Tottenham will look to build on their perfect start to the new season when they play host to the newly-promoted Watford side on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur will aim to start the campaign with three consecutive Premier League wins for only the second time in 12 years when they welcome Watford on Matchday 3 this weekend.
Nuno Espirito Santo has enjoyed a confident start in the Tottenham dugout with three victories and three clean sheets from his first four games in charge. He laid the foundations of solidity and build-up play from the back. Following consecutive 1-0, Premier League wins over Manchester City and Wolves Wanderers, the club cruised to a 3-0 triumph over Pacos de Ferreira in their Europa Conference League qualifying playoff on Thursday.
Harry Kane scored a brace on his return to the starting lineup on Thursday night, demonstrating his restored dedication to his team’s objectives. It might not have been the apex of Spurs’ aspirations, but Kane’s involvement in such a magnificent team performance boosted the ambience among the loyal Lillywhites’ fanbase.
On the other hand, Watford set the course of a gruelling season ahead with a sloppy performance in their 2-0 defeat to Brighton last weekend as they only managed one shot on goal. The Hornets quickly recovered from the setback by registering a narrow 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the midweek’s Carabao Cup tie to advance into the 3rd round of the competition, thanks to a late goal from debutant Ashley Fletcher.
The last time these sides met at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was in October 2019, when Dele Alli struck a late equalizer to steal a 1-1 stalemate for the hosts. Watford will be keen to avoid the relegation fears by putting as many points as they can onboard early in the season. Head coach Xisco Munoz will need a spirited performance from his side if they are to salvage anything from this tie.
The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Nuno has no injury headaches, with only fringe players Joe Rodon and Cameron Carter-Vickers missing the game due to respective injuries. Spurs have also announced the sale of midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who has joined weekend opponents Watford after spending five years with the North London club. Tanguy Ndombele, meanwhile, remains out of favour under the new manager.
Nuno will be likely to keep the 4-3-3 system with solidity and fluidity at its base. After a brilliant brace on Thursday night, Tottenham superstar Harry Kane would go straight back in the lineup at Steven Bergwijn’s expense.
Hugo Lloris, Japhet Tanganga and Sergio Reguilon are all expected to be back into the starting eleven following the midweek rest, while record signing Cristian Romero will be pushing for a first league start ahead of either Eric Dier or Davinson Sanchez after putting a composed ball-playing display in the midweek.
The midfield three will contain Dele Alli in a more advanced role, while Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Oliver Skipp will provide the screening and gritty work to protect the defence.
The perfect chemistry between Kane and Son Heung-min can again be witnessed as they will lead the line in a front-three attack alongside Brazilian Lucas Moura. Bryan Gil looked lively in the midweek game and can make his Premier League debut as a substitute off the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lloris; Tanganga, Romero, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Skipp, Alli; Moura, Kane, Son
Watford, meanwhile, have secured several shrewd acquisitions this summer window, with the likes of Joshua King, Juraj Kucka and Ashley Fletcher all joining the roster. However, they are still to inspire the team. They looked light in the midfield and addressed the issue by bringing experience players in Ozan Tufan and Moussa Sissoko earlier this week.
Manager Xisco Munoz would already be under considerable stress, as Watford hierarchy are very notorious for dismissing managers regularly if things don’t go their way. The Hornets will miss Kucka and Nathaniel Chalobah due to leg injury and illness, respectively. Joao Pedro is ruled out for the North London trip as he remains in rehab following his knee injury. Ozan Tufan will also be unavailable.
Xisco made seven changes in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in midweek’s cup game and is expected to return to the 4-1-4-1 formation that he fielded against Brighton away last week.
With Ben Foster on the sidelines sustaining a hamstring niggle, Munoz preferred Daniel Bachmann, who will remain between the sticks. Ex-Tottenham man Danny Rose could start at left-back against his former employers with the rest of the backline consisting of Kiko Femenia, Christian Kabasele and William Troost-Ekong.
Peter Etebo will act as a hard-tackling holding midfielder shielding the defence. The quartet of Tom Cleverley, Imran Louza, Ismaila Sarr and Joshua King will be just behind the main striker Emmanuel Dennis. The major weapon in Watford’s locker is their pace and trickery up front.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Bachmann; Femenia, Troost-Ekong, Kabasele, Rose; Etebo; Sarr, Louza, Cleverley, King; Dennis
- Watford have a terrible record on road against Tottenham, as they have lost nine of their past ten league trips to the north London club.
- Watford have failed to pick up any points from their last seven top-flight away games and were not able to trouble the scorers on five occasions.
- Harry Kane boasts a fine record against Watford, having netted three goals and laid two assists in 8 appearances.
- Tottenham have only lost one of their previous 16 league matches against Watford (9 wins, 6 draws), falling 2-1 at Vicarage Road back in Sept ember2018.
- It is fair to say that the Hornets certainly don’t like the limelight of London trips, winning just two of their past 22 league games in the capital.
Player to Watch
It would be an understatement to say that Tottenham are reliant on Harry Kane. He is not only their talisman goal scorer, but he is also the chief creator, and his hold-up play was sorely missed at times this term. He brings the likes of Son, Alli and Moura into the game with his exceptional passing ability. Almost every Spurs’ attack goes through him, or either he will be on the end of it.
Kane brings with him the graceful finishing and poacher’s instinct, which Spurs lacked when they played without a recognized striker for the first couple of weeks. With him back into the fold and firing goals again, the incredible chemistry between Kane and Son can decide Tottenham’s fortune in the long term under the tutelage of head coach Nuno.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Watford
Tottenham are riding high following a strong start to their season, and with Harry Kane deciding to stay for the foreseeable future, the positivity among the fanbase will be immense.
There’s a bit of sluggishness about Watford’s setup, Xisco built his system around defensive resilience and organization, but they look flat when it fails. Ismaila Sarr is the only source of spark and creativity; if Tottenham handle him, it could be battle half won for the Lilywhites. The Hard Tackle is, thus, predicting a comfortable 2-0 win for the hosts with the combo of Son and Kane set to cause wreckage.