|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)||WATFORD 0 (0)|
|Date : – 29th August 2021||Kick off : – 14.00|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|Crowd : – 57,672|
|Referee : – Andre Marriner (West Midlands)||Linesmen : – Mr. Simon Long; Mr. Eddie Smart|
|Fourth official : – Graham Scott|
|VAR official : – Jarred Gillett||VAR Assistant : – James Mainwaring|
|Weather : – Cloudy, some sun; warm|
|Watford kicked off the first half attacking the Park Lane end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 6 minutes
|Son 41m 36s||NONE|
|Kane (foul on Dennis) 45||Etebo (foul on Kane) 28|
|Dele (foul on Sarr) 61||Sissoko (foul on Skipp) 54|
|Skipp (foul on Sarr) 85||Dennis (foul on Dennis) 90+4|
|1.||Hugo LLORIS (c)||26.||Daniel BACHMANN|
|25.||Japhet TANGANGA||15.||Craig CATHCART ( 2. Jeremy NGAKIA 51)|
|6.||Davinson SANCHEZ||5.||William TROOST-EKONG|
|15.||Eric DIER||31.||Francisco SIERRALTA|
|3.||Sergio REGUILON||11.||Adam MASINA|
|5.||Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG||4.||Peter ETEBO|
|20.||DELE Alli||23.||Ismaila SARR.|
|19.||Moussa SISSOKO ( 7. Tom CLEVERLEY 71)|
|7.||Heung-Min SON ( 11. BRYAN Gil 88)||33.||Juraj KUCKA|
|10.||Harry KANE||25.||Emmanuel DENNIS|
|23.||Steven BERGWIJN ( 27. Lucas MOURA 68)|
|7.||Josh KING ( 29. CUCHO Hernandez Suarez 65)|
|22.||Pierluigi GOLLINI||35.||Robert ELLIOTT|
|2.||Matt DOHERTY||3.||Danny ROSE|
|4.||Cristian ROMERO||6.||Imran LOUZA|
|8.||Harry WINKS||12.||Ken SEMA|
|19.||Ryan SESSEGNON||17.||Ashley FLETCHER|
|33.||Ben DAVIES||27.||Christian KABASELE|
|18.||Giovani LO CELSO|
|Manager : – Nuno Espirito Santo||Manager : – Xisco Munoz|
|Kit Supplier : – Nike||Kit Supplier : – Kelme|
|Shirt Sponsor : – AIA||Shirt Sponsor : – Stake.com
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – Dogecoin
|Colours : –
Shirts : – White
Shorts : – Navy Blue
Socks : – Navy Blue
|Colours : –
Shirts : – Yellow with black hoops, black trim and a black half side panel
Shorts : – Black with yellow trim
Socks : – Yellow with one black ring on turnover
A third 1-0 victory, this time over Watford, put Tottenham unbeaten at the top of the Premier League as the only team with a 100% record.
With results elsewhere leaving clubs with three successive wins, a victory over the Hornets would put Spurs at the top of the table with the international break meaning that would stay the same for 15 days. There was only one change made by Nuno Espirito Santo, with Kane restored to the starting line-up at the expense of Lucas Moura, while Watford lined up with a number of new signings, the latest of which was Moussa Sissoko, who moved to Vicarage Road just two days before this match.
The sun shone on the Tottenham Hotspur stadium as Watford kicked off with former Spurs Development defender William Troost-Ekong in their defence and Danny Rose on the bench. There were points to be proved by these ex-Spurs, as well as points to be won, after their disappointing 0-2 defeat at Brighton, but inside 20 seconds a fluffed clearance by goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann when the ball was played back to him saw Spurs turn into overdrive with Bergwijn playing the ball into the box for Harry Kane, where he was bundled over by Etebo with Andre Marriner feeling it was perfectly fair. It wasn’t a shoulder to shoulder but a shove in the back and this must be OK under this season’s interpretation of a foul. It could have turned out to be a worse decision, as Watford broke down their left wing and Dennis put the ball across the box, where Sissoko laid it back for Kucka to have a shot from just inside the area. It was heading for the top corner until Dier was heading it away for a corner. It was an important intervention that probably saved a goal, as the ball would have beaten Lloris.
