Spurs needed a controversial late goal from Dele Alli to spare their blushes as they managed to steal a 1-1 draw against a resilient Watford side.
Watford opened the scoring inside the first six minutes when Abdoulaye Doucoure found the back of the net at the far post after a wonderful cross from Daryl Janmaat on the right wing. This was the only notable piece of action in a poor first half from Spurs, who simply failed to produce anything against a resolute Watford defence.
Son Heung-min was introduced early in the second half, and he added some much needed impetus into the Spurs side. However, this soon petered out and normal service was resumed. Watford continued to hit Spurs on the counter, with chances falling for Gerard Deulofeu and Doucoure.
With the game looked to be heading Watford's way, a massive defensive mix-up with five minutes to go saw Ben Foster spill the ball to Dele Alli, who scooped the ball into an empty net after appearing to control it with his upper arm; and there was further controversy, with Watford believing Harry Kane pushed one of their players.
The referee checked the goal with the VAR, and confusion reigned in the stadium for a short time – the big screen inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium showing 'VAR: No Goal' while referee Chris Kavanagh indicated that the goal had in fact been given. The goal stood, saving (or at least minimising) Spurs' blushes.
Key Talking Point
After a miserable week prior to the international break, Spurs were looking to bounce back against the perfect opposition. However, it didn't pan out that way in the slightest.
Spurs were woeful for the large majority of the game, and were simply lucky to steal a draw after a joint error from keeper Foster and Kiko Femenia. Things don't seem to be getting any better for Spurs, and cries for the manager to get the sack will be getting louder and louder.
Starting XI: Gazzaniga (6); Alderweireld (6), Sanchez (5), Vertonghen (5); Aurier (5), Sissoko (5), Winks (5) Rose (4); Lucas (5), Kane (5), Alli (6)
Subs: Son (6*), Lamela (6), Ndombele (6)
Despite the late goal from Alli, Son was undoubtedly the brightest spark for Spurs. Starting on the bench following international duty, the forward was lively and direct when coming off the bench, and really the only player to actually show anything.
Many might question why he didn't start the game, and his impact from the bench showcases that.
Poch appears to have lost his ability to motivate the team. Other than Son nobody played well today. Are we selling everyone who's off-form? Maybe it's time to admit that Poch's time at Spurs has run its course. He could do with a fresh start elsewhere and so could we.— Football JC (@jcmcleannfl) October 19, 2019
2nd half sub Son Heung Min has injected real energy for Tottenham despite landing 48 hours ago from international duty. More jet heeled than jet lagged right now..— Manish Bhasin (@_manishbhasin) October 19, 2019
Key Talking Point
Watford have been having a dire season, coming out of the second international break of the season as the only team yet to win a single match. However, this performance will have given fans hope, as they defended superbly and gave their all as a unit.
Quique Sanchez Flores will be disappointed with the late goal conceded, and doubly so by the unforced nature of the strike. The performance itself will be a major positive for him though, and he will be hoping to take that forward into the next game.
Starting XI: Foster (6); Janmaat (7), Cathcart (8), Dawson (8), Kabasele (9*), Holebas (7); Cleverley (8) Chalobah (7), Doucoure (8), Pereyra (7); Welbeck (N/A)
Subs: Deulofeu (7), Femenia (5), Hughes (6)
Any of the Hornets defenders could have been the star man, but Christian Kabasele was absolutely magnificent at the back. He picked off all crosses into the box, and made a number of crucial tackles to prevent goals.
If it wasn't for him, Spurs could have won the game, and he deserves a huge amount of credit for the way he played. Colossus.
Kabasele and Doucoure dear Lord father what amazing performances— Joaquin Phoenix✨ (@SilhouetteYrom3) October 19, 2019
Thoughts:— Sam WFC (@Sam_ucko) October 19, 2019
•Janmaat, Cathcart, Dawson, Kabasele and Holebas superb
•Doucoure’s best performance in a watford shirt
•Pereyra finally adding some physical attributes to his game
Despite the late goal, another poor result for Mauricio Pochettino. With Liverpool to come next weekend, they'd have been looking to build momentum before that game, and now Spurs fans will be worried that things could turn ugly at Anfield.
Watford needed a win here, and were looking like they were about to get one. The late goal from Alli would have been a hammer blow for them but with a return to Vicarage Road next week, they know that they can get the three points against Bournemouth if they perform the way they did today.