Last Monday when Spurs won 0:3 at Old Trafford I thought that although that they were fast and sharp when they were going forward they were a bit lucky that Manchester United missed their chances. When a goof ball team wins it changes both the perceptions and expectations of the fans, pundits, experts, everyone. It takes only few wins and people usually start overestimating the chances of a football team to achieve something big.
Spurs have been progressing under Mauricio Pochettino within the last few season and season 2015/16 they have been the main title contender. In some part of the this memorable Premier League season it looked that Spurs, not Leicester City would with the title. However, Tottenham eventually slipped at the end of the season and even finish 3rd, one point behind Arsenal. The season 2015/16 was the one when Spurs champed the status quo in the Premier League’s top four. Until then the tops spots in the league looked more or less “reserved” for Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and on few ocassions Liverpool.
The expectations for season 2018/19 are that Tottenham are one step closer to the Premier League title!
Before the weekend have started the expectations were that Spurs will got to Vicarage Road and get all the points. The most popular names in English Premier League predictions Mark Lawrenson and Paul Merson have projected Watford vs Tottenham game respectively as a 1:2 and 0:3 win for Spurs.
Mark Lawrenson said “Both these teams have started really well. With Watford, I always worry they will have that dip and look like a team cascading towards relegation – but I like the manager. Tottenham did seem to miss the boat by not signing anyone during the summer transfer window, but they have some really good players.”
Paul Merton justified the prediction that Spurs will win by 0:3, by saying “Spurs have to cement what they did on Monday at Old Trafford. You can’t go to Manchester United and win and then drop points, or even lose, at Watford. It’ll be a tough game for Spurs but they normally do well there and have ripped them to shreds in the past. Watford have started well, they were my team to go down but they’ve got virtually a quarter of the points they need already and we’re three weeks into the season. They’ve got a bit more about them than Huddersfield, who started well and stayed up last season. They’ve got players who can do something in a game, like Roberto Pereyra and Troy Deeney.”
In the COL’s “Winning Picks” we have also predicted that Spurs will win. We thought it is going to be 1:2 victory for the North London based team.
“Maybe you cannot play so well but you need to win this type of game if you want to be a contender at the end.”
Spurs have played well and missed few chances to score, but they have also allowed Watford to create to many opportunities in front of the goal. The Hornet have been dangerous in both halves and deserved to win.
Last week wen Lucas Moura raided Manchester United defence it looked like that Spurs visit at Vicarage Road would be easier than the one to Manchester. Mauricio Pochettino started with Harry Kane on top and Lucas Moura as his partner in the attack in a 3-5-2 formation in which Ben Davies and Kieran Tripper have played on the flanks, while Dele All, Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen were credited to win the battle in the midfield. The back three for Spurs were Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld.
Spurs should have defended with at least 6 and go forward with 6 players in a game where they should have played against one of the so called- lesser Premier League teams. Nothing when as expected however. Watford have started attacking and in the 2nd minute Roberto Pereyra has been caught offside.
Dele All missed a good opportunity to score for Spurs in the first half. However, Spurs have been fortunate to take the lead in 54th minute when Abdoulaye Doucoure has scored own goal. Later on Toby Alderweireld’s header would have made it 1:1 if it didn’t came off the bar.
Jose Holebas and Roberto Pereyra and Troy Deeney have played very well for Watford and it didn’t’t take a lot of the time for the Hornet’s captains Deeney to equalize.
After the game Pochettino said that “to consider two goals this way is very painful” and added that “if you want to win you need to show that character”. “Maybe you cannot play so well but you need to win this type of game if you want to be a contender at the end”, added the Spurs manager and those words say everything.
In a similar meaner, another title contender – Liverpool haven’t played well on Saturday on their visit to Leicester. However, the Jurgen Klopp’s side has taken the lead by 0:2 and only Alisson Becker’s mistake allowed to the Foxes to score. Spurs looked a bit better against Watford than Liverpool on their visit to King Power stadium. Unlike them the Reds won their game, however. Both teams play on 15th of September in a game which might increase the current gap between them to 6 points. It is also a good opportunity for Spurs to level with Liverpool in the table.
It is too early to make conclusion about whether Spurs are genuine title contender or not, but this weekend they haven’t look like a team who could win the Premier League. They have probably been a bit unlucky to play against a side which was at its best at the moment. There will be always in-form teams like Watford who would play very well at different stages at the season.
If Spurs want to challenge for the title they must win when the play against them. Last weekend they failed to do so. it is not about the way Spiurs played or about their formation at Vicarage Road. Pochettino’s team have had enough bodies in the midfield and they should have restricted Watford to fewer chances.
After their home game against Liverpool Spurs go to Milano to play Inter in the Champions League, then visit Brighton and and play another game against Watford for the Football League Cup, this time at home. The next two games for the North London team are trips to Huddersfield and Barcelona in another Champions League clash. The premier League fixtures against Brighton and Huddersfield don’t seem to look like the toughest ones, but it was the same with the visit to Watford.
Hornets have already picked 12 points out of their first four opening games and those are more than 25% of the points they need to keep their Premier League status. like Watford Brighton and Huddersfield Town are also team who’s primary concern is to keep their places in the English top flight. Both away fixtures will be tests for the Spurs ability to get all the points games which each and every title contender must win.