Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping for an upturn in fortunes when they travel to Vicarage Road to face Watford on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur haven’t had the best of starts in 2020, having failed to win in three of their four matches in all competition. Even their only victory came against Championship outfit Middlesbrough, in the FA Cup 3rd round replay in midweek.
These poor set of results have seen Tottenham slip to eighth in the league table, a whopping nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. Hence, securing all three points against Watford this weekend could be imperative as Jose Mourinho’s side look to kickstart their recovery in the second half of the campaign.
That being said, Watford, who have been one of the worst teams in the division this season, have fared extremely well following the arrival of Nigel Pearson. The Hornets have won four of their last five fixtures in the Premier League. As a result, they have now managed to escape the relegation zone, though they only have a slender one-point advantage over Aston Villa.
But, given their incredible run of form heading into this fixture, Watford will certainly be confident of their chances of toppling Tottenham this weekend. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides when they lock horns at the Vicarage Road.
Tactics & Team News
Despite the good form, Pearson has had to deal with a host of absentees throughout his ongoing spell at Watford. The likes of Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Sebastian Prodl and Kiko Femenia are already ruled out with injuries and won’t feature this weekend.
Moreover, Abdoulaye Doucoure was apparently taking painkillers in the win over Bournemouth. Hence, he remains a doubt heading into this fixture. Roberto Pereyra is in line to replace the Frenchman in the number ten slot if he fails to return to full fitness this weekend. We do, however, expect Doucoure to feature against Tottenham Hotspur.
There is a hype surrounding the potential involvement of new signing Ignacio Pussetto. And although Pearson did hint that the Argentine could play against Spurs this weekend, he is likely to be utilised as a substitute, meaning Ismaila Sarr is expected to retain his place at right-wing.
Similarly, Gerard Deulofeu is also a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank while the Watford attack will be led by Troy Deeney. The 31-year-old will be keen on extending his scoring tally, having netted just four goals this term.
As for the defence, it is likely to remain unchanged, with Pearson hoping his team to replicate their defensive performance against Bournemouth last time out. But, we could expect Christian Kabasele, back from a two-game suspension, to replace Craig Dawson in central defence.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Foster; Mariappa, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Chalobah, Capoue; Sarr, Doucoure, Deulofeu; Deeney
Mourinho will most likely shift to a three-man backline this weekend, despite playing with a 4-2-3-1 against Middlesbrough. The change in the defensive setup will allow Japhet Tanganga to retain his place in the side, though he will have to feature as the right-sided central defender this time. He could form the backline alongside Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez.
Serge Aurier was given a breather in the win over Middlesbrough. He is almost guaranteed to return to the side and operate as the right wing-back. Ryan Sessegnon, meanwhile, could make way for Danny Rose on the opposite flank.
Gedson Fernandes has arrived on loan from SL Benfica recently. Mourinho has already confirmed that the new signing will be a part of the team that faces Watford this weekend. However, we don’t expect the Portuguese youngster to be given a berth in the starting lineup just yet although he could feature as a substitute.
That means Harry Winks could once again start at the base of Spurs’ 3-5-2, with Giovani Lo Celso and Dele Alli operating in slightly advanced roles.
And finally, the Tottenham attack is expected to be led by the offensive duo of Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min, both of whom have struggled with lack of consistency in recent weeks. Hence, they will have a point to prove, especially with Harry Kane out injured.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Gazzaniga; Tanganga, Alderweireld, Sanchez; Aurier, Alli, Winks, Lo Celso, Rose; Moura, Son
- Watford have won just one of their 13 Premier League matches against Tottenham.
- Spurs have won two of their last nine away league visits to Watford, picking up just a single point from their last two games at Vicarage Road.
- Watford are looking to win four consecutive home top-flight games within the same season for the first time since December 1986.
- Watford have won 13 points under manager Nigel Pearson – only runaway leaders Liverpool and Manchester City have won more points since his first game in charge.
- Tottenham are one of just two sides yet to keep an away clean sheet in the Premier League this season, along with Aston Villa.
Player to Watch
While there is no doubt a cloud of optimism surrounding the potential debut of new signing Gedson, Mourinho will definitely keep an eye on the performance of Tanganga. The youngster raised quite a lot of eyebrows with his performance against Liverpool earlier this month while he also featured in the win over Middlesbrough.
Tanganga’s potential breakout could minimise the need of a right-back, although he’d still be featuring as a central defender this weekend.
Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how he copes with the challenge of facing Deulofeu on the far side. And with the Spaniard in full form, it is fair to say that Tanganga’s performance could pretty much shape the fate of the Tottenham defence this weekend.
Watford 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Watford have impressed the onlookers with their improved mentality and incredible aggression and work-rate under Pearson. And with the home support, the Hornets are huge favourites to seal all three points against a Tottenham side, who have looked dejected, to say the least.