Tottenham Hotspur’s goalless draw against Watford has extended their winless run in the Premier League to four games – but it could have been worse had Paulo Gazzaniga not saved a penalty kick in the second half.
Both sides were limited to half-chances on the counter-attack throughout the opening 45 minutes, with Ben Foster only called upon once to keep Lucas Moura’s low shot out of the back of the net.
Abdoulaye Doucouré hit the side netting from close range just after the break, while at the other end Son Heung-min’s shot whistled just over the top of the crossbar as he looked to catch Foster out at his near post.
Watford’s break appeared to come when Gerard Deulofeu’s shot was blocked by Jan Vertonghen’s outstretched arm inside the penalty area, but Troy Deeney’s spot-kick was easily saved by Gazzaniga.
Debutant Ignacio Pussetto stopped Watford going behind with a last-ditch goalline clearance in added time to stop Tottenham from taking the lead, and both sides were forced to settle for a point in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.
Key Talking Point
Both sides matched each other with a 4-2-3-1 formation, but Watford’s game plan worked better out of the two thanks to Abdoulaye Doucouré’s role as – positionally, at least – the hosts’ attacking midfielder, something which congested the middle of the pitch.
Spurs were forced out into wide areas throughout large chunks of the game, leaving their diminutive Brazilian Lucas Moura on his own in the middle of the box to fight for headers against Craig Dawson and Craig Cathcart.
It was a game plan that worked, for the most part, for the whole game. But some fluffed chances in Tottenham’s penalty area, as well as Deeney’s wasted spot-kick, ensured Watford’s impressive performance didn’t show on the scoreline.
Foster (8); Mariappa (7), Dawson (7), Cathcart (6), Masina (7); Chalobah (7), Capoue (7), Sarr (8*), Doucoure (7), Deulofeu (8); Deeney (7).
Substitutes: Pereyra (6), Pussetto (7).
It’s not been as easy start to life in the Premier League, but summer signing Ismaïla Sarr showed exactly why Watford made him their club-record signing earlier this season.
The Senegal international was helped by Japhet Tanganga’s early yellow card, with Sarr quickly becoming Watford’s go-to outlet in the final third thanks to his pace and power on the wing.
Sarr looks like he’s finally adjusted to the league going by his time under Pearson. He still has rough edges in his game but the tools are there
— MH (@The8Role) January 18, 2020
Tanganga is getting done by Sarr right now
— Marcos (@marcosruizjr) January 18, 2020
Sarr been on some brazy form. Makes gd decisions in the final third
— Lucian Dro (@DroPil0T) January 18, 2020
The 21-year-old certainly didn’t bring his shooting boots with him from former club Stade Rennais, but Sarr’s all-round game has improved tremendously in recent weeks and he’s shown why he’ll be crucial in Watford’s relegation battle.
Key Talking Point
For all of the possession that José Mourinho’s side enjoyed, Tottenham just couldn’t create enough chances to really test Watford’s impressive goalkeeper, Ben Foster.
Spurs found positions out wide with ease but then lacked any real out-ball for Son Heung-min or Érik Lamela, only creating the odd chance through the middle when Watford’s defence showed a rare lapse in concentration.
Paulo Gazzaniga’s heroics from Watford’s penalty ensured the visitors were able to keep a clean sheet, but for the third game in a row it was Tottenham’s toothless attack which extended their winless run to four games in the Premier League.
Gazzaniga (8); Aurier (6), Alderweireld (6), Vertonghen (6), Tanganga (5); Lo Celso (8*), Winks (6), Lamela (6), Dele (7), Son (7); Moura (6).
Substitutes: Eriksen (6), Fernandes (6).
Tottenham need someone to breakthrough in attack if they want to keep winning games in Harry Kane’s absence, but in midfield at least, Giovani Lo Celso is starting to show why he could be a brilliant long-term addition.
The Argentine showed all the class going forward that fans expected when he arrived from Real Betis, but it was Lo Celso’s work at the other end of the pitch that really helped him stand out against Watford.
Lo celso getting better every game. All rounder
— lee smith (@leesmith81) January 18, 2020
Lo Celso doing so well too bad hes surrounded by these fools who cant finish or make a simple pass
— a (@springmontage) January 18, 2020
Lo Celso, has been Spurs’ best player by miles
— Kela (@KeLatouche) January 18, 2020
Lo Celso single handedly keeping us in the game
— W (@LedKneeyKing) January 18, 2020
Harry Winks was being marked out of the game, but Lo Celso acted as Tottenham’s link between defence and attack, while Watford could do very little to stop the 23-year-old’s influence on the match.
Watford face back-to-back away games in midweek with trips to Aston Villa and Tranmere Rovers – the latter being an FA Cup replay – while Tottenham welcome Norwich City to north London on Wednesday.