Watford (Home)
Premier League

Saturday 17th March 2007

Changes are expected for this match with the team lying second from bottom in the Premier League, but neither side has a  good defensive record, leaving it down to the team that can score the most. 

With ace goal-scorer Marlon King out injured for the bulk of the season, it has left the Hornets without a sting up front and having lost creative force Ashley Young to Aston Villa in the January transfer window, it has been another loss that they have to battle on with.  The team has a lot of willing workers, who gave Spurs a tight game last time out at Vicarage Road, but the lineman's flag denied them a seemingly good goal, while Ben Foster's acrobatics kept Tottenham out at the other end. 

They have a good Brazilian in the reserves called Rinaldi, who could spark some forward forays if he gets a game, with many of the other players being a large physical presence, so perhaps Rocha and Dawson will need to stand strong against the big forwards.  At the back, Shittu and DeMerit are huge, so it will be a long way for Mido and Defoe to run around them.

The midfield are also tough, with Mahon and Francis willing to run till they drop, but Tottenham showed that they can pass the ball around well and by-pass the opposition players.  It is unfortunate that Watford have had such a wretched season, as I think Boothroyd is a good manager and his team have not been strengthened in the right places, perhaps due to lack of proper funding.   Hopefully a season in the Championship might help them regroup and come back stronger nest time.

Despite the injuries Tottenham are currently carrying and the tired legs, I am afraid that I can see nothing more than a Spurs win ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  3    Watford  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Anthony Gardner (broken leg);  Paul Robinson (thigh); Jermaine Jenas (groin); Ledley King (foot); Danny Murphy (Achilles); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); - (-); - (-); - (-); 

WATFORD :  - Jordan Stewart (calf); Marlon King (knee); - (-); 


Match of the Day  (BBC 1) -  Saturday 20.25 (highlights) - repeated Sunday 07.35
Sky Sports 1 - Football First - 20.25
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Tottenham Hotspur   3    Watford   1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 17th March 2007
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,051
Referee :  Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Weather :  -  Bright, sunny, warm
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

Robinson (c)

Young-Pyo Lee (Stalteri 80)

Malbranque (Lennon 71)


Unused subs

Watford :



Chambers (Kabba 77)
Mahon (c)
Williams (Rinaldi 62)

Priskin (Henderson 56)

Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Jenas 41
Robinson 63
Ghaly 85


Henderson 89

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  






Match Report : -  
When you are down at the bottom not a lot goes right for you (unless you were West Ham today) and when you put all your hopes on stifling a rampant scoring machine like Tottenham are at the moment, things can seem all the worse.  And so it proved as Tottenham ran through Watford for a 3-1 win that was as comfortable as the score-line suggests.

It took a long while for Spurs to break down the numbers that the Hornets got behind the ball, but when it happened, there would be no other result than a Tottenham win.  And on a day when it was all supposed to be about the two England goalkeepers and their ability to keep the ball out of the net, for one it became more about putting it in the net.

The massed ranks of yellow shirts behind the ball made it difficult for Spurs to break through, which was not helped by some sloppy passing and lack of form from Mido, while others seemed to think it might only need them to turn up to win this game. 

The first real incident came when Priskin clearly elbowed Ricardo Rocha in the face and the Portuguese defender had to leave the field for stitches in his cheek.  Playing with Huddlestone as a makeshift centre-half, Tottenham did not appear out-numbered with ten men, as Watford were still happy to snuff out our attack than make many themselves.  After Rocha returned, Steed Malbranque made a break down the left wing to the dead-ball line and pulled a pass back for Mido, who tried to shot from a position ahead of the near post with his left foot while under pressure from a defender.  It was not a position that he was likely to score from and his effort flew a long way over the bar.

Tom Huddlestone was a little off with some of his passing today, but when Shittu intercepted one meant for Defoe, it fell for Jermaine Jenas to strike a bobbling effort that went a yard wide of the left hand post.  It was Jermaine who released Jermain to hit a left foot shot on the turn that brought a low save from prospective England keeper Ben Foster at the Park Lane end.  The laxity of Tottenham's passing was evident when Chimbonda played a ball square into the middle of the pitch where no Spurs player stood.  It went straight to Priskin, who moved forward to shoot, but Rocha threw a block in front of the Czech striker's effort to prevent it reaching the goal.  Shittu did much the same with his considerable bulk at the other end, when a neat five man passing move involving Jenas, Ghaly, Defoe, Malbranque and Mido laid up a shooting effort for Hossam Ghaly a couple of minutes before the half hour.

A period of scrappy play followed with no real openings until Defoe held off Mahon and played the ball wide right to Chimbonda.  The full back played an early hanging cross to the far post, where Jenas made a prodigious jump and hung between two Watford defenders long enough to power his header down and just inside Foster's post to give Tottenham the lead.

A pass through from Rocha just before the break gave Defoe the opportunity to run at Shittu and he turned him inside out as he reached the area and toe-poked a shot that just went the wrong side of the upright.

At half-time, Spurs must have been glad for their slender lead, as they expected that the Hornets would come out and attack to try and get the three points they need to help their relegation battle.  However, this could have left space for Tottenham to exploit and with Berbatov and Lennon on the bench, they could be introduced to heap more misery on the Watford back four.  Some high balls were launched into the Spurs area as the visitors thrust forward to try and make the most of our weakness from set pieces.  It didn't really happen and it left Tottenham to pass their way forward, but seem to misplace the final ball.

