Watford’s 2-2 draw away at Chelsea coupled with the 3-0 thumping of Liverpool last week has cemented the Hornets as a Premier League team. Many expected the newly promoted side to be languishing in the relegation area but they have proven everybody wrong with an exciting brand of football that has surprised fans and opponents alike. When they host Spurs on Monday, it is a true test of whether or not they can go the distance with the Lilywhites set for a top four finish and a return to the Champions League.
Tottenham’s 3-0 victory over Norwich has lifted them comfortably into fourth spot, especially with Manchester United’s defeat at Stoke. Harry Kane has proved his doubters that he is not just a one season wonder, despite a slow start. The English striker has netted nine goals in his last nine Premier League appearances and has been one of the reasons that Spurs have turned the early season draws into victories.
Part of Watford’s success this season has been the ability to keep their best players fit and healthy. They have not missed key men Troy Deeney or Odion Ighalo this season and Gomes’ consistency has been vital for their movement up the table.
Tottenham have also been fairly clear of injuries so far and only Clinton N’jie and Alex Pritchard will miss the short trip to Vicarage Road. The consistency in the Spurs line up has also been one of the main reasons that the team has gelled together so well.
The last time these two sides met was in the FA Cup back in 2012, which resulted in a 1-0 win for Spurs thanks to a Rafael van der Vaart goal. From the twenty two players who featured that day, only three remain in line to play on Monday: Troy Deeney, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. The Watford captain will hope his team will be able to prevent a repeat of that occasion.
Overall, when the two North London sides have faced each other, Spurs have been overwhelmingly more successful. Winning 24 of the 39 meetings and drawing 8, Tottenham will have to ensure that they aren’t too complacent because this Watford team is very capable of beating anyone in this division, as they have proved so far this season.
Troy Deeney – The captain has been essential for his team’s success and he has contributed more than just goals. His influence and love for the club is visible and his partnership with Ighalo has been almost telepathic at times. His assists and overall build up play have been underrated by most as he has notched 6 goals and 6 assists so far this campaign. He will be hoping that his goalkeeper, Gomes, will not replicate some of his antics against his former team that saw him carted out of White Hart Lane all those years ago.
Harry Kane – The young forward has been in great from in recent weeks, netting goals against Southampton and Norwich in his last two outings but Watford pose a tougher test and he will need to be at his best if Spurs are to come away with anything. The Watford defence has been surprising in their stoutness and ability to keep out the opposition, especially at home. Kane will need Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela to be particularly creative when the two teams meet.
This game is very difficult to predict because of Watford’s abilities at both ends of the pitch and you never quite know what Spurs team is going to show up, especially having played two days prior. Fatigue will almost certainly play a factor and I would expect to see some form of rotation from both sides given the quick turnaround.
Tottenham have been a lot more consistent under Mauricio Pocchetino and this could well be their year to enter themselves into the title race, given the open nature of the league. Watford, on the other hand, have taken 13 points from their last 15 available so will be full of confidence and hoping that they can add to their tally against rivals Tottenham.
I predict a 1-1 draw.