Well that Chelsea win feels like an age ago right?. After a nearly flawless three months to start 2018, Tottenham Hotspur have stalled out in the second half of April. A demolition at the hands of Manchester City, followed by points dropped in away tie to Brighton, and finally the coup de gras — an ousting in the FA Cup semifinals for the second straight year to Manchester United — sees Spurs reeling with four games left.
The FA Cup loss was a particularly tough pill to swallow. After an outstanding Champions League showing and a third straight strong Premier League campaign, there was expectation that this was the competition that Spurs would finally conquer. The loss was not only a huge letdown, but one has to wonder how it is effecting the squad. Tottenham still have a five point cushion over Chelsea, but one more slip-up and the red sirens signaling a Spurs collapse will begin to flash once again. United sit six points ahead of Spurs with four games to play, while Liverpool is three ahead, though Spurs still have that game in hand. Any other circumstance and Spurs’ position is overwhelmingly positive at this point in the season. Its important for supporters and players alike to keep this in mind after the FA Cup loss.
Watford hold twelfth place in the Premier League table, but haven’t won since March 3rd. The Hornets were destroyed by both Liverpool and Arsenal, while also dropping points to Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Burnley, and Huddersfield. It been a poor stretch no doubt. That said, with eight points separating them and eighteenth placed Stoke, there isn’t much worry for Watford in terms of relegation, nor is there much for them to play for either.
The story of Watford’s season has really been the excellence of twenty year old Brazilian phenom Richarlison. The youngster has fallen out of favor with manager Javi Garcia recently with what seems to be a poor and immature attitude. He came off the bench against Hudderfield two matches ago, but was iced in the Hornets last match, a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace. Gerard Defoleu was a January loan signing from Barcelona and looks to be fit for the match against Spurs, while the ever reliable Troy Deeney should start up top and make his presence felt once again. In general, Watford has enough talent going forward to make things difficult.
Watford struggle defensively though. Only Bournemouth and Stoke have conceded more goals on the year. Janmaat, Marriappa, Cathcart, Holebas, and Kabasele have all taken turns in the back four, but there isn’t too much to write home about in this lot. If Spurs can put last week’s major disappointment behind them, they should cruise to three points.
Date/time: Monday, April 30th, 2018, 8:00 p.m. (UK), 3:00 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, UK
Official: Andre Marriner
TV: NBCSN (NBC Sports Live Extra), BBC Radio (UK), TSN5, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London,BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Spurs have an astonishingly clear bill of health for this late in the season. Harry Winks continues his rehab, but is probably done for the season while Danny Rose’s status for Monday is questionable, but he is close.
My guess is that the lineup for Watford is the lineup that Poch started against United, save the rotation of Kieran Trippier for Serge Aurier and Hugo Lloris for Michel Vorm. If Danny turns out to be fully healthy, then you’d expect Ben Davies to get the night off. With Toby not featuring in the FA Cup semi-final, its really hard to see him playing for the rest of the season. My predicted lineup is as follows: Hugo will start in net, with Serge, Davinson, Jan, and Ben across the back four. Moose and Eric Dier will form the double pivot, with Christain, Dele, and Sonny in the attacking band. Harry Kane will start up top.
Tyrannical Overlord Dustin Menno predicted a Spurs draw against Brighton and extended his lead in the Prediction League table. Not trying to call it too early, but that might just be the clincher as no other writer was so depraved to predict such a scoreline. What a masochist. Menno with a two point lead with four to play.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Table 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop||19|
Dustin Menno: Watford are extremely bad, and we’re all bed-wetting babies. 2-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: Spurs unleash a mountain of frustration on an unassuming Watford side. Tottenham 4-0.
GN Punk: Dear Harry: Please wake up and kill off this season like you did last year. Spurs 3-1.
Skipjack: I don’t know. Watford is probably wrapped up in blockchains or something. Spurs 1 - Watford - ip0. (Writers note: technically it would be Watford ic0 — initial coin offering)
Jake Meador: I am irrationally worried about top four now. But I think we win this one in annoyingly close fashion. Spurs 1-0.
Pardeep Cattry: Not too much to see here. Tottenham 2-0.
Earl of Shoop: Spurs 2-0, probably.
Ed F: bleh 1-1.
Salmon Chase: TBD.
Alex Greenberg: Remember how Kane finished the season last year? I think we finally see him return to form here. 4-1 Spurs. Harry gets a hat trick.
Nathan Giannini: Season’s over, life’s not worth living, love isn’t real, etc, etc. 3-0 Spurs who cares.
Joel Wertheimer: Spurs 1-0.
Joe Patrick: 2-1 Spurs in a nailbiter.
Bryan A: TBD