EPL

Alli delivers for Spurs but Watford draw not quite what Pochettino ordered

By Sports Desk October 19, 2019

Prior to the home game against Watford, Mauricio Pochettino had pointed to a dinner invite from his Tottenham players as an indication of their continued support.

The offer was less about attending his last supper and instead a sign they remained strong as a unit, determined to turn around a campaign that had started unravelling rapidly prior to the international break, according to the defiant Spurs boss.

Against the Hornets, there was certainly no sign of a lack of effort from the team. The problem was more to do with the lack of a cutting edge, culminating in a 1-1 draw that stops the rot but offers little in the way of long-term optimism.

The fixture list had seemingly served up an appetising offer for Spurs to move on quickly from back-to-back defeats earlier in the month, too. If the 7-2 result against Bayern Munich in the Champions League was a shock to the system, going down 3-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion was tough to digest. They were better on Saturday, admittedly, but then that was hardly a tough bar to clear.

Watford arrived bottom of the table and without a win to their name. On six previous Premier League trips to Spurs – albeit at differing venues from their opponents' impressive new home – they had failed to collect a solitary point.

Yet had it not been for a late mix-up between goalkeeper Ben Foster and substitute Kiko Femenia, the visitors may well have departed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with all three.

Dele Alli capitalised on the gift to deliver a much-needed equaliser for Spurs. The goal was subsequently checked for handball, with VAR ruling the contact was high on his chest, rather than left arm. Even then there was further drama, the big screen displaying 'Decision No Goal' while the score read 1-1.

The confusion over their goal rather summed up Spurs' performance, though. They seemingly have all the required ingredients - remember they sprinkled in some new faces during the transfer window - but cannot quite find the recipe for success, particularly in attack.

Pochettino made seven changes to the starting XI – the most for the club between two Premier League games in a season – but saw the new-look line-up concede early, as was also the case against Brighton, in a listless first half.

Son Heung-min's half-time introduction added some much-needed life to proceedings, though they still required a helping hand – albeit not Alli's, according to VAR – for the equaliser.

Worryingly, Harry Kane had just 28 total touches in a game where his team enjoyed 69.6 per cent of possession. There were no shots on target either, as was also the case on that forgettable trip to the south coast a fortnight ago.

Goals are missing from the menu for Kane and Spurs in general - they have averaged one a game in their last six outings in all competition, and that includes an EFL Cup tie against League Two Colchester United.

"We're not panicking. We know the quality that we’ve got in this team, we believe in ourselves and the coaching staff are working hard every day. We’ve just got to make sure we show our character to get out of this patch we're in," Alli said to the club's website.

Spurs' determination to keep going against Watford suggests Pochettino was right to declare his squad remain firmly behind him.

Dinner may be a little more appetising for the Tottenham boss on Saturday night having avoided another embarrassing defeat, but a point against the competition's bottom side is still tough to stomach.

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