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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford F.C.: Match Preview, Projected Lineups & Predictions

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Tomorrow's Match Ain't Gonna Be Easy

Harry Engels/Getty Images

Just two days removed from their 3-0 victory over Norwich City, Tottenham travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford F.C. on Monday. Winning two games on the trot, Spurs own the Premier League's longest current win streak, which says all anyone needs to know about this nontraditional Premier League season.

Spurs remain fourth, but with Manchester United and Crystal Palace dropping points on Saturday, they moved into sole possession of that spot. With Leicester and Arsenal both losing, Tottenham are just six points off top position, four points off second, and trail Manchester City by three points for third. Spurs face a tough opponent in Watford, but this week's fixture list has big implications for both the title race and Tottenham's aims to finish in the top four. Manchester United and Chelsea, two clubs in shambles yet challengers for the top four nonetheless, face-off while Leicester and Manchester City jockey for first place position. If Spurs can win, they will be guaranteed to pick up crucial points against their direct competition.

Watford are having a remarkable season. They sit seventh in the Premier League with twenty-nine points, are level with Manchester United on point total, are just three points behind Spurs for fourth place, and are two, three, and ten points clear of perennially formidable clubs Liverpool, Everton, and Chelsea respectively. Their plus five goal differential impresses as well, but it makes sense when looking at the Hornet's potent attack. Odion Ighalo's thirteen goals puts him in second place in scoring, two goals ahead of Harry Kane, and he has been a handful for defenses all year. He is complemented by longtime Hornet Troy Deeney, who is also having a fine campaign with six goals and four assists. Former Spurs players Etienne Capoue and Heurelho Gomes should start for Watford; they are both having strong campaigns and should be up for a match against their previous club. Watford drew 2-2 to Chelsea on Saturday and have won four of their last five matches.

Spurs have a clean bill of health and no new injuries to report. Can their superior depth and pedigree nab three points away, from an in-form side, with a dangerous attack and disciplined defense? Only time will tell, but it certainly is an important match for Spurs aspirations for the top four and beyond.

How to Watch

Date/time: Monday, December 28, 3:00 p.m. (UK), 10:00 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Vicarage Road, Hertfordshire, London, UK
Official: Anthony Taylor
TV: NBC Sports Network (USA), not televised (UK), TSN4 (Canada), Fox Sports 4 (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBCS Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also BBC Radio London and TalkSport

Projected Lineup

A decent amount of changes are expected for tomorrow's match. Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose should rotate for Saturday's fullback pairing, Kyle Walker and Ben Davies. Mousa Dembélé's ankle injury, however slight, might see him rested. In his place will be Tom Carroll, who will be rewarded for his quality performance (and goal!) against Norwich. Finally, Son Heung-min will get the nod. Eriksen and Lamela put in great shifts on Saturday, but I'd find it hard-pressed for Son not to start to get some fresh legs into the attack. Though undeserving of a spot on the bench, I think Erik Lamela will make way for Son. Look for him to be an impact sub for either Alli or Eriksen as the game wears on.

Tottenham - Football tactics and formations

Prediction League

Only Skipjack did not predict a Spurs win, probably because he hates Holidays, merriment, and cheer. Ben Daniels, 55thVin, Salmon Chase from the "club" section of an unnamed Dominican Republic resort, and yours truly predicted the result and the score correctly. Double the points for the good guys. Overall, a nice showing from the masthead. Here are your standings as of Matchday 18 and the predictions for tomorrow's match:

Name
Score
Mechanick 13
Ed F. 12
Ben Daniels 10
Matthew Pachniuk 10
Skipjack 8
Michael Caley 8
Luke Zimmerman 8
Jake Meador 8
55thVin 8
Dustin Menno 7
GN Punk 7
Salmon Chase 7
Earl of Shoop 5
Bryan A. 5
Brett Rainbow 5

Dustin Menno: I expect this to be a much more difficult match than the one we just played against Norwich. Watford actually do have decent players and despite dropping points on Saturday they're still in form and are pushing for Europe. However, I suspect they're not as deep or as fit as Spurs are, and may have to rest some players. I'm still picking Spurs in this one, though it wouldn't surprise me if it's close. 2-1 Tottenham.

Michael Caley: 1-0 Spurs. Looking at both teams probably coming out a little tired and Watford can shut a game down if they want to. But we win anyway.

Ben Daniels: Watford are solid but fairly one dimensional, and I think we match up well with that dimension. But cracking open their back line may prove problematic. 1-0 Spurs.

55thVin:

Title is the limit and you know that you keep on
Just keep on pressin on
Title is the limit and you know that you can have
what you want, pressin what you want
Title is the limit and you know that you keep on
Just keep on pressin on
Title is the limit and you know that you can have
what you want, be what you want, have what you want, be what you want

1-0 Spurs and I'm scared that I agree with Michael and Ben. Somebody hold me.

Bryan Ashlock: Everything went Tottenham's way on Boxing Day. No way that happens again. 2-2 Draw.
Brian Mechanick: Kane keeps rolling, and I see another win. 2-0 Spurs

Luke Zimmerman: All good things must come to an end. Shortest week possible plus the cruel hands of fate means 0-0.

Earl of Shoop:

DJ interviewer: Wow. Thanks for that, Mauricio.
Mauricio Pochettino: For what?
DJ interviewer: Well, for actually giving a real answer to a question. Doesn't often happen here at "Radio Watford" I can tell you.
Mauricio Pochettino: Ask me anything you like, I'll tell you the truth.
DJ interviewer: Uh, prediction for your match against our very own Watford F.C.?
Mauricio Pochettino: Hornet Mooses with a dominating victory.
DJ interviewer: Wow!
Mauricio Pochettino: No, only kidding. They're rubbish. Spurs win 2-0.

Ed F: I can't really envision a scenario where Ighalo doesn't score but I don't think we'll lose, so I'm calling a 1-1.

GN Punk: 48 hour turnaround against a pretty good side. I'm terrified that Capoue destroys our attack due to extra motivation and Gomes goes into world beater mode.

Either way, we're in good form and I think we can take this. Spurs, 2-1

mpachniuk: Watford are a legitimate side and can take all three points from tomorrow's match. Not the greatest opponent to be facing with this short of a turnaround. That said, these games are all about depth and this is something that Spurs have the edge on. Add to the fact that Watford played Chelsea on Saturday, while Tottenham coasted by Norwich. Our quality off the bench wins it late for Tottenham. Spurs 2-1.

Jake Meador: I'm completely terrified of this game. My head still says we win it in a fairly open game. Maybe Watford 1-3 Spurs? I think we actually match up with them really well because the Toby/Vert/Dier trio should handle the Deeney/Ighalo pair better than most teams do and I think our attack will actually work around Capoue in midfield and give them a lot of trouble.

That said, a) You know we're getting Good Gomes in this one so our ExpG will almost certainly be much higher than our actual goals, b) Ighalo is in-form, c) Watford are just surprisingly good. So the Spurs Fan part of my brain is expecting the worst.