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Preview: Watford vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups
01/01/2022 12:53:19

Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they head to Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon to take on Watford.


Spurs will enter the contest off the back of a 1-1 draw with Southampton on Tuesday, while Watford suffered a 4-1 home defeat to West Ham United on the same afternoon.


We say: Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur


Spurs have shown considerable improvement under Conte's management, and the top-four hopefuls will be desperate to return to winning ways this weekend. Watford are capable of pulling off big results at home, but we are finding it difficult to back the Hornets to get anything out of this match.


Match preview


Confidence was high at Watford when the Hornets recorded a thumping 4-1 win over Manchester United on November 20, with the result ultimately leading to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer losing his job with the Red Devils.


It has been a real struggle for Claudio Ranieri's side since then, though, suffering five straight league defeats to Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Brentford and West Ham United.


The Hornets actually took the lead against West Ham on Tuesday but then conceded four times without reply to suffer a 4-1 home defeat, with the result leaving them in 17th position in the table.


Watford are only two points clear of 18th-placed Burnley, who have two games in hand, while there are only three points separating the Hertfordshire outfit from Norwich City at the bottom of the division.


The home side suffered a 1-0 loss to Tottenham in the reverse match earlier this season, but they have not been beaten by Spurs at Vicarage Road since January 2017.


Tottenham have shown huge improvement under the management of serial winner Antonio Conte, with the Italian moving the London club firmly into top-four contention.


Indeed, Spurs are unbeaten in their seven league matches under Conte, recording four wins in the process, and a total of 30 points from 17 matches has left them in sixth position in the table, just five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal with two games in hand on the Gunners.


The capital outfit suffered a small setback on Tuesday afternoon, though, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Southampton, with Harry Kane cancelling out an opener from James Ward-Prowse.


Tottenham looked well short of top-four challengers earlier this season under Nuno Espirito Santo, but it has not taken long for Conte to bring a winning formula to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.


Spurs also have two cup competitions to think about in the early stages of January, taking on Chelsea in a two-legged EFL Cup affair either side of a clash with Morecambe in the FA Cup.


Team News


Watford remain without the services of a number of first-team players, with Peter Etebo, Ismaila Sarr, Christian Kabasele, Ben Foster, Kwadwo Baah, Nicolas N'Koulou, Danny Rose and Tom Cleverley all definitely out, while Kiko Femenia faces a battle to recover from a knock in time for the match.


Juraj Kucka could start at right-back if Femenia is not available, while Joao Pedro, Imran Louza and Ken Sema are all pushing to be involved in the starting XI.


Cucho Hernandez could drop out of the side in an attacking area, but Emmanuel Dennis and Joshua King are certainties to start for the Hornets once again.


As for Tottenham, Steven Bergwijn, Cristian Romero and Ryan Sessegnon will all miss this weekend's contest through injury, but Giovani Lo Celso has returned to training.


Head coach Conte could make one change from the side that started against Southampton, with Lucas Moura replacing Dele Alli, while Oliver Skipp is an option to replace Harry Winks in midfield.


It will once again be a 3-4-3 formation for the visitors, though, with Kane and Son Heung-min operating in attack, while Sergio Reguilon should feature at wing-back despite being substituted at the interval of the draw with the Saints last time out.


Watford possible starting lineup:

Bachmann; Kucka, Sierralta, Cathcart, Masina; Sissoko; Dennis, Pedro, Louza, Sema; King


Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:

Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Winks, Hojbjerg, Reguilon; Son, Kane, Lucas

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