Yes we can!
Spurs moved up into second place in the Premier League after overcoming a tricky test in Watford who defended resolutely for most of the game. Spurs haven’t finished in the top two of the Premier League ever and haven’t accomplished the feat in England’s top tier since 1963 and this win over Watford has surely now given Spurs the rights to be recognised as true title contenders.
The Hotspurs had 26 shots compared to Watford’s 3 and were frustrated mainly by former player Heurelho Gomes who was returning to White Hart Lane for the first time alongside former Spurs Etienne Capoue. Young Dele Alli had to sit out the first half due to the physio’s advice after complaining of feeling dizzy during the Norwich game midweek. Upon his coming on at half time, Spurs looked to have new life and it was his appearance that really lifted the Spurs players and the 36,000 crammed in to White Hart Lane which was, once again, sold out. It was his assist from which Kieran Trippier could tap home to give Spurs the advantage, an advantage they held onto until the final whistle.Embed from Getty Images
Fullbacks a real threat
Tottenham have great competition in the full-back spots and surprisingly, as not normally seen in one of England’s top teams, all 4 are British. Danny Rose and Ben Davies compete for the left back spot and it is Kieran Trippier who has been getting starts over Kyle Walker in recent games.
Trippier and Davies both started for Spurs in this game and created chances as well as having some fall to them. Davies had several first half opportunities and it was Trippier’s first goal for the club that gave Spurs the full three points. Throughout the full 90 minutes, they were threatening out on the flanks and caused Watford real problems with their crosses who struggled to clear the ball at times.
This competition for a place in the starting eleven is bringing the best out of all 4 fullbacks.
Was it only the ref who had a bad game?
The only complaint Spurs fans will have currently is that they didn’t leave the Lane with more goals to their name. They would have been able to add to their single goal if Roger East had awarded a penalty when Gomes came rushing out off his line and bundled into Kane who went down in the box. Soft free-kicks were being given to Watford all over the pitch and some would say that former Spurs Etienne Capoue deserved to be sent off following his appalling challenge mid-way into the second half – he already had a yellow and had it been anyone else it would have been a yellow.
Roger East has had bad games in the past, including Liverpool’s win over Bolton this time last year in the FA Cup. Following the game, Bolton manager Neil Lennon described East as ‘rubbish’ – “I thought he was rubbish. I thought he spoiled what was a good game”.
Perhaps he was slightly biased to Watford after a harsh goal went against them in the reverse fixture in December?Embed from Getty Images
Did Spurs really need to sign a striker in January?
Spurs have been impressive in attack all season and have a variety of options up front, albeit they only have one recognised out and out striker in Harry Kane. Pochettino insists that Nacer Chadli can play up front and he has 5 goals this season, 4 recently after returning from a spell on the side-lines due to injury, and that Heung-min Son can also play as a striker.
Spurs’ attacking trio of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen performed excellently against Norwich and it is that competition for that fourth place that is interesting. Erik Lamela’s work-rate has improved dramatically this season and he already has 8 goals to his name, although none recently. Nacer Chadli has been on the score-sheet recently and Son has also. Son’s work-rate has always been excellent and it looks like, at the moment, Pochettino is slightly favouring the South Korean although he didn’t start today’s game.
This attacking competition gives Spurs enough options up front according to the ultimate football mind John Motson – perhaps he is right?
Will being under the radar aid Tottenham?
With full focus being turned on Manchester City’s clash with Leicester, Spurs’ jump into second has largely gone under the radar, despite Pochettino being constantly asked whether his team are title challengers. Spurs have been known to break under pressure – will this Spurs side do the same? Under the days of Harry Redknapp in the 2011-12 season when Spurs looked to have secured Champions League football, they collapsed at this time last season (after game week 25), not winning any of their next 5 games.
Spurs face a difficult away trip to Manchester City next followed by a game at home against Swansea before travelling across London to tackle West Ham. Spurs will regard all three games as pivotal in their challenge for the title. Surely they can’t crack under pressure again?