Kieran Trippier hits decisive goal as Spurs beat Watford to move up to second place
Kieran Trippier scored his first goal for Tottenham as the Lilywhites secured a 1-0 home win over Watford and climbed to second place in the Premier League table.
Spurs had dominated the game for an hour but been unable to beat their former goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes on his return to White Hart Lane.
However Dele Alli, who started the game on the bench as a precaution after feeling dizzy during Tuesday’s 3-0 victory at Norwich, came off the bench and set up the decisive goal four minutes later, delivering a low cross to Trippier.
Tottenham’s sixth successive victory in all competitions took them above Manchester City, who had suffered a 3-1 home defeat to league leaders Leicester City earlier in the day, and up into second spot. They remain five points off the top.
There were four changes from the Spurs side that had lined up at Norwich four days previously. Nacer Chadli replaced Alli, starting in the Premier League for the first time since October 17, and Erik Lamela was preferred to Heung-Min Son on the right flank, while Mauricio Pochettino rotated both of his full-backs as usual, with Trippier and Ben Davies getting their turn.
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Spurs were on top throughout the first half but were unable to get the breakthrough. Harry Kane latched onto a long ball from Toby Alderweireld and, although his shirt was being pulled, managed to send a shot goalwards. It lacked power though and was comfortable for Gomes.
With Chadli and Lamela playing in narrow roles alongside Kane, there was plenty of space for Spurs’ full-backs out wide and Trippier delivered a fine cross, with Chadli diving in but seeing his header deflected wide.
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On the other side, Davies’ low shot hit Allan Nyom and ricocheted just wide of the near post, and the left-back then played a one-two with Chadli and saw his shot saved by Gomes.
Chadli headed wastefully over from an inswinging Lamela free kick and, although Watford briefly threatened as Almen Abdi lobbed the ball over Hugo Lloris and onto the roof of the net from the right flank, Tottenham continued to push for an opener in the closing minutes of the half.
Davies burst through again and saw a deflected cross saved by Gomes, who then stopped an effort from Lamela at his near post - and Eric Dier crossed for Kane, who volleyed over from six yards.
Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores made a double change at half-time, introducing Valon Behrami and Troy Deeney and switching to his usual 4-3-1-2 formation.
But Tottenham continued to threaten and had two penalty appeals rejected in quick succession. Gomes tripped Kane from behind after being beaten to a loose ball, and Nyom then tangled with the Spurs striker from a cross, but referee Roger East ignored both shouts.
Watford’s Craig Cathcart did well to reach Trippier’s dangerous cross before Chadli, and that was Chadli’s final contribution as he made way for Alli on the hour-mark.
The substitute had an immediate impact. Mousa Dembele drove down the left flank and gave the ball to the overlapping 19-year-old, who played a glorious low cross in front of the goalmouth with the outside of his boot, and Trippier arrived at the back post to score his first goal since January 2014.
Son replaced Lamela and forced Gomes to save with his legs after a powerful drive, and Eriksen then tested the Watford keeper again with a low shot from a tight angle, with the ball deflecting agonisingly in front of Alli four yards out.
Watford had one chance as Deeney got in behind Kevin Wimmer but he cut back and opted to tee up Ighalo, whose shot was blocked by Dier.
At the other end, Eriksen flashed a cross in front of the goal, inches ahead of Kane as he stretched to reach it.
Tottenham had to defend some high balls into their box during four minutes of injury-time but a second successive clean sheet confirmed another victory.
Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Lamela (Son 71), Eriksen (Carroll 90), Chadli (Alli 60), Kane
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs