Son Heung-min, Harry Winks earn top marks as Tottenham turn it around late vs. Watford
Fernando Llorente scored a late winner as Tottenham came from behind to win for the second Premier League match in a row.
Spurs had fought back from a 1-0 deficit and triumphed 2-1 at Fulham on Jan. 20, with Harry Winks heading in an injury-time winner. And, although the North Londoners went on to suffer back-to-back defeats in the domestic cup competitions, history repeated itself against Watford at Wembley on Wednesday.
Tottenham trailed 1-0 to Javi Gracia's Hornets with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, after Craig Cathcart's first-half header, but Son Heung-min levelled on his return from the Asian Cup and Llorente completed the turnaround with a dramatic 87th-minute winner.
Tottenham's mental strength had been questioned after successive cup exits, but they showed their fighting spirit here. They are still yet to draw a single Premier League match this season.
Meanwhile, Tottenham are one of only two top-six sides to win their midweek fixture, along with Arsenal. They are now just two points behind Manchester City and have also moved closer to leaders Liverpool.
Set-piece defending has been a consistent issue this season. Having conceded twice in that manner in September's reverse fixture at Vicarage Road, Spurs again fell behind to a corner, with Cathcart again getting his name on the scoresheet. More work is needed on the training ground.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Mauricio Pochettino could have deployed the returning Son up front but instead stuck with Llorente, and that decision also seemed to dictate his tactics as he opted for a 3-4-3 system with wing-backs. For much of the match, his plan did not work. It seemed unnecessary to have three centre-backs for a home fixture against Watford, and it didn't help his side when they conceded from a corner. At the other end, the wing-backs generally did not create enough to make up for the absence of a fourth attacking player and Pochettino had to introduce Lucas Moura at half-time. He also used three different right wing-backs. Yet he stuck to his plan and it eventually paid off as Llorente scored from a Danny Rose cross.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 5 -- Wasn't asked to do much but made a key error, coming for the corner, then stopping and getting caught in no-man's land.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 6 -- The Belgian was initially marking Cathcart for the corner but was blocked off, allowing his man to head in the opener. He did well to keep up with Gerard Deulofeu though when the Spaniard was threatening to run through on goal.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 5 -- Won a number of headers in the middle of the back three, but not the one that really mattered.
DF Jan Vertonghen, 7 -- Played some nice passes out from the back and nearly managed to prod the ball past Foster after arriving unmarked outside of Watford's box in the first half.
MF Serge Aurier, 5 -- Offered little and was substituted at half-time.
MF Danny Rose, 7 -- While his crosses were hit and miss, he kept plugging away, varying his deliveries to keep Watford's defenders guessing. Eventually got his reward with an assist for Llorente.
MF Harry Winks, 7 -- Helped Spurs to dominate possession and tried to inject some energy with some driving runs.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 -- Initially deployed in central midfield, the Frenchman was asked to play as a wing-back after the break and he delivered one of Spurs' better crosses when he created a gilt-edged chance for Llorente. Was withdrawn with his side trailing 1-0.
MF Christian Eriksen, 6 -- Created a couple of openings in the first half and a no-look pass to Son, who was behind him, was delicious. On the other hand, his set pieces were generally poor.
MF Son Heung-min, 8 -- Full of running. The South Korean went close with a curling effort early on and was unfortunate that no one was there to finish from his low cross moments after Spurs fell behind. It was no surprise that it was he who scored the crucial equaliser.
FW Fernando Llorente, 7 -- Another incredibly mixed display. There were a number of poor touches and passes, and a glaring miss at close range. Yet the Spaniard also created a first-half chance for Vertonghen, played a part in the equaliser and scored the winner.
MF Lucas Moura, 7 -- Added pace in the second half, while his through ball to Llorente helped to produce the equaliser.
MF Kieran Trippier, 6 -- Became Spurs' third right wing-back of the night when he replaced Sissoko.
MF Erik Lamela, N/R -- Replaced Vertonghen at 1-0 down in the 79th minute and ended up on the winning team.