Early on, Japhet Tanganga was having trouble with his distribution, putting a cross behind the goal when he had space and then mis-placing a few passes, but he settled down to have a solid game. Watford had the better of the first ten minutes, but Spurs gradually found their rhythm in the game, with Kane dinking a shot over the bar (a la Hoddle at Vicarage Road in 1983) when Hojbjerg played Reguilon’s cross on to Harry. There appeared to be space down the Spurs right and Tanganga stretched to reach Hojbjerg’s pass behind Masina and his cross came back to Steven Bergwijn, who hit it first time and it went over the bar, taking a deflection off Cathcart on the way. Hitting back, Sarr made inroads into the Spurs defence and hit a low shot that Hugo saved easily.
In the 20th minute, Spurs had a corner taken on the right by Son and with the six yard box crowded with players, the ball dropped at the near post for Tanganga to turn on it and his shot forced Bachmann to kick the ball away. It went into the mass of players in front of goal, but Watford had the good fortune for it to fall to one of their players who kicked the ball clear. Dennis was direct in running at the Tottenham back four and he put one cross low across the box, but there was no black and yellow hooped shirt to meet it and then he took forever lining up a free-kick from the left that he skied into the second tier of the South Stand.
After getting away with some heavy challenges by other players, Etebo took a yellow for a tackle going through Kane from behind just before the half hour and Eric Dier curled the free-kick over the wall, but the keeper shuffled across to take it comfortably to his chest. Spurs were more confident now and Sanchez headed over the crossbar from a corner and then another weak clearance by the Watford goalkeeper landed at Son’s feet and he turned to drag a shot across the goal and wide of the keeper’s right hand post. Dele then received a pass from Kane and his shot was easily saved and then our midfielder took a Bergwijn header down into the centre of the box and tried to lift it over the defenders around him, but it was headed back to the keeper by one of the Watford players.
Cathcart, who had been troubled by an injury earlier in the half, brought down Bergwijn to hand spurs a free-kick 25 yards out on the left. Son lined it up, with a number of players in the box again. He played the ball in with pace and as the players ran in, it bounced in the space between the players and the goalkeeper. Bachmann was indecisive in coming to claim it and it bounced past him into the net for a goal that was nearly as unusual as Paul Robinson’s against the Hornets in 2007 at the Lane. It was a bit of a relief, as Watford got lots of players back behind the ball and the chances Spurs had had not been as clear as they might have liked.
Son stumbled when bursting into the box and going down as Troost-Ekong came in, but another wave away from the referee didn’t produce a penalty but did see him chased by the Watford defender begging for a yellow card. Both Troost-Ekong and Sierralta seemed too interested in going into tackles with excessive force, shoving players around when the ball is dead and man-handling opponents rather than concentrating on their defending. No doubt, not wanting to show that they can be bullied, their rashness didn’t particularly help their cause. Troost-Ekong’s challenge on Son was not dis-similar to that that Etebo got booked for, but Marriner’s inconsistency let him get away with it and Kane slid into Dennis in frustration and did get booked. You don’t mind referees being crap, but they need to be consistently crap. That was it for the first half and Spurs went into the dressing room a goal to the good.
The second half started with Spurs going forward and after six minutes Cathcart had to be substituted after he went down again. Watford looked to try and get back into the game, but Kucka hit the ball way over from the edge of the box and then Moussa Sissoko pulled the ball back to the near post from the right and Sarr got to it, but his shot bounced off Sanchez’s block and popped gently up for Hugo to grab. When he threw the ball out to Skipp, Sissoko brought him down and was shown a yellow card for the foul that was not as bad as half of those that had gone in before. Davinson was in action at the other end of the pitch soon after, as a corner was played into the near post and he got there with a donkey kick that flew about a foot over the angle of the post and bar. Son then hit a cleared free-kick at goal and Bachmann caught it before releasing Sarr, who was brought down by Dele for another yellow card.
It looked like there might be another example of the “Rule of the Ex” just after the hour, as the ball came out to Sissoko following a corner, but lined up a shot that cleared the bar by some considerable distance. Watford’s passing was pretty shocking a lot of the time and the only time they kept possession for any length of time was inside their defensive third, passing the ball from side to side, so Spurs were presented with it quite often and normally inside the Watford half. One came when Son took the ball off a short pass to Kucka, played it forward down the right to Kane, who played a low pass back to the penalty spot where Dele had made a run, but he just dragged his shot a foot wide of the far post.
