A fine performance and excellent result albeit that it was against an underwhelming and unambitious Watford.
Their record suggests that they’re a difficult side to score against and their main purpose, especially in the first half appeared to be to want to prove it. They sat back on the edge of their 18 yard box whilst Eriksen, Dembélé, Chadli and Dier tried to create enough space for a shot on goal or to slip in Kane. They barely existed as an attacking force, they struggled to get out of their half and when they did they were shut down and the siege on their goal launched once more.
Trippier the right fantastic
Our most likely source of profit was down the flanks where once again the full backs played as virtual wingers. Trippier’s ability to seemingly always get a cross in married to Davies thrusting runs into the box meant that we didn’t see the stagnation we’ve witnessed before in these circumstances in Redknapp’s reign or AVB’s in particular. Here the wide defenders ensured that we continually carried a threat to the away team’s goal and thus it was fitting that it was the full backs who started and finished the move that broke the deadlock with just under half an hour left. In our half Davies kept a ball in play that seemed to be heading out, his hopeful hoick was headed forward by Eriksen to Kane whose fine flick put the once again excellent Dembélé away. He carried the ball to the edge of the Watford area fending off defenders as only he can before laying the ball off to the fresh on the field Alli. A quick tease of the full back and a Bale-esque outside of the boot ball across the six yard box and there was Trippier to sidefoot home. Cue mayhem in the stands and on the pitch; everyone knew the importance of the goal.
We remained the better team but couldn’t break through again to make the scoreline more comfortable, Son coming closest with an effort the Octopus just managed to divert at his near post. Watford came out of their shell, as they had to, but there were few moments of danger – did Ighalo have a shot all game? – despite the anxiety building up around the ground as the clock ticked down. If it is this bad now I can’t imagine what it’ll be like in April.
And the award goes to…
As usual there were many excellent individual displays, Trippier, Davies, Eriksen, Wimmer and a cameo from Alli but once more it was Dembélé and Alderweireld who stood out, both were exceptional.
Say it with (Danny) Roses
No opposing player has scored against us since van Aanholt in the first half against Sunderland six games ago. Aguero next week so that may change but we go into that game against City above them and if we continue to play with this confidence, skill and attitude we should still be there come the end of Sunday and what a lovely Valentine’s Day gift that would be.
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