Watford 2-1 Tottenham: Hornets maintain 100 per cent record with comeback win
Report and highlights as Troy Deeney and Craig Cathcart headers complete fightback
By Gerard Brand at Vicarage Road
Last Updated: 03/09/18 7:59am
Watford came from behind to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season as two quickfire headers gave them a 2-1 win over Tottenham at Vicarage Road on Super Sunday.
The first half was not one of the purists, but Spurs took the lead in the second through Abdoulaye Doucoure's own goal (54), and it would have been 1-1 in own goals had Toby Alderweireld's header not come off the bar at the other end shortly after.
But Watford did equalise through Troy Deeney's cute header from Jose Holebas' superb free-kick (69), and shocked Spurs with another header as Craig Cathcart converted Holebas' corner from the left (76).
Watford: Foster (5), Janmaat (6), Cathcart (7), Kabasele (6), Holebas (7), Hughes (7), Capoue (6), Doucoure (5), Pereyra (6), Deeney (8), Gray (6)
Subs: Success (6), Chalobah (NA), Mariappa (NA)
Tottenham: Vorm (5), Trippier (6), Alderweireld (5), Vertonghen (6), Sanchez (5), Davies (5), Dembele (6), Moura (6), Alli (5), Eriksen (5), Kane (5)
Subs: Llorente (NA), Winks (NA), Rose (NA)
Man of the match: Troy Deeney
The result ends Tottenham's own perfect start to the campaign, while Watford have won all four opening league games for only the second time in their history, and the first in the top flight.
Watford worked the first chance of the game early on, spreading the ball out wide right to Daryl Janmaat, whose cross was headed over by Deeney piling in.
But both sides were sloppy for the remainder of the half, getting into good positions and miscuing the final pass.
Although a goal did come nine minutes after the restart, it summed the game up to that point. After a mix-up between Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster and defender Christian Kabasele, Lucas Moura's cut-back was bizarrely diverted into the bottom corner by Doucoure's midriff.
Watford stuck with the same side that won against Crystal Palace last weekend, while there were three changes for Tottenham from their win at Old Trafford.
Lloris was out with a thigh injury so Vorm started in goal, while Sanchez and Davies started in place of Rose and Dier.
There was almost an own goal at the other end after Deeney got the better of Davinson Sanchez at the right byline, but his cross was headed onto the crossbar by Alderweireld.
Watford had woken up, and got their leveller moments later through Deeney, who got up well before glancing a header into the bottom left corner from Holebas' dangerous right-wing set-piece.
The equaliser gave the hosts energy, and they duly took the lead seven minutes later through defender Cathcart, rising highest among a swamp of players to turn a header past Michel Vorm.
Sub Fernando Llorente should have done better as the ball dropped to his feet at close range late on, before Harry Kane nodded inches over from Kieran Trippier's ball having climbed well as Spurs failed to grab a point.
- Deeney became the fourth player to score in 100 matches for Watford in all competitions, after Tommy Barnett, Ross Jenkins and Luther Blissett.
- This was the first time that Tottenham lost a game in which they had been leading in the Premier League since November 2016 against eventual champions Chelsea, ending a run of 48 league matches without defeat when taking the lead at any stage.
- This was Watford's first league win over Tottenham since May 1987, ending a run of 12 league games without a victory (D4 L8).
- Since Javier Gracia took over as Watford manager in January, no side has won more home Premier League games than the Hornets (seven, level with Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Spurs).
Javi Gracia: "I am, very happy, like all of the Watford fans. We are enjoying the moment, to win four games in a row is not easy, and we try to keep our level in the next games.
"For me the atmosphere we have in this moment, in the team, the players playing and not playing, they are enjoying a lot, feeling the supporters enjoying the games. For me that's the most important."
Mauricio Pochettino: "I think if you want to win, show you are contenders, you cannot say we are going to play for 45 minutes and 0-0 and just win it in the second half.
"We need to do more, show more aggressiveness, because we have the quality. We score and go in front, and then in two set-pieces we concede two goals. If you want to be a contender, to be at the top, you cannot concede this type of action."
Tottenham have a huge game after the international break as they host Liverpool, live on Sky Sports, and Graeme Souness thinks the response will be key.
"Everyone can be a big personality in the dressing room when you are winning, but a punch on the nose like this will find out if you are a proper team. Can you brush the criticism away and deal with the disappointment? Whether it's the biggest game of the season or one of the less-fancied teams you do what you have to do to get back on track."
Notes for Southgate
Spurs' England contingent won't be flying as they head into the Nations League fixtures. Kane was starved up front, Alli showed some signs in the first half but ultimately struggled to make an impact, and Trippier played extremely high up the right flank but his delivery was missing. After a promising start to all three's seasons, this will be painful.
Man of the match - Troy Deeney
Even during a dull first half, Deeney threw himself about in both boxes, and led like a skipper in the second half. He got himself involved in a whopping 23 duels - 10 more than any other Watford player - winning most of them, and got the goal his performance deserved.
"A proper captain's performance from Deeney," said Alan Smith on the gantry. "He led and controlled his players for 90 minutes."
Watford now host Man Utd on Saturday, September 15 at 5.30pm, while Spurs host Liverpool on the same day, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 12.30pm at Wembley.