While it won’t go down as Tottenham’s most aesthetically pleasing victory, the 1-0 result at Watford was a landmark triumph for numerous reasons. The article by Hotspur HQ.
If you were stewing and lamenting in injury time, rueing yet another two dropped points, you certainly weren’t alone. It looked as if Tottenham were on course for another incredibly frustrating draw against a perceived minnow of the division. The Hornets were unquestionably prime for the taking, though Claudio Ranieri had no intentions of going quietly into the Watford night.
Organized, resilient and resolute throughout, Watford made Tottenham work for every inch of real estate. While Tottenham fashioned more than enough chances to take all three points, it took a Davinson Sanchez close-range header in injury time to secure the victory.
If you’ve been around the Premier League long enough, you know these type of victories are often more important than the comfortable ones. Here’s the three reasons this particular victory is so meaningful for Antonio Conte’s side.
3. What a victory like this does for team morale
Championship-calibre teams find a way to win ugly. Of course I’m not saying Spurs are of that calibre yet, but a win of this nature should have a resoundingly positive impact on overall team morale. To get across the line so late, especially after an otherwise frustrating day at the office, should do wonders for Tottenham’s collective belief and confidence.
The inquest about Tottenham’s inability to break down lesser teams on the road who defend by committee was about to commence. And while one late goal against Watford will not be enough to prevent Conte from trying to find a solution, it will go a long way in restoring Tottenham’s belief that they are able to scratch out results in hostile environments.
Tottenham deserved the same fate against Southampton on Tuesday, but were unlucky, thanks to two incorrect controversial decisions, not to leave the south coast with all three points. Departing Watford with a share of the spoils would have put doubts on Spurs ability to fight through must-win matches. And it would have put serious doubt on Spurs top-four ambitions. Thanks to a late Davinson Sanchez winner, Spurs now have the belief they can get over the line, no matter the situation.
2. Heroics from an unlikely source
When you think of a Tottenham winner, Davinson Sanchez probably enters your mind in the same sequence as Hugo Lloris. Not exactly the match-winning type. The Colombian, who scored his second of the season, was Johnny on the spot from a sensational flat free kick from Son Heung-min. Not to flog a dead horse, but heroic moments from unlikely sources is another hallmark of championship-winning sides.
Sanchez, like Ben Davies and Eric Dier, has transformed his performances under Conte’s leadership. The monumental goal for Sanchez was a rare and particularly precious moment. It was just his third goal in 114 Premier League appearances for Tottenham. And it could turn out to be the decisive moment in Spurs’ quest for a top four berth.
Any team vying for a Champions League spot can attest to the importance of having every member of the squad contribute in different ways. And there is no better way than scoring a 96th minute winner in a must-win scenario. Nobody expects Sanchez to pop up regularly with winners, but this one is worth its weight in gold and will hopefully provide the impetus Tottenham require to forge forward in their pursuit of a spot in next season’s Champions League.
1. Three points puts Tottenham in striking distance of top four
Tottenham are now in striking distance of the top four. A draw would have seriously hampered Tottenham’s progress, especially considering Watford’s current malaise. With the all-crucial win, Spurs jumped ahead of Manchester United by two points (same number of matches played), and find themselves just two points adrift of Arsenal, still with two matches in hand.
It looks like West Ham is on route to a victory over Crystal Palace, which will put the east Londoners a point ahead of Spurs. However, Tottenham will still have two matches in hand on their city rivals.
While points on the board are better than matches in hand, Spurs control their own destiny, which is all Conte can ask for at this stage of the season. Everyone knows the importance of beating teams at the bottom of the table, and Spurs can ill-afford to slip up against the likes of Watford. It’s just one more reason today’s victory is more meaningful than the three points Tottenham slapped on the board.