After being held to a 1-1 draw by West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, Mauricio Pochettino’s men suffered a 2-1 defeat by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night. Given that they were beaten 2-0 by local rivals Arsenal in the north London derby two weeks ago, it is now three top-tier outings without a victory for Spurs, who have also won only one of their last five in the Premier League – and that 1-0 win against Crystal Palace was a tad fortuitous. Tottenham’s suspect form even prompted Pochettino to rule his team out of the title race at the weekend, with the capital club now focusing their attention on finishing in the top four and qualifying for next year’s edition of the Champions League.
After arguably their most impressive display of the season at St James’ Park, Watford’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle United was followed by a 4-2 home loss to Manchester United. It was a peculiar game at Vicarage Road on Tuesday evening: the Hornets did not play particularly badly, but some brilliant goals from their opponents condemned them to a fifth defeat of the Premier League campaign. Marco Silva’s charges remain in the top half of the table, though, and will be looking to go again when Spurs make the short trip to Hertfordshire this weekend.
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Tottenham will again have to make do without the services of Victor Wanyama (knee) and Toby Alderweireld (hamstring), while Harry Winks will need to be assessed ahead of kick-off after suffering from illness this week. Erik Lamela made his long-awaited return from a hip problem in the midweek loss to Leicester but will probably have to wait a little while longer for his first Premier League start of the season, while Pochettino is likely to once again rotate his wing-backs and re-introduce Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies to the XI. The former Espanyol and Southampton boss will also hope for improved performances from Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, both of whom have struggled to find their usual rhythm in the last few weeks.
Will Hughes picked up a hamstring injury in the midweek loss to United and therefore looks likely to miss out on Saturday afternoon, when Silva will also be without Kiko Femenia (knock), Isaac Success (knee), Nathaniel Chalobah (knee), Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Craig Cathcart (knee) and Tommie Hoban (knee). Troy Deeney is available again following suspension and could replace Andre Gray as the Hornets’ lone line-leader, while Miguel Britos is hoping to be in contention for a place in the starting line-up after a spell on the sidelines and Roberto Pereyra is another option if Silva opts to shuffle his pack four days after his team’s last encounter.
Watford have been excellent for much of the season up to now, but they have not been quite as strong at home as they have been on the road; indeed, while Silva’s side rank third in the division in terms of their away record, they are only the 16th best in front of their own supporters. It is also true that Tottenham’s finishing has let them down in recent matches – they have created plenty of chances without always converting them – which is why backing an away win could be sensible on Saturday.