Watford – Tottenham Hotspur: A New Year’s Day Preview
Soon after a suspiciously volatile tuft of grass had combined with Harry Kane’s right boot, to deliver the England striker’s penalty kick handsomely over the crossbar and into the wintry Hampshire sky, was Kane on social media having a good laugh at himself. Calling out any perspective NFL franchises who might be on the lookout for a new kicker:
That, ladies and gentlemen, is some textbook banter.
Not that he would’ve been feeling quite so chipper at the time. Despite Southampton’s numerical disadvantage, the game was still balanced precariously at 2-1 and it would’ve been so typically Spurs for momentum to swing back the Saints’ way again, having failed to capitalize from the spot.
Happily, Tottenham fans needn’t have worried as the North London club throttled what little life was left in the tie, with dominant midfield performances from Moussa Dembélé, Christian Eriksen and, then, Harry Winks. Late finishes from Heung-min Son and Dele Alli made absolutely sure of the points.
Indeed, 4-1 was a generous reflection of the evening’s entertainment, but yet again, through some medieval alchemy, Tottenham generated a convincing scoreline against a team placed below them.
Everyone associated, including Mike Dean, seemed delighted.
And so, to Vicarage Road.
Are you sitting comfortably? Good, because Watford are, bang square in the middle of the Division, only two points off 8th placed Southampton.
The Hornets have not been quite so reliant on the contributions of human dumper trucks, Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, this season under Walter Mazzarri, which is handy as they’ve only managed 5 goals between them.
Instead, the majority of joy has come from former Spurs midfielder, Étienne Capoue, who appears to have reincarnated himself as a fully-functioning goal machine.
The Frenchman is perhaps as shocked as anyone at his steady return this year, but seems to be enjoying himself:
“I want to create chances, I want to defend with my team, I want to pass the ball, I want to score, I want to do everything well,” he told us earlier in the season, stopping just short of offering to do the dishes.
What small amounts we saw of the athletic enforcer at White Hart Lane, never were there any clues that he could be a threat in the final third. Maybe we were too quick to assume the worst just because he was purchased with the cursed Bale Money. Or, maybe, Watford just play him in an advanced positon and he sees a lot more action.
Talking of former Spurs players at Watford. Here’s Younes Kaboul firing shots at Mauricio Pochettino:
“The manager disrespected me, 100 per cent. When Mauricio first came we had a very nice, human, man-to-man kind of respect. And then something happened and I don’t know what it was.”
I think I know what it was, Younes.