The first Premier League game of the New Year 2017 will see Watford hosting Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs at Vicarage Road. Watford’s recent form has been poor even though they managed to start their season on a decent note under Walter Mazzarri who was appointed in the summer of 2016. However, Spurs will be without some of their key personnel for the game and Watford could very well give them a nasty sting in the tail.
Spurs have picked up their form lately after an early slump in form and are not far way off the top four. They are just one point behind currently fourth-placed Arsenal and will be keen to keep the pressure on the teams above them. Pochettino’s boys thrashed a strong Southampton side in the midweek 4-1 despite going 0-1 down early in the game. Their recent run of form makes them strong favourites for the game.
Watford have lost 4, drawn 1 and won just one of their last six games and in the process, they have failed to score three times and scored more than one goal just once in the other three. Mazzarri will be under an enormous pressure ahead of this game but he has one good record on his side i.e. Spurs have won just one of their last six trips to Vicarage Road.
Mazzarri could be without as many as nine first-team players for the visit of Spurs. Mariappa, Okaka, Behrami, Janmaat, Success, Dja Djedje and Pereyra are all injured for the game. Miguel Britos is suspended. Ben Watson is missing due to personal reasons.
Toby Alderweireld will return after a virus to boost Tottenham’s defensive resources for the New Year’s Day clash at Watford. Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker are suspended for the Premier League encounter after collecting five bookings for one-match bans. Erik Lamela remains sidelined with a hip problem.
Watford (3-4-3): Gomes; Kaboul, Prodl, Cathcart; Zuniga, Guedioura, Capoue, Holebas; Amrabat, Ighalo; Deeney
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Trippier, Dier, Alderweireld, Rose; Wanyama, Dembele; Son, Eriksen, Alli; Kane.
Watford- Nordin Amrabat
Amrabat has been quite impressive for Watford this season with his direct game. He has been more of a mainstay in Mazzarri’s starting XI be it as a wing-back or an advanced winger. The Morocco international is an assured starter against Spurs and will be keen to test the resolute Spurs defence.
Spurs- Dele Alli
A slow start to the season from the English wonder kid made people start thinking that his excellent last season was too early to judge him but he is proving his doubters wrong once again. Alli is certainly making things happen at White Hart Lane of late and will be keen to inflict further damage to a struggling Watford side.
Watford to win: 23/5
Tottenham to win: 17/25