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Tottenham vs. Watford: instant analysis and match reactions

TOP OF THE LEAGUE AND WE’RE HAVING A LAUGH

Tottenham Hotspur v Watford - Premier League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Spurs win! Spurs win! Another Premier League match, another 1-0 victory for Tottenham Hotspur, this time over Watford at White Hart Lane. It’s Spurs’ third in three games, it sent them to the top of the table, and if it’s good enough for Arsenal to win the league like that then certainly it’s good enough for us, right?

Speaking of Arsenal, has anyone found them in the table yet? ...Oh, THERE they are.

Enjoy the win! It’s been a while since we’ve felt good about a strong run of form from Tottenham. However, there’s still some discussion points coming from this match and even, dare I say it, some worrying signs. Here are my match notes.

Match notes and reactions

  • Nuno-ball has a lot of similarities to Mourinho-ball, but some key differences too. The main one is that Nuno isn’t a raging asshole dinosaur, but Nuno also has this team pretty well drilled defensively in a mid-block so it doesn’t feel like we’re just sitting deep and inviting pressure when nursing a narrow lead. Spurs haven’t scored many, but they also haven’t given any goals up yet. I can live with that, for now.
  • As a related point, this kind of mid-block, counterattack, progress via the flanks, low xG kinda football might just be who Spurs ARE under Nuno. Let’s give him until a bit after the transfer window, though.
  • I had a sense that Spurs’ offense might struggle a bit against Watford who were defensively well structured and didn’t give our attackers much space in which to work. That proved to be accurate, as Spurs’ goal came off of a flukey goalkeeping error on a free kick. However, there were a number of good chances in the second half as Spurs started to turn the screws a bit. On another day Tottenham might have scored three.
  • Kane looked off today. Not as involved, not making sharp runs or creating space to get shots off. Had a couple of nice passes, none better than the one in the first half to Son in the box, but I don’t think he had his best match, and I think he’d agree with that.
  • Here I am back on my Oliver Skipp soapbox. Was not impressed with him in the first half at all but thought he improved a lot in the second, especially with his progressive passing. He probably should’ve had at least two yellow cards, too. Overall: he was fine. Not “Sissoko fine” but fine-fine. I still think this team would improve if they started Lo Celso for him though.
  • Sarr was an absolute LOAD for Watford and he gave Reguilon difficulty down that flank all match. I thought on the whole Spurs did well to keep him as quiet as they did, but it cost them a couple of tactical yellows in the process.
  • Watford fans got the whole Moussa Sissoko Experience™ within like two minutes today in a stretch where he took a strong dribble into the box, saved the ball from going out for a corner and created a good chance that was saved, committed a dumb tactical foul to earn a yellow card, and then skied a shot into the upper tier of White Hart Lane. Get used to it, Watford fans. You OWN this now.
  • Thought Tanganga also struggled today, his second straight sub-par match. In this game in particular I think Tottenham could have benefitted from a more offensively-minded right back. Maybe Aurier gets back into the fold if they can’t dump him by the transfer deadline.
  • I think it’s perfectly fair to analyze (or even over-analyze) this performance and come away feeling a little disappointed about how things shook out against a team very likely to be relegated this season. That said, Spurs have started 3-0 without conceding a goal in their first three matches for the first time in their Premier League history, and I’m still gonna celebrate it. You should too.
  • The international break cometh, but Spurs’ next match is at Palace on September 11. Away matches are going to feel trickier this year after a whole season with no fans, but starting 4-0 would feel friggin’ amazing before heading into a key match vs. Chelsea. Let’s do that.