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Watford 2-1 Tottenham: Spurs drop friendly without international stars

It wasn’t a great match!

Tottenham Hotspur v Birmingham City - Pre-Season Friendly
There are literally no photos of this match in the Getty database, so here’s an old one of Dennis Cirkin.
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur went to northwest London to Vicarage Road today for their final preseason tune-up against Watford. Playing with a highly rotated side without all of their Nations League and European U21 internationals, Spurs came out flat, conceded two first half goals, and fell to the recently relegated Hornets 2-1. Son Heung-Min scored the only Spurs goal, converting a penalty after Erik Lamela was fouled in the box by new Watford signing Glenn Murray.

Tottenham started the match with Tanguy Ndombele in midfield, his first appearance at all in preseason after coming out of a COVID-19 positive quarantine. Joe Hart started in goal, while youngsters Dennis Cirkin and Harvey White also got extended minutes.

Key Moments

5’ — Real end to end stuff here in the early stages, with Watford especially pressing high and upping the tempo.

20’ — Goal to Watford. Domingos Quina with a long range blast past Joe Hart to put them up.

39’ — Goal to Watford. Andre Gray converts the PK after Cirkin hauls back a Watford player in the box. 2-0 to the Hornetmoose.

Halftime subs: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Clarke in for Hart, Cirkin, and Ndombele

73’ — Yellow for Dele after a “coming together” with Joao Pedro.

79’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! Son converts the penalty after Glenn Murray barges down Lamela in the box. Spurs are back in it!

91’ — Watford nearly a third goal. Gazzaniga gets caught high up the pitch and for some reason doesn’t bother to sprint back to retrieve a ball. Sonny clears it off the line and the whistle blows shortly after.

FULL TIME — Final score Watford 2-1 Tottenham.


  • Tanguy Ndombele had a perfectly serviceable opening 45 minutes. He also looked like a player who isn’t quite fit, which would make sense considering he’s playing his first preseason football of the summer and has been in quarantine for two weeks. All I really know from this match is that we’re clearly going to fight about him in the comments all season, assuming he stays.
  • White, Cirkin and Clarke have all gotten significant minutes in preseason. None of them look like they’re league ready, but I’d be perfectly fine seeing all three of them in Europa Qualifying or early rounds of cups. Cirkin had one huge mistake that led to the penalty (which is bad) but otherwise was decent (which is good).
  • This was the first time that Joe Hart really got called into action this preseason. Aaaaaaaaaaand he was pretty bad. Let’s please not sell Paulo Gazzaniga because I’m likely going to tear my hair out if we have to play Hart for any extended period of time.
  • Cameron Carter-Vickers looks like a gosh-dang Big Ten fullback. He’s been in the shop window for the entire summer, so hopefully he can get a good move before the end of the transfer window.
  • Erik Lamela earning a penalty on Glenn Murray is just peak Lamela. Let’s never sell him.
  • I don’t think we really learned anything new from this match. Spurs didn’t generate much going forward, and were at times quite porous at the back. Is this a team that could win on the road in Europa League qualifying? Man, I don’t know. Watford look well drilled and up for the challenge, and they’re probably the best team Spurs have faced all preseason.
  • Good news — Spurs lost a preseason match and now is no longer in danger of starting the Premier League season with two points from eight games.
  • Everyone should come back tomorrow morning to watch Spurs Women in their season opener against West Ham at The Hive — 9 a.m. ET, 2 p.m. BST.