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Tottenham vs. Watford: Team News, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info, Ticket News

Tottenham Hotspur left it late but secured a late 2-1 win over Watford in December. Can either take the win at White Hart Lane?
Tottenham Hotspur left it late but secured a late 2-1 win over Watford in December. Can either take the win at White Hart Lane?Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2016

Watford and Tottenham Hotspur's meeting at Vicarage Road in December was a tense, engrossing affair.

Odion Ighalo cancelled out Erik Lamela's 17th-minute opener just prior to half-time before Nathan Ake's sending off shortly after the interval looked to have tipped the balance in Tottenham's favour again. Instead, the resolute Hornets held firm and looked more likely to score during the remainder of the second half.

Odion Ighalo celebrates making it one apiece between Watford and Spurs last time out. The Hornets went awfully close to taking the lead in the second half.
Odion Ighalo celebrates making it one apiece between Watford and Spurs last time out. The Hornets went awfully close to taking the lead in the second half.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Cruel though the denouement of Spurs' stoppage-time winnera clever backheel by Heung-Min Sonwas for Watford, it did not detract from their fine effort. Now off the back of a strong showing in their 0-0 draw with champions Chelsea, Quique Sanchez Flores' men will be keen to show their mettle again against Mauricio Pochettino's high-flying north Londoners.

Watford defender Craig Cathcart is still disappointed at the aforementioned loss, one he believes they "were unlucky not to get anything out of." While aware of Spurs' continued good form, he is backing his side to give them another tough contest.

"They’ve been in really good form since then and carried on winning a lot of games, so we know it's going to be a really difficult place to go, the way they’re playing," Cathcart told his club's official website.

Watford look on despair after Heung-Min Son's late winner for Tottenham.
Watford look on despair after Heung-Min Son's late winner for Tottenham.OLLY GREENWOOD/Getty Images

"But we’re full of confidence from the last few games as we’ve picked up some really good points and progressed in the FA Cup, so we’ll be going there with a really positive attitude."

Now one of Tottenham's longest-serving players, right-back Kyle Walker believes the mood around the club right now has inspired them to their current promising position of fourth.

"In my seven years here, now is the best it’s been and it’s a fantastic atmosphere to play in," he told the Spurs website. "The togetherness and the team spirit that we have here with the players and with the manager is making a big difference and it’s a pleasure to be part of it all."

 

Date: Saturday, February 6

Time: 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

Venue: White Hart Lane, London

TV Info: No live UK broadcast, extended highlights from 10 p.m. on Sky Sports 1/NBCSN (U.S. only)

Live Stream: No UK stream/NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S. only)

Ticket Information: For ticket information on all Premier League games visit the official site or go to the ticket page on the home club's official website. Secondary ticket information for Tottenham can be found here.

 

Form Lines

Last Five Results
Tottenham HotspurWatford
Premier League, February 2: Norwich City (A)—Win: 0-3Premier League, February 3: Chelsea (H)—Draw: 0-0
FA Cup, January 30: Colchester United (A)—Win: 1-4FA Cup, January 30: Nottingham Forest (A)—Win: 0-1
Premier League, January 23: Crystal Palace (A)—Win: 1-3Premier League, January 23: Newcastle United (H)—Win: 2-1
FA Cup, January 20: Leicester City - replay (A)—Win: 0-2Premier League, January 18: Swansea City (A)—Loss: 1-0
Premier League, January 16: Sunderland (H)—Win: 4-1Premier League, January 13: Southampton (A)—Loss: 2-0
Both clubs' official websites

 

Team News

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino confirmed his side have no new injury concerns.

Ryan Mason is back in training while Dele Alli is over the illness that saw him substituted at half-time against Norwich. Clinton Njie and Jan Vertonghen remain out.

For Watford, Nathan Ake is available again after missing Wedneday's game against parent club Chelsea. According to BBC Sport, Miguel Britos and former Spurs player Etienne Capoue need to be assessed following illness.

 

Predicted Lineups

Bleacher Report Formation Builder

"It's very important our flexibility—you can see in different games how we play in possession of the ball and how we play out of possession," Pochettino said this week when asked about his use of three central defenders against Watford last time.

Spurs largely defended well against Watford last time but were still unable to stop Ighalo getting through at least once.
Spurs largely defended well against Watford last time but were still unable to stop Ighalo getting through at least once.OLLY GREENWOOD/Getty Images

"We have a very clever squad in that they can adapt in different circumstances."

The different circumstance of home familiarity rather than an away test could see the Tottenham boss trust in his normal use of a back four. But for now, looking ahead to Saturday's potential lineups, it is reasonable to assume Pochettino again intends to use an extra body against Watford's simpatico front two of Troy Deeney and Ighalo.

Though caught out for the goal scored by Watford in the previous match, Eric Dier's switch into defence in between Toby Alderweireld and Vertonghen mostly worked well. Until they overloaded Spurs late in the game, utilising set pieces and crosses, the home side had difficulty creating chances.

How Dier may fare this time in the role is subject to a couple of other changes.

