Tottenham Hotspur desperately needed a response in the Premier League after experiencing elimination from two cup competitions in just one week’s time. Thankfully, for the sanity of us all, they got it.
It took a tremendous bit of fightback after going behind, but Spurs beat Watford 2-1 on Wednesday. Fernando Llorente put his earlier misses behind him when he headed in a dramatic winner late in the evening at Wembley.
Never in doubt. #COYS pic.twitter.com/S6rEEpHOmD— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 30, 2019
Son Heung-Min only returned from international duty with South Korea a few days ago, but he was given a start after Pochettino claimed that he had “showed very good energy” in training.
The team looked much stronger than the one that lost in the cup over the weekend. In addition to Son, Christian Eriksen, Hugo Lloris, Moussa Sissoko, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, and Serge Aurier all returned to the lineup.
One of the lightest crowds yet at Wembley watched a first half that saw Spurs hit with another punch to the gut.
Watford briefly started well, but Spurs then quickly assumed control of the game. Son was millimeters away from opening the scoring when his curling shot from outside the box went just past Ben Foster’s far post.
Foster, a common Tottenham nemesis in recent years, was called upon again a few minutes later. This time, he was able to readjust and save a deflected effort from Eriksen.
Spurs kept pushing, but gaps in the defense were hard to come by with Watford defending so narrowly.
The visitors came back into the game as they had some promising attacks ended by offside calls. They accumulated corner kicks until eventually finding a bit of luck.
José Holebas’ corner in the 38th minute was missed by Lloris as he came off his line. Craig Cathcart caused an issue for Davinson Sanchez, and the ball ended up coming off one of them and going into the back of the net. Cathcart was credited for the goal, his second against Tottenham this season.
Tottenham really miss Harry Kane, and that became increasingly evident in beginning of the second half. Llorente struggled. The Spaniard missed a sitter in the 52nd minute after his first effort on a cross was saved by Foster. The rebound awkwardly came off his knee and went over the goal.
A few minutes later he put a header wide after a dangerous free kick was sent back into a dangerous area by Alderweireld. Two bad misses; two loud groans from the Spurs faithful at Wembley.
Tottenham continued to press the game despite the frustration from Llorente’s inadequacies. Kieran Trippier came on for Sissoko to provide some better deliveries from the right side.
Spurs almost had their own stroke of luck in the 77th minute. Harry Winks played a long ball that was initially misjudged by Foster, but he recovered to backpedal and tip over his crossbar.
The second half had been completely dominated by Tottenham, and they deserved the reward that came in the 80th minute. Son marked his return with a goal as he latched onto a ball, that had been taken off Llorente by Holebas, and the South Korean smashed it past a helpless keeper.
It had been 27 games since Spurs last had a draw in the Premier League, and they didn’t intend to break that streak.
Rose put a cross to the back post in the 88th minute, and Llorente redeemed himself as he out-muscled the defender and sent a perfectly placed header inside the far post. Wembley erupted and the Spurs players celebrated wildly with their striker who had finally broken through.
Tottenham saw the game out and took home three points that were in doubt for a while.
The win means that Spurs both solidified their spot in the top four and gained ground on Manchester City and Liverpool, who both dropped points over the past two days.