Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur
K/O: 16:00 hours
Venue: Vicarage Road
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
Referee: Andre Marriner
A top of the table clash is on the agenda this Sunday as Watford host Tottenham Hotspur, with both teams claiming the maximum nine points so far.
The managers of both sides must be praised for their fast start to their respective campaigns and for getting the best out of their available squad. Javi Gracia for the first time has really been able to show the attacking prowess of his side, with his Watford team scoring seven goals in their opening three fixtures. Due to the quick start, the Hornets are unlikely to face any form of a relegation battle and can potentially start to aim higher than a mid-table finish.
Of course, Sunday presents Watford’s toughest challenge yet – a team who put three past Manchester United at Old Trafford last time out and have started the season just as impressively as Watford themselves. Beating Tottenham would signify the first time Watford have won four consecutive league games since 2015, and it would really underline Gracia’s ambitions for the season ahead. A loss would merely point out areas of improvement for the manager to work on but wouldn’t be taken with any form of disappointment.
Spurs have answered every question asked of them in the opening weeks of the new season. Mauricio Pochettino’s conservative attitude of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” suited Daniel Levy during the summer transfer window and the non-existent list of signings has not been a problem for Tottenham. In fact, it’s been far from it. A quick start is exactly what Pochettino wanted from his team, and with various issues surrounding the new stadium, two away wins has certainly alleviated some of the pressure in the early stages.
Most of the pre-season title-contender talk has centred around the foreseeable battle between Liverpool and Manchester City. But conversations have emerged about Tottenham’s potential to fight for the top spot and another win for the Lilywhites may warrant including them in the mix, especially as it would already be their third away win.
Roberto Pereyra has been Watford’s star man throughout their three victories, scoring three vital goals of the highest standard in the process. As a result, his confidence is sky high and we can expect him to cause the Tottenham defence some problems on Sunday. The Argentine has now scored ten Premier League goals in total and with Troy Deeney and André Gray eager to add to their tallies, Spurs have a lot to keep tabs on.
Watford have a few recovering players who could be fit enough to feature in Sunday’s clash. Okaka, Deulofeu, Chalobah and Britos are all in contention to be included in Gracia’s 18-man squad.
The North Londoners have an emerging star of their own in amongst their attack. Lucas Moura played alongside Harry Kane up front on Monday night, and is ahead of his prolific teammate in terms of goals scored. He was the standout performer in that match at Old Trafford and his blistering pace was pivotal in the margin by which Spurs won by. His agility and dribbling skills were not displayed to their full extent last season, and his renewed presence in the team makes him just as refreshing as a new signing.
Trippier, Rose and Lamela all have small niggling injuries that could justify a rotation in the squad, but apart from that it looks like Pochettino may stick with the same team that won against United, bar a possible inclusion of Davinson Sanchez.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Watford: Foster; Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra; Gray, Deeney.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dembélé, Dier, Eriksen, Alli; Moura, Kane.
Score Prediction: Watford 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
This match is a tough one to call and it’s likely to be a tale of two halves. Both teams have looked sharp in their opening matches, but I think Tottenham have the attacking quality to grab the fourth win from the hands of Watford.