Mousa Dembele went off injured last time against Watford and was missed thereafter. Since returning to fitness, he has again been a big presence in the Lilywhites' midfield.
Mousa Dembele went off injured last time against Watford and was missed thereafter. Since returning to fitness, he has again been a big presence in the Lilywhites' midfield.Stephen Pond/Getty Images

He will also be alongside Kevin Wimmerthe Austrian's unfamiliarity in a back three with the Englishman and Alderweireld is a possible point of exploitation for Watford. That's something Jose Manuel Jurado may be tasked with capitalising on if he is deployed in the central role from where his nimble footwork and positive passing caused problems against Chelsea.

The flexibility of Pochettino's squad is such Dier can easily move forward into his more familiar (nowadays) midfield role if necessary (or back if a more adventurous approach is leaving Spurs exposed). If not needed here, the likely Spurs midfield two will be in-form man Alli and Mousa Dembele.

Their battle with the possible midfield trio of Valon Behrami, Capoue and Ben Watson will be competitive, to say the least. Both groups possess oodles of athleticism and drive.

Aiding them and Spurs' attacking trio (Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane just about nailed-on starters, perhaps Nacer Chadli to combat Watford's more imposing elements) will be the width provided by the team's full-backs.

Quique Sanchez Flores and Mauricio Pochettino both have plenty to think about in regards to the selection of their respective teams, especially in defence.
Quique Sanchez Flores and Mauricio Pochettino both have plenty to think about in regards to the selection of their respective teams, especially in defence.OLLY GREENWOOD/Getty Images

Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier may again be called on after strong attacking displays at Vicarage Road and since. But Pochettino's thinking in terms of personnel in these positions is not so easy to predict of late.

Flores also has options in defence.

Cathcart could again be joined by Sebastian Prodl if Britos is not ready. Allan Nyom and Jose Holebas have been listed at full-back in the above graphic, but Ake and Juan Carlos Paredes have seen plenty of game time lately, too.

The Greek may be chosen to fight fire with fire against the similarly attack-minded Trippier.

 

Tottenham Hotspur Player to Watch: Eric Dier

As referenced earlier, Dier could be a key central figure tactically for Tottenham.

His could be the presence that shores up their defence and helps keep Watford’s attack at bay or perhaps an unintentional impediment to Alderweireld and Wimmer’s burgeoning centre-back partnership, upsetting the natural balance.

Eric Dier was in the thick of things against Watford last time and, one way or another, is likely to be again.
Eric Dier was in the thick of things against Watford last time and, one way or another, is likely to be again.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

You would bet on the former being more likely.

Dier played with Wimmer against Leicester City in the FA Cup when the Austrian enjoyed his best Spurs performance yet. Bar the one false presumption of the ball being dealt with that allowed Ighalo in behind them in December, Alderweireld and the younger player did not get in each other’s way (nor Vertonghen’s).

Be it in central defence or midfield, the 22-year-old is a joy to watch these days regardless. He's one of the few such players in the Premier League capable of inflicting fair, hard and timely punishment on opponents.

 

Watford Player to Watch: Heurelho Gomes

Gomes’ excellent late saves against Chelsea midweek brought to mind his similarly strong work for Tottenham back in the spring of 2010. Against the Blues and particularly Arsenal, the Brazilian’s reach and inspired reactions helped the north London club to two vital wins in their successful hunt for a Champions League place.

Heurelho Gomes is congratulated after a man-of-the-match display against Chelsea in midweek.
Heurelho Gomes is congratulated after a man-of-the-match display against Chelsea in midweek.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The mistake-fuelled undermining of confidence that led to Gomes losing his first-choice status at Spurs happily appears to be a thing of the past. He was instrumental in Watford’s promotion and has been near impeccable back in the top flight.

One of the few misjudgements this season was in his positioning in the run-up to Son’s goal against him. Far from embarrassing, but it's a slight smudge on the clean slate he has earned for himself at his current club.

Gomes has responded as one of the experienced hands in the Watford ranks should. On Saturday, Spurs fans should give him the warm reception he deserves for his part in one of the most significant spells in their club’s recent history. Understandably they will hope it does not precede one of his very best showings.

 

Key Battle: Which Defence Can Stay Strong Longest?

See the predicted lineups and Dier sections for the outline of how Tottenham's possible tactical change in defence could affect things.

Ighalo and Alderweireld are likely to see plenty of each other again on Saturday.
Ighalo and Alderweireld are likely to see plenty of each other again on Saturday.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Even if Pochettino does not switch to a five-man defence with three centre-backs, how Spurs deal with Deeney and Ighalo will be important all the same.

Stop the creative, unencumbered imaginations of these two forwards from coming to life and it will go a long way to slowing Watford down. Let them have their way and Spurs could be in for a long afternoon.

Down the other end, look out for how Watford deal with Tottenham on the break and being assaulted directly.

Both against Spurs (Lamela's goal) and in recent games against Newcastle United and Chelsea, the Hornets have shown a susceptibility to such assaults. Between the long balls forward of Alderweireld and the quick-thinking work of those like Eriksen and Kane in transition, they will be provoked.

 

Odds (via Odds Shark)

Tottenham win: 10-21

Watford win: 25-4

Draw: 33-10

 

Quotes and team news obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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