Tottenham vs. Watford: Match preview and reasons Spurs will win

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 05: Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Liberty Stadium on April 5, 2017 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 05: Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Liberty Stadium on April 5, 2017 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images) /

A bigger mismatch on paper you won’t easily find as Spurs host Watford with a chance to temporarily narrow the gap atop the table to four points. 

The numbers are skewed heavily in Spurs favour in the early match on Saturday, but numbers bear little importance until the job is done on the pitch.

Tottenham, with a depleted squad due to number of injuries, are coming off only two days rest. Like every other Premier League team, Spurs are playing their third game of the week. But unlike most other teams, Spurs’ squad has been decimated by injuries to key players.

So, while Spurs are expected to win against Watford, the task is never as cut and dry as it seems.

But Tottenham, with the best home record in the league, have the depth to cope with such personnel issues and will rely on their front three to cause Watford fits all afternoon.

And when you dig into the numbers, you can see why Spurs are monstrous favourites.

Watford’s away form

Watford won their last two games to get them out of relegation trouble. Both games, however, were in the friendly confines of Vicarage Road. Winning two, losing two and drawing one, the Hornets overall recent form is quite decent.

Four of those five games took place at Vicarage Road, though. So they’ll have to pack a bag and venture south to London for the first time since mid-March.

And rest assured, they won’t get the same coddled, harmonious welcome at White Hart Lane.

The Hornets, losing seven of their last nine on the road, don’t enjoy playing in hostile territory. They’ve been outscored 20-6 over that span and have failed to score in five of their last seven away fixtures.

With three wins from 14 away matches, Watford have amassed a miserly 11 points from a possible 42.

Their inability to score away goals is a palpable concern for Walter Mazzarri, as Watford have also been kept off the score sheet in nine of their last 10 away games.

The Hornets can still sting

Their away numbers might say otherwise, but Watford have weapons that can have a damaging effect. You can’t really mention Watford without paying homage to Troy Deeney, the team’s captain and irrefutable leader.

The 28-year-old rugged forward leads Watford with 10 league goals. He has also chipped in with four assists. Deeney is at his best in physically charged matches, prospering the most from battling in the trenches.

He wins almost six aerial duels each match and makes damn sure opposing center backs know he’s there. He plays a dogged old school brand of football, which Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen aren’t unfamiliar with.

Spurs, winning 55.1 percent of aerial duels at home, lay claim to the second highest success rate in the league. Only Manchester United, 56.2 percent, win more aerial duels.

They’ll most likely be battered and bruised after the match, but Vertonghen and Alderweireld won’t shy away from a rough-and-tumble affair. They shouldn’t have too much difficulty handling Watford’s top striker.

Former Spurs player Etienne Capoue, Jose Holebas and M’Baye Niang also pose a threat. Capoue came out of the gates like a bat out of hell, scoring four goals in the first six games of the season. He’s sputtered of late, nothing only a single goal in the subsequent 24 fixtures.

But on his day, he’s still capable of turning the tide.

Holebas – not unlike Kyle Walker, but in an inferior way – slaloms down the left wing and is proficient at measuring accurate and dangerous crosses. He has four assists thus far, so Walker will be responsible for quelling that prospective danger.

The reasons Spurs will win

Tottenham is dominant in all facets of the game, especially when it’s the Hornets that need swatting.

Spurs have won seven on the bounce in all competitions against Watford. Never losing to Watford in the Premier League, Tottenham have won five of seven top flight games against this weekend’s adversary.

White Hart Lane is a formidable fortress from which no team comes out alive. Spurs have won 10 consecutive home games by a combined total of 29-6. Offense comes as easy as lying does to Donald Trump, with Tottenham scoring at least two goals in nine of their last 10 games.

The last time Tottenham dropped points at home was against Leicester in a 1-1 draw at the end of October, over five months ago.

The Lilywhites are unbeaten 15 home games, their longest stretch since a 17-game unbeaten run in May 2011. We’ve scored in 23 straight matches at the fortress, a record that dates back to January 23, 2016.

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Oh, and if by the remote chance the match is level at the death fear not, as Tottenham have scored more winning goals in the 90th minute than any other team. The Gunners also have three, but let’s not discuss that any further.

Is the prospect of leaving White Hart Lane for a season giving anyone else vivid, recurrent nightmares?

And finally, Kane won’t be ready for Saturday’s fixture but Spurs haven’t lost in seven games without their leading scorer, coping admirably in his absence.

The collective spirit, belief and commitment to the cause is at an all-time high and the Hornets will soon find out how impressive this current Spurs revolution is.