Bergwijn was replaced by Lucas Moura, to run at a tiring defence and Watford took off Sissoko, who received a good ovation from both sets of fans. The former Spurs midfielder was replaced by Tom Cleverley – the poor man’s Jamie O’Hara – whose first touch almost made an immediate impact, but probably not the one his manager would have been hoping for. After Lucas had a cross-shot pushed out by the keeper and a corner was cleared, Dele was brought down by Kucka from behind (no booking) and Spurs had a free-kick 25 yards out and dead centre on goal. Hojbjerg stepped up to take it and hit it low, but not with a great deal behind it, but Cleverley stuck out a foot, almost leaving his keeper stranded, but Bachmann got across to push the ball out for another corner as it headed just inside the post.
With a quarter of an hour to go, Son and Reguilon were working the ball on the left wing when it got away from Regi and Ngakia had it. The Spaniard tried to ease him off the ball and Marriner gave a free-kick to Watford. Nothing different to the “challenge” on Kane in the first minute … but, of course, that was in the area. Spurs had to withstand a little pressure from Watford, with a corner coming in, but Kucka fouled Skipp and the danger was gone. It was Spurs who came closest to scoring in the final few minutes, with Moura getting away from a couple of intended fouls to put the ball across goal, beating the keeper, but Troost-Ekong just got a touch to take the ball away from the unmarked Kane at the far post.
Skipp was booked for a foul on Sarr with five minutes left, but the resulting free-kick came to nothing and Spurs gave Son a rest by bringing on Bryan. Ngakia put in a decent cross from the right wing to the far post and substitute Cucho Hernandez went for a flying scissor kick, but missed it completely and looked a bit foolish. Cleverley was foolish too when a high ball was dropped by Lloris, but that was because the Watford sub had fouled him, thus ensuring that any threat to the Spurs goal disappeared. Spurs were then happy to keep the ball in the corner at the Watford end, which frustrated the visitors, although they had been time-wasting from the early stages of the match. Dennis got wound up and took out Lucas to make the booking score to 3-3.
It wasn’t the greatest game, but Spurs were well worth their three points. Set up to defend, Watford didn’t often look dangerous and their players were more intent on stopping Spurs playing than creating themselves. The only disappointing thing was that Watford didn’t bring on their sub Louza.
After the final whistle, Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko came round the pitch to say a goodbye to the Spurs fans, as neither really had a chance to. They got a great reception from the Spurs fans and it was probably better than they got form their own fans. Moussa did OK on his debut and will probably be a good singing for them and he wouldn’t have had to uproot his family by moving clubs. Although many of the players Watford had in their line-up were new to me, they weren’t that impressive. Dennis looks a menace and if he can channel his energy and aggression might be useful, Etebo is a bit like Kante-lite and Kucka is probably their ball-winner, but he needs to get the ball more of the time. King looked anonymous up front and if Deeney and Gray leave, they might be a striker light.
Some of our players are still feeling their way back and some have not featured as they are not fully fit, but there are signs again of a team unity that makes them more solid. There were less worrying moments than up at Wolverhampton last week, but Nuno said there are still improvements to be made and if the team continues to improve, maybe across the season we can compete with some of the big spenders. One of the big spenders is currently sitting in 20th place and although they will most likely move up from there eventually, it is worth making the most of the fact that the Woolwich Wanderers are plumb bottom without a goal !
Having been terrorised by Traore last week, Spurs were keen to prevent Ismaila Sarr to cause problems by getting to him early. It brought a couple of bookings, but more often the winger was stopped from making ground down the line. There is a new aggression from the Tottenham defence. Getting to the ball before it reaches the receiver and forcing opponents to lay the ball off early under pressure in making them turn over possession. The closing wasn’t as evident today, but the way Dier and Sanchez were willing to throw blocks to shots on goal demonstrate a determination to keep these clean sheets.
Long may the run continue !
The Heathrow Spur
Heung-Min Son played his 200 Premier League match for Spurs.
This was Tottenham’s 300th Premier League home win.
Nuno Espirito Santo became only the second Tottenham Hotspur manager to win his first three games in charge, with the previous one being Arthur Rowe.
The win was Nuno Espirito Santo’s 100th in English football.
It was only the seventh time that Spurs have won their first three matches of the season.
|Norwich City||1||Leicester City||2|
|West Ham United London||2||Crystal Palace||2|
|Manchester City||5||Woolwich Wanderers||0|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||0||Everton||2|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||Manchester United||1|
Premier League Table 2021-22
|2||West Ham United London||3||2||1||0||10||5||7||+5|
|8||Brighton & Hove Albion||3||2||0||1||4||3||6||+1|
|13||South Coast Big Club||3||0||2||1||4||6||2||-2|