Watford vs Tottenham: Match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Tottenham will be aiming to close the gap between themselves and the top four when they travel to Vicarage Road on New Years’ Day to face an inconsistent Watford side.
Spurs found their way past Southampton a few days ago in a convincing 4-1 victory, with England duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli getting on the score-sheet after the in-demand Virgil van Dijk put the Saints ahead after only two minutes.
Kane then also missed a penalty after Nathan Redmond was dismissed early in the second-half for dragging down Alli when through on goal, before Son Heung-Min latched on to Christian Eriksen’s cross-field pass to put the game past Southampton.
Alli then doubled his tally for the night late on to see Spurs return to one point behind Arsenal.
Watford’s last time out saw them face Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace in his first match in charge, and Troy Deeney’s second-half penalty cancelled out Yohan Cabaye’s early opener to see them take the short trip home across London with a point, putting them into the top half of the table.
Despite currently sitting in the top half of the Premier League table, Watford haven’t managed to find any consistency so far this season.
Their last ten Premier League matches have seen three wins, two draws and five defeats, beating Everton at Vicarage Road but losing to relegation-threatened Stoke and Sunderland.
In a congested mid-table, where only seven point separate Watford in tenth and Sunderland in the relegation spots, Walter Mazzarri will know his side need to improve their away form; the Hornets have only accumulated eight points outside of Vicarage Road, with two wins in nine matches.
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Tottenham are also a side struggling with their away form this season, and before their thumping of Southampton they hadn’t won in five outings and had lost in consecutive away games to top four rivals Chelsea and Manchester United.
Fortunately for Spurs they remain unbeaten at White Hart Lane in the Premier League this season, and their home form has kept them in the hunt for the top four.
Both Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen are suspended for the trip to Watford after both picked up their fifth booking of the season at Southampton, whilst Toby Alderweireld is a doubt due to a virus.
This could open the door for Eric Dier to return to the side as a make-shift centre-back, with Kieran Trippier the likely candidate to take Walker’s spot on the right hand side of their back four.
For Watford, Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami are suffering knocks from the Boxing Day draw against Crystal Palace, and forward Stefano Okaka remains a doubt.
Deeney could also be set for a return to the starting-line up after scoring his 100th Watford goal, helping them to a share of the points last time out.
With Watford already seeing off the likes of Everton and Manchester United at Vicarage Road this season, and Spurs only winning one of their last six away games, the visitors could be in for a tough afternoon on New Years’ Day.
Especially with notable absentees in their defence, Watford will fancy their chances of turning over a Tottenham outfit looking to push their way into the battle for Champions League spots.
Yet with Tottenham’s attacking options flourishing once again at Southampton, taking their few chances clinically, the possibility of a high-scoring encounter is high.
Spurs will know how important a win could be to their season, and will be high on confidence after their previous away showing, but Watford will push them all the way and capitalise on the lack of personal in the Tottenham back line.
Predicted Score – Watford 2-2 Tottenham