Spurs will be looking for a fast start to 2017 when they take on Watford at Vicarage Road this Sunday.
It’s going to take some time getting used to typing 2017. Spurs travel to Watford for one of the admittedly least sexy London derbies on offer. Watford are hanging onto a place in the top half of the table following a last-gasp draw against Allardyce’s Crystal Palace. Spurs seemed to be back to their flamboyant best as they routinely dismantled Southampton at St Mary’s. This game is especially important for travelling Spurs, as the top six sides in the league seem to be cultivating a substantial lead over the rest of the league. Any slip up from Pochettino’s men will be exploited by the likes of United and Arsenal.
Watford v Tottenham Hotspurs | Sunday 1 January | Vicarage Road
To Win (90 Mins)
Watford 17/4 | Draw 26/10 | Tottenham 13/20
Watford performed a complete Jekyll and Hyde act against Palace, seemingly roused out of dormancy for a barnstorming second half performance. They were once again exposed defensively by the pace of Townsend and Benteke. They will need to be mindful of Spurs’ multitude of attacking options.
The movement of Danny Rose will need to be monitored or else I anticipate a long afternoon for the Hornets. They have two significant new injuries concerns in the absence of Janmaat and Behrami. The Swiss stopper will be especially missed, particularly in marking the elusive and beguiling figure of Dele Alli.
I expect that they will continue to operate with a 3-5-2 formation, with Amrabat potentially moving into the right full-back role vacated by Janmaat. There will be huge pressure on the likes of Zuniga and Capoue to remain stoic in their defensive roles. They will have little or no choice but to operate with Deeney alongside Ighalo, a pattern that Mazzari has seemed slightly reluctant to utilize of late.
Spurs have their own mini suspension crisis to navigate, with both Kyle Walker and Jan Verthongen missing out due to yellow card accumulation. This presents a potential calamity, especially if Alderweireld has yet to recover. My hunch is that the Belgian will make his return in their time of need. Danny Rose was immense against Southampton and will be mindful that Watford are without key right full-back Janmaat. Additionally, Behrami’s absence should encourage Alli and Son to attack freely on the counter.
Harry Kane - despite one quite comical penalty miss - seems to be back on the right track and will prove a handful for the Hornets. There just seems to be too much craft in this Spurs side going forward, with Son likely to come in for Sissoko. Lamella continues to be absent due to a hip injury, while the combination of Wanyama and Dembele provides a solid core for the entire side. Trippier may still be injured himself, which will likely see Wimmer enter the side as Dier switches to right-back.
Verdict: Spurs Win 13/20
Fronting up absent player to absent player, Watford come off far worse. Rose is going to give them nightmares down that left-hand side.
Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets