In only the second minute, Emmanuel Dennis broke into the Spurs box after linking with Josh King, but his shot was straight at Hugo Lloris. Spurs were having lots of possession, but had little space to make much of it, with Emerson’s run to the line on the right cut back for Harry Kane to try an overhead kick, but he couldn’t make a good contact with it and 15 minutes in, Hojbjerg half-volleyed Moura’s cross over the bar, just before Kane spun on the ball on the edge of the box and hit a curling shot at the Watford goal that Bachmann got behind. While the home side hadn’t got forward since the early minutes, a free-kick found Kucka unmarked at the far post, but he was unable to get his foot around the ball to hook it back across goal.
Tottenham were almost totally dominating the game, as Watford could not get the ball away and keep it away. Reguilon fired a shot across from left to right and Bachmann made a flying save to keep it out, then a cross flighted into the area was aimed at Harry Kane, when he was bundled over by his former Spurs Under-23s team-mate William Troost-Ekong, but the referee wasn’t giving a penalty, but Kane had a shoulder offside anyway. When Watford lost the ball on the half-hour, Oliver Skipp won it and played it to Kane around the edge of the box and he fired his shot wide, when really, he should have been testing Bachmann with a shot on target.
It was sheer weight of numbers that prevented Tottenham breaking through and there were shades of Wednesday’s game at St. Mary’s. Emerson’s cross from the right found Pierre Hojbjerg’s run into the box, but his downward header was straight at Bachmann. The lack of ambition by the Hornets was stifling the game, but Spurs lacked the imagination to break down the defensive set-up that Ranieri put out. It worked as the half-time whistle signalled the end of a disappointing 45 (plus 2 minutes) for Spurs, although Watford would have been over-joyed. 73% possession matched up with the Saints game and only three shots on target was a poor return on the amount of the ball that Tottenham had.
Watford did make a half-time change with Joao Pedro coming on for Emmanuel Dennis and they did win a corner, but Spurs had looked lively with Regi’s shot deflected for a corner, then the Spaniard passed to Kane, but his shot hit Reguilon and was cleared. Bachmann was busy with s regulation save from Moura and then a shot out of nothing forced him to palm the ball over the crossbar. While Hugo hadn’t had much to do for a game and a half, he was alert as he threw his arm out to his left to push Josh King’s shot wide for a corner. The Hornets packed the box, but the ball was played as an out-swinger and when the ball came back in, it was a bit messy and only Pedro’s inability to gather the ball saved Spurs. Winning another corner, when it was played into the goal-mouth, King headed weakly over the top.
Spurs caused a scramble in the Watford box, when Emerson’s low ball saw Hojbjerg in amongst it, but the ball was kicked away and suddenly Joao Pedro was away and Oliver Skipp had to pull him back. The referee stopped the game when the forward was able to shake off the challenge and if advantage had been played he was in on goal. The Spurs wall was pushed back much more than 10 yards and from 20 yards out, Pedro blasted the ball way over the bar.
Emerson was getting forward on the right wing and his shot was touched by Heung-Min Son, but he could only guide the ball wide of the Watford goal. Bachmann was on his toes again, with Kane having headed he ball back at the far post before it was cleared, but it came back in from Moura, Son looked to have met the ball with a good contact on the volley, but the keeper kept it out with a big right hand for a corner. From a Spurs throw-in, Watford broke and Davies was strong in a challenge on Sema, but the ref didn’t give anything although the midfielder stayed on the floor.
It looked as though Watford might have had a penalty when King broke and played Joao Pedro away and Lloris came out to meet him. It was difficult to see who got to the ball first, but the game went on, ending with Hojbjerg hitting a soft shot straight at the keeper, but the VAR people had reviewed it while the game continued and no penalty was the decision. Lo Celso came on for Reguilon and Winks (who had replaced Skipp) played a ball across that caught a deflection, but no purple shirt was there to finish the inviting ball in. When Spurs were looking to forge forward, the referee stopped the game for a medical emergency in the Watford fans area.
When the game restarted, a needless foul on Son by Kucka gave Tottenham a free-kick on the left wing and his fierce delivery was touched past the keeper when Davinson Sanchez got to it first with a neat header a couple of yards out from goal. It was a relief that the defence had finally been breached and that another two points hadn’t slipped away.
Kane had a header that the keeper held above his head in the middle of the goal and then the Hornets won a corner, but Spurs cleared it confidently. It looked as though Watford might get away, but a combination on Sanchez and Winks robbed him of the ball to prevent him getting any further forward. It led to Spurs breaking with Son, who played it to Bryan Gil, who came on for Lucas Moura, but he left the ball when it would have been more advantageous to keep hold of it.
The referee had been pretty shoddy all game and not just for us but for both sides. Soft free-kicks given outside the box were not penalised when committed in the penalty area, as Sierralta was hauling Kane’s shirt off him and another incident when Dier was hauled to the floor in the box with both of Kucka’s hands in full view of the ref and the TV cameras. VAR had been asleep all afternoon, with nothing like a decision coming from the direction of Stockley Park.
There is still the worry that Tottenham are finding it so hard to break down packed defences. The invention that Ndombele can bring is not something that Conte wants to risk and when Lucas has no space to run into and only runs into more opposition bodies, it is hard to create, with the quality of the crosses not producing as much as they should when we do get players into wide positions.
Another three points helps Spurs stay in the mix at the top of the table with a difficult rest of January to come, so we are grateful for Davinson Sanchez’s head.
|Woolwich Wanderers||1||Manchester City||2|
|Leicester City||P||Norwich City||P|
|Crystal Palace||2||West Ham United London||3|
|South Coast Big Club||P||Newcash United||P|
|Everton||2||Brighton & Hove Albion||3|
|Manchester United||0||Wolverhampton Wanderers||1|
Premier League Table 2021-22
|5||West Ham United London||20||10||4||6||37||27||34||+10|
|9||Brighton & Hove Albion||19||6||9||4||20||20||27||0|
|14||South Coast Big Club||19||4||9||6||20||29||21||-9|