MX23RW : Thursday, January 31 13:11:07

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Wednesday's Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Watford.

Tottenham Hotspur head into Wednesday's Premier League encounter with Watford looking to overcome the disappointment of going out of two cup competitions in the space of three days.

Watford make the short trip to Wembley Stadium looking to keep hold of seventh place in the top-flight standings and having reached the last 16 of the FA Cup with victory at Newcastle United.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino pictured on January 20, 2019© Reuters

Mauricio Pochettino would have been confident of reaching a cup final and expected a lengthy run in the FA Cup at this point last week, but the Argentine now has a huge job on his hands to lift a side which has been eliminated from two competitions in quick succession.

Losing out to Chelsea on penalties in the EFL Cup semi-finals would have been difficult to take, but witnessing his players produce a below-par display in the 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup may have left Pochettino with doubts about the strength of his squad.

Toby Alderweireld, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane all played no part of the disappointment at Selhurst Park, but Pochettino witnessed how important those five men are to the club hitting their targets.

Pochettino will be keen to avoid an over-reaction to seeing their hopes of a trophy this season left solely on the Champions League, although there needs to be an acknowledgement that Spurs are still moving no closer to achieving their long-term goals.

Facing an in-form Watford side provides Spurs with their third significant test in less than a week, and it is going to take a big effort to find the energy levels and belief to grind out a result.

The return of Son after international duty with South Korea is a major plus for Pochettino, but the attacker is likely to be as jaded as his teammates and the Spurs boss will not want to take any risks with a player who will take on extra responsibility in the coming weeks.

However, it should still be remembered that this is a team who have still registered 12 points from their last six outings in the Premier League and for all of their recent criticism and fitness issues, results have still been recorded at an important stage of the season.

Spurs may also benefit from a run of three successive home games in the top flight, but failure to defeat Watford on Wednesday will make matches with Newcastle United and Leicester City that little bit tougher.

Recent form: WWLWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWLWLL


Watford manager Javi Gracia pictured on August 26, 2018© Reuters

Many were surprised that Javi Gracia opted to make as many as 11 changes for Saturday's FA Cup tie at Newcastle, but the Spaniard was rewarded for showing faith in a set of players who have rarely let him down this season.

Goals from Andre Gray and Isaac Success gave the club a deserved 2-0 win in the North-East, and Gracia was quick to suggest that he had a duty to provide chances to each member of his united squad at a time when the Hornets are threatening their best campaign in over 30 years.

Watford have not finished in the upper half of the top-flight standings since ninth place was achieved back in 1986-87, a season which also saw the club reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

Such has been Watford's improvement under Gracia that each of those achievements are now deemed as realistic targets this season, and it is difficult to back against neither of those being earned come the end of the campaign.

Watford have recorded five wins and four draws from their last 10 games in all competitions, and the only setback in the Premier League during that period came against a Chelsea side inspired by Eden Hazard.

There is a feeling that Gracia is beginning to create something special at Vicarage Road, and his side will relish the opportunity to try to inflict more misery on Spurs at the national stadium.

Watford have not fared well against the teams above them this season, but they did come from behind to see off Wednesday's opponents earlier in the season and that is still relevant given Spurs' recent struggles.

Gracia will not want to place too much pressure on his players - nor will he want expectations to grow too high - but Watford have been transformed into a team who will provide a tough match for anyone and it would not be considered that much of a surprise if they earn a result later this week.

Recent form: WLDDWD
Recent form (all competitions): DDWWDW

Team News

Son Heung-min in action for Spurs on December 26, 2018© Reuters

Pochettino will hope to call upon Son for Wednesday's game, but the forward will be assessed before a decision is made regarding his selection.

Ben Davies, Alli and Kane remain out, but Moussa Sissoko should be in a position to return to the squad after a knee injury in order to take a place on the substitutes' bench.

Hugo Lloris will replace Paulo Gazzaniga between the sticks, while both Alderweireld and Eriksen will feature in the starting lineup having been rested at the weekend.

Watford are likely to remain without Abdoulaye Doucoure, who is expected to be absent with a knee injury until at least the weekend.

Gracia is expected to recall the majority - if not all - of the players who were rested at the weekend, meaning that Gray and Success could have to make do with a spot among the replacements.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Trippier, Dier, Winks, Rose; Eriksen, Moura, Lamela

Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Janmaat, Mariappa, Kabasele, Holebas; Sema, Cleverley, Capoue, Pereyra; Deulofeu; Deeney

Head To Head

Wednesday's meeting will represent the 48th competitive clash between the clubs, with Spurs prevailing on 30 occasions in comparison to Watford registering just eight victories.

There have been eight matches since Watford regained promotion to the Premier League, and Spurs have recorded six triumphs and a draw since December 2015.

However, the Hornets emerged victorious in the reverse fixture at Vicarage Road at the start of September.

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We say: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Watford

Pochettino is aware that his side must deliver a positive response in order to get their season back on track, and we expect the North London side to have to work hard in order to edge out a spirited Watford team.

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Who will win Wednesday's Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Watford?

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Tottenham's Fernando Llorente celebrates scoring against Chelsea in their EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea on January 24, 2019
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