Watford vs Tottenham: Spurs needed a stoppage-time goal from Davinson Sanchez to do it, but they kicked off 2022 with three points at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
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The victory extends Antonio Conte’s unbeaten run to start his Tottenham (33 points) tenure to eight games (5W-3D-0L). Spurs now sit 5th in the Premier League table (ahead of West Ham’s game against Crystal Palace later on Saturday), now two points above the Hammers and Manchester United in 6th and 7th, respectively. Tottenham are now just two points behind 4th-place Arsenal, who have played two more games thus far.
Watford, meanwhile, remain 17th in the table, perilously close to the relegation zone, still just two points above Burnley and Newcastle, and three ahead of last-place Norwich.
Watford vs Tottenham final score, stats, results
Final score: Watford 0, Tottenham 1
Goal scorers: Watford (None), Tottenham (Sanchez 90’+5)
Shots: Watford 6, Tottenham 21
Shots on target: Watford 4, Tottenham 9
Possession: Watford 26%, Tottenham 74%
3 things we learned – Watford vs Tottenham
1. Spurs creating more chances: Through seven Premier League games under Antonio Conte, Tottenham were defensively solid without setting the opposition’s penalty area alight with high-percentage scoring chances. Watford, with their 35 goals conceded in 17 games, appeared on the fixture list at exactly the right time. The chances were there, as Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura combined to create a few high-quality chances while Watford sunk deeper and deeper into their own half, only to steal the three points very late on from a let set piece.
2. Nothing from midfield: As good as Spurs have been defensively under Conte (and the attack is slowly coming along, as discussed), nothing will be “fixed” until someone — anyone — in the midfield provides a bit of support and creativity to aid the front line. As things currently stand, Tottenham create their best chances on the counter-attack and set pieces, which is to be expected from a side that regularly starts Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp/Harry Winks in central midfield. Tanguy Ndombele was supposed to be that difference maker, but he’s looking set for a January exit instead, and Giovani Lo Celso might realize a similar fate. A central midfielder to link the defense to attack should be no. 1 on Conte’s wish list.
3. Progress for Watford: Despite the result (and its gutting nature), Watford were massively improved defensively. Sure, Spurs had their chances, but precious few were the result of the comical defending and haphazard mistakes that threatened to become the story of the season.
Man of the Match: Son Heung-min – The South Korean got the assist on the game’s only goal, nearly scored one himself and completed a half-dozen dribbles in the final third.
Watford vs Tottenham highlights
Davinson Sanchez rises up to head home in stoppage time (goal video)
Following a brief stoppage in play for a reported medical emergency in the stands, Spurs made the most of a dangerous free kick. Son whipped a delightful ball to the top of the six-yard box, and Sanchez attacked it with a ferocity not previously seen from him.