Chimbonda made a good run up the right, but put a tired cross into the side netting, Malbranque hit Foster from outside the box and Defoe tried to chip the ball over the Watford keeper, but the ball drifted wide.  So, it was not a little ironic when Tottenham's second goal came from a set-piece.  And not only that but quite hilarious.

A foul way back just outside our own box saw Paul Robinson play the ball forward towards the head of one of our forwards.  With none on the edge of the area, the ball ran through and bounced with the Watford defenders leaving it for Foster to come and claim.  The keeper got far too far underneath the bounce and watched on helplessly as the ball arced over him into the net to give Robbo his second career goal and cement his name in Tottenham folklore as the first keeper to score from a direct free-kick.  Measurements of the distance vary from 88m (or 95 yards) as the ball travelled or 78 yards from where the ball was placed to the goal-line measured as the crow flies.  But as the ball flies, it was a boost for the Tottenham man over his rival for the England position, who committed a gaff of more culpable proportions that ENO's in Croatia, which was assisted by a dodgy pitch.

Robbo's 62nd minute effort knocked any stuffing there might have been left out of Watford.  Hud followed the crowd's advice to "SHOOOOOOOOT" (something they urged Robinson to do every time he got the ball) and Foster managed to get the swerving shot over the bar for a corner.  He later managed to punch the ball out over his bar, when he was looking to punch it away from his own goal.  So, he was having a bit of a mare, but then so was Mido.  When Tommy hit a tepid shot at goal, the Watford goalie could only fumble an easy save and the ball ran loose a couple of yards from the goal-line.  Mido ran in and tried to be a bit too clever in dinking the ball back where Foster had come from, but he only succeeded in hitting the keeper's legs and the ball went away.  It was a terrible miss.

With six minutes to go, Tottenham finally got it right, when they played a passing move that went from back to front and ended up hitting the net to make it 3-0.  Ghaly played the ball out to Stalteri on the right wing and he measured his pass inside to Defoe.  It was another slide-rule pass from the little striker that played in Lennon in the area and he slopped it wide to where Ghaly had run on and he hit a shot that went in past Foster into the corner of the net.

It was the sort of goal the team had been trying to score all afternoon and having achieved it, all that was left was for Spurs to keep a clean sheet.  But that was too much to ask for, as Mahon's through pass only found Chimbonda, who was now playing in the left back position. He tried to be clever in playing the ball out rather than clearing it upfield and was robbed by Tommy Smith, who squared to Henderson, who successfully tapped into an empty net, unlike Smith in the first meeting at Vicarage Road.

There was still time for Defoe to run in on goal and hit a left foot shot that squirted wide of the goal, so 3-1 it ended.  A comfortable work-out for Tottenham and Watford were the weakest team I have seen at the Lane this season.  There can be little doubt that if they survive it will be by some freak miracle or by West Ham having been docked points, but even then, it presupposes they will get enough points to get into a place third from bottom.

It is not going to happen.

It's a shame as they filled upstairs and down with their fans and they are a hard-working bunch of professionals, but you need more than that in the Premiership.  Keith Burkinshaw is assistant manager there and his comments that Ben Foster is better than Jennings and Clemence might indicate that perhaps his judgement is not what it was.  It's his opinion, but Foster still has a way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as those great keepers.

As for Tottenham, the fact they didn't have to call on the big guns sat on the bench tells you that there was little chance of Watford taking anything back to West Herts.

Tough ties lie ahead for Spurs, while tougher times lie ahead for the Hornets.





Other scores this weekend :
Blackburn Rovers 1 West Ham United 2 Saturday
Chelsea 3 Sheffield United 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 0 Manchester City 2 Saturday
Manchester United 4 Bolton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Reading 0 Portsmouth 0 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 0 Fulham 0 Saturday
Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 0 Sunday
Charlton Athletic 2 Newcastle United 0 Sunday
Everton 1 Arsenal 0 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 30 24 3 3 70 20 75 +50
2 Chelsea 30 21 6 3 54 19 69 +35
3 Liverpool 29 16 6 8 44 20 54 +24
4 Arsenal 28 15 7 6 50 24 52 +26
5 Bolton Wanderers 30 14 5 11 35 38 47 -3
6 Everton 30 12 10 8 38 26 46 +12
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 30 13 6 11 43 44 45 -1
8 Reading 30 13 5 12 43 38 44 +5
9 Portsmouth 29 11 9 10 37 31 42 +6
10 Blackburn Rovers 30 12 4 14 36 41 40 -5
11 Newcastle United 29 10 7 12 34 38 37 -4
12 Middlesbrough 29 9 9 11 32 34 36 -2
13 Aston Villa 29 7 13 9 29 34 34 -5
14 Fulham 30 7 13 10 31 44 34 -13
15 Manchester City 29 9 6 14 22 34 33 -12
16 Wigan Athletic 30 9 6 15 30 44 33 -14
17 Sheffield United 29 8 7 14 25 44 31 -19
18 Charlton Athletic 30 7 6 17 28 49 27 -21
19 West Ham United 30 6 5 19 23 50 23 -27
20 Watford 30 3 11 18 19 44 20 -27


Back to homepage