Watford vs Tottenham – Premier League preview and team news

Watford will be looking to pick up a fifth win in their last six Premier League games as the welcome another in-form team to Vicarage Road in the shape of Champions League chasing Tottenham.

The hosts come into this after claiming a hard earned 2-2 draw at Chelsea, and while it was a match where their defensive resolve was severely tested they more than matched the champions throughout and showed why they have surprised so many this season to lie in the lofty heights of seventh place. Manager Quique Flores continues to go about his business while sporting a relaxed, though thoughtful, demeanour and he is gaining an increasing number of admirers in the process.

The front two were yet again on the scoresheet in West London and here Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo have the opportunity to test themselves against the side with the best defensive record in the top-flight, so it will be interesting to see how the Hornets go about unlocking Spurs at the back. To do that they will need Etienne Capoue to run the midfield battle, and while that is a tough ask, he has no shortage of motivation as he takes on his former club.

Boxing Day could have gone much better for Tottenham, who not only cemented their place in the top four with a comprehensive victory over Norwich City, but saw most of the teams around them drop points to leave them in a very strong position. Defeats for the top two will have also raised a couple of speculative hopes that they could even go so far as to challenge for the title this term, such is the great form they have shown right from the beginning.

A record of just two defeats from their opening 18 games says it all, and Saturday’s win suggested that they are now playing with the customary swagger of a leading team. They were actually slow out of the blocks, but once Harry Kane won and converted a penalty for the opener they did not not look back, with the top scorer showing signs of having formed a successful understanding with Dele Alli, who forever catching the eye. As for this one, it looks a tight encounter where one goal might settle it.

Nathan Ake returns for Watford after he was ineligible to face his parent club, but defenders Joel Ekstrand and Tommie Hoban are still sidelined by injury.

Tottenham are still without Clinton N’Jie, but Danny Rose may return to the starting line-up after missing the last two games.

Last Meeting: There were plenty of chances, but this fixture ended in a goalless draw when it was last played in October 2006. Watford’s Tommy Smith was the main culprit as he was responsible for a glaring miss just yards from goal, while teammate Ashley Young saw a goal ruled out. As for Tottenham, Aaron Lennon had four efforts saved by goalkeeper Ben Foster and Robbie Keane saw his late attempt cleared of the goalline.

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