Tottenham move closer to Champions League qualification as Harry Kane and Dele Alli down Watford

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Watford: The two England internationals struck either side of half-time as a below-par Spurs extended their lead over Chelsea to five points


When Tottenham Hotspur and their supporters look back at their year exiled at Wembley Stadium it is unlikely they will remember much about this match.

Dele Alli continued his goalscoring form following a goalkeeping mistake and Harry Kane kept the pressure up on Mohamed Salahby scoring a second as Spurs moved to within touching distance of Champions League qualification. That was about as good as it got.

This was not pretty, a disjointed affair played in a subdued atmosphere with just 52,675 turning up at the national stadium. Those that stayed away probably had the right idea.

Mauricio Pochettino named his strongest XI (Getty)

There was still very much to play for both these sides, Tottenham still not certain of a Champions League place and Watford needing a victory to be assured of safety.

But try telling that to supporters who seemed lacking in interest with plenty of empty seats at Wembley.

Harry Kane, who started the day five goals behind Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot, had an early effort straight at Orestis Karnezis saved.

Harry Kane made rather a sluggish start (Reuters)

Eric Dier then headed over from Mousa Dembele’s cross but it was a very subdued start from both sides apart from that.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were gifted the opener on 16 minutes by a true howler from Karnezis, who is keeping Heurelho Gomesout of the Watford side.

The on-loan Udinese goalkeeper failed to catch a simple Kieran Trippier cross with Christian Eriksen passing to Dele Alli who coolly fired home away from the attentions of four visiting defenders.

It was a fourth goal in five Premier League matches for Alli who has hit form at the right time from an England perspective ahead of the World Cup.

Dele Alli celebrates his opening goal (Getty)

Dier went close to a second shortly afterwards but the utility player’s error nearly presented Watford with a similar gift. Etienne Capoue retrieved a stray pass by Dier and played in Andre Gray, making his first league start under Javi Gracia, but the former Burnley striker shot straight at Hugo Lloris.

Watford grew in confidence with Abdoulaye Doucoure unable to beat Lloris after the ball fell to him inside the area while at the other end Jan Vertonghen had two shots blocked from Ben Davies’ corner.

The visitors should have levelled just before the break when Gray played in Richarlison but the Brazilian’s shot was straight at Lloris who was also alive to Doucoure’s run shortly afterwards.

Tottenham and Kane were to put the game beyond Watford three minutes into the second half though. The England striker slipped over when trying to get on the end of Heung-Min Son’s cross but made no mistake when Trippier retrieved the ball, slotting home comfortably.

Tottenham’s star striker doubled their lead (Getty)

Dembele was forced off shortly afterwards with a knock, being replaced by Victor Wanyama, who was then booked within seconds of his arrival.

Vertonghen then headed an Eriksen free kick against the bar with Kane unable to make proper connection on the rebound.

Watford were still causing problems on the break with Richarlison blazing over with the goal at his mercy from sub Troy Deeney’s header down.

Kane was then frustrated having a goal disallowed after straying marginally offside from Vertonghen’s pass.

Kane thought he had scored a second (Getty)

This game became more akin to a training ground exercise late on as a half empty stadium became less than a quarter empty a long time before the final whistle as supporters chose to get an early train even though they had paid a minimum of £30 to watch this “Category B” fixture.

Tottenham though should have scored a third with Kane’s superb pass picking out Moussa Sissoko who missed the target from the perfect position.

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