Mauricio Pochettino’s team have emerged as Leicester’s closest rivals to win the title and other things we learned from Tottenham 1 Watford 0
By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Spurs have the momentum to win league
It’s not just Leicester fans who are rubbing their eyes in disbelief. So are the long-suffering Spurs supporters. Since losing at the King Power Stadium on 13 January, Tottenham have registered six consecutive wins, the club’s best run in over 20 years. Seventeen goals have been scored in those matches and just three conceded. Those are the statistics of title contenders. This win lifted Spurs above Manchester City to second in the table, although they remain five points adrift of Leicester. In this wonderfully topsy-turvy season, it is Pochettino’s side who are emerging as the closest rivals to the canny Foxes. Spurs have youth, swagger and a winning formula. Crucially, they also have momentum.
Alli is a sensational impact sub
Withdrawn at half-time in the midweek win at Norwich, Dele Alli was demoted to the substitute’s bench even though Pochettino claimed that the teenager’s dizzy spells would not prevent him from taking his place in the team. With Spurs struggling to break the deadlock despite their total domination, the manager turned to his midfield sensation and, within four minutes, Alli had supplied the assist for the opening goal with a delicious outside-of-the-boot cross. What an impact, and what an impact sub. It’s Watford who were left in a spin.
Spurs have most bases covered
This was the 35rd match of the season for Tottenham but there is no sign yet of their squad being decimated by the gruelling schedule, as has been the case at Liverpool. Pochettino tweaked his team from the one that sauntered to a 3-0 midweek win at Norwich, with regulars Alli, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Son Heung-min dropping to the bench. Despite waiting over an hour to score, Spurs produced another convincing display and demonstrated that, bar up front, most bases are covered in their squad. They have the strength in depth to always be competitive.
Trippier is a major threat on the right
The former Burnley defender got the nod over established right-back Walker and grabbed his opportunity with an eye-catching display. With Eric Dier virtually operating as a third centre-back, Trippier was given licence to bomb up the right flank and provided a series of excellent crosses. For good measure, he was in the right place at the right time to finish Alli’s cross at the far post and break the deadlock. It justified his selection and Pochettino’s tactics. Walker might have to wait to reclaim his place.
Wimmer has settled in seamlessly
In the three matches Spurs have played without the injured Jan Vertonghen, they have conceded just one goal, a consolation strike by Colchester. To say understudy Kevin Wimmer has settled in seamlessly is an understatement.