Premier League
TottenhamTottenham Hotspur1WatfordWatford0

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Watford

By Tom RostanceBBC Sport
Kieran Trippier
Kieran Trippier's previous goal came against Huddersfield for Burnley on New Year's Day 2014

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.

Heurelho Gomes
Heurelho Gomes made eight saves and punched away six crosses in a fine goalkeeping display

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.

Tottenham full-backs
Ben Davies (33) and Kieran Trippier (16) were Spurs' best attacking options

Friends reunited?

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)

Heurelho Gomes
When Watford signed Costel Pantilimon last month, Heurelho Gomes' place looked in doubt but he was superb against Chelsea in midweek and almost earned Watford a point again at White Hart Lane

'We need to be calm'

Spurs still need to improve - Pochettino

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'

Tottenham were amazing - Flores

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."

What next?

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.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 16Trippier
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 27Wimmer
  • 33Davies
  • 15Dier
  • 19Dembélé
  • 22ChadliSubstituted forAlliat 61'minutes
  • 23EriksenSubstituted forCarrollat 90+2'minutes
  • 11LamelaSubstituted forSon Heung-minat 72'minutes
  • 10Kane


  • 2Walker
  • 3Rose
  • 7Son Heung-min
  • 8Mason
  • 13Vorm
  • 20Alli
  • 28Carroll


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gomes
  • 2Nyom
  • 15Cathcart
  • 3BritosSubstituted forPrödlat 54'minutes
  • 16Aké
  • 4SuárezSubstituted forBehramiat 45'minutes
  • 23Watson
  • 22AbdiSubstituted forDeeneyat 45'minutes
  • 29CapoueBooked at 60mins
  • 7Jurado
  • 24Ighalo


  • 5Prödl
  • 8Behrami
  • 9Deeney
  • 11N Amrabat
  • 18Pantilimon
  • 21Anya
  • 25Holebas
Roger East

Match Stats

Home TeamTottenhamAway TeamWatford
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Tom Carroll (Tottenham Hotspur).

  4. Post update

    Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Offside, Watford. Nyom tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Tom Carroll replaces Christian Eriksen.

  8. Post update

    Delay in match (Tottenham Hotspur).

  9. Post update

    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.

  10. Post update

    Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Nathan Aké (Watford).

  12. Post update

    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.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Valon Behrami.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Eric Dier.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Odion Ighalo (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Troy Deeney.

  17. Post update

    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.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur).

  19. Post update

    Valon Behrami (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur).

As It Stood

3Man City25145647262147
5Man Utd24117631211040
6West Ham2510963829939
12Crystal Palace2595112630-432
14West Brom2578102332-929
20Aston Villa2537152040-2016
View full Premier League table

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