Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 0.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Watford
Tottenham moved into second place in the Premier League table as Kieran Trippier's first goal for the club sealed a dominant win over Watford.
The former Burnley full-back was in the right place to tap in substitute Dele Alli's fine low cross.
Spurs were always in control against a lacklustre Watford side, but were continually denied by their former goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
The Hornets failed to record a shot on target and fall to 10th in the table.
Spurs were always well on top, having 26 efforts on goal, but lacked the killer touch until Alli came off the bench to continue his superb season and tee up Trippier for the winner.
Alli was left out after feeling unwell during the 3-0 win at Norwich in midweek but quickly made the difference for Mauricio Pochettino's side once more.
Spurs under the radar?
You would have been forgiven for thinking on Saturday morning that the Premier League title was a two-horse race, such was the focus on leaders Leicester's trip to Manchester City.
But Spurs, with just three league defeats all season and seven wins from their last nine games, have crept under the radar to move into a great position to fight for their first title since 1961.
They have not finished second since 1963 but now have a squad who look capable of pushing Leicester and Manchester City all the way.
Leicester's stunning lunchtime win meant Spurs kicked off in the knowledge that a win would put them second overnight.
And their win against the Hornets would have been secured far earlier had Gomes - who had an eventful six-year stay at White Hart Lane - not made eight saves.
Spurs may be five points behind the Foxes but with Leicester facing Arsenal next weekend, while Spurs take on City, that could soon change.
Full-backs key for Spurs
Pochettino rotated his full-backs. leaving out Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, with Ben Davies and Trippier starting instead.
And both players fully justified their selection with superb attacking displays, providing the width in a patient, but attacking display.
In the first half Davies was twice denied by Gomes' reflex saves, and Trippier - who made 10 crosses from right-back - popped up in space to grab the winner when Alli's cross with the outside of his boot picked him out at the far post.
For Watford it was largely a day to forget. A damaging run of four straight defeats was arrested at the end of January but there was no sign of a side who had held Chelsea in midweek.
Manager Quique Sanchez Flores chose to split up his 20-goal strike partnership of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, with Deeney tired after a gruelling run of games, but the change in system only served to leave Ighalo woefully isolated in the first half. Ighalo had the fewest touches (14) of any outfield player before Deeney came on at the break.
The captain's return made little difference though, as the Hornets ended the game without a single effort on target.
Man of the match - Heurelho Gomes (Watford)
'We need to be calm'
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, speaking to BBC Sport: "I feel very proud of the players.
"We need to be calm. We are in a very good position in the league but the philosophy from the beginning of the season has been to go step by step. We are a very young squad so it is important to keep going and take every game and competition and be ready to compete.
"We still need to be more clinical, we created a lot of chances but need to score more."
'It was completely difficult'
Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores: "It was completely difficult. We expected a tough match. Tottenham play really quick, play intelligent balls, they have a lot of good players so it was very difficult to stop their attacks.
"Tottenham have improved since the last time we played. They have more confidence and they are one of the best teams. They have the chance to win the league.
"Playing against Chelsea and Tottenham in four days is too much. We did all the best we could but it was not enough."
Tottenham could put a gap between themselves and third-placed Manchester City with a win at the Etihad next Sunday, while Watford face a short trip to freefalling Crystal Palace.
The stats you need to know
- Spurs have had a league-high 72 shots in the first half of games in 2016 so far but they have scored with just four of those.
- Kieran Trippier bagged his first Premier League goal in his 43rd appearance.
- Dele Alli assisted Trippier's goal just 176 seconds after entering the field of play.
- Alli has had a hand in 11 goals in his last 14 Premier League games for Spurs (six goals, five assists).
- Spurs had 26 shots, their joint-most in a Premier League game this season - level with their tally against Sunderland at home in January.
- The Hornets have failed to score in four of their last five Premier League games.
- Watford have mustered just one shot on target in their two Premier League games against Spurs in 2015-16.
- 22ChadliSubstituted forAlliat 61'minutes
- 23EriksenSubstituted forCarrollat 90+2'minutes
- 11LamelaSubstituted forSon Heung-minat 72'minutes
- 7Son Heung-min
- 3BritosSubstituted forPrödlat 54'minutes
- 4SuárezSubstituted forBehramiat 45'minutes
- 22AbdiSubstituted forDeeneyat 45'minutes
- 29CapoueBooked at 60mins
- Roger East
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 0.
Foul by Tom Carroll (Tottenham Hotspur).
Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Watford. Nyom tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Tom Carroll replaces Christian Eriksen.
Delay in match (Tottenham Hotspur).
Attempt missed. Odion Ighalo (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Etienne Capoue with a cross.
Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Nathan Aké (Watford).
Attempt saved. Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dele Alli.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Valon Behrami.
Attempt blocked. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Eric Dier.
Attempt blocked. Odion Ighalo (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Troy Deeney.
Attempt saved. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Son Heung-Min.
Foul by Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur).
Valon Behrami (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur).
Nyom (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Heurelho Gomes.
Attempt saved. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kieran Trippier.
Attempt missed. Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Christian Eriksen following a corner.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.
Attempt blocked. Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Eriksen.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Son Heung-Min replaces Erik Lamela.
Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Odion Ighalo (Watford).
Attempt blocked. Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Eriksen.
Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).
Attempt missed. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Christian Eriksen.
Foul by Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur).
Craig Cathcart (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 0. Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Dele Alli with a cross.
Attempt saved. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Dele Alli.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Dele Alli replaces Nacer Chadli.
Attempt saved. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Etienne Capoue (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.