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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Free-scoring Spurs look to have too much for Watford

But Hornets may at least find a way through

Heung-Min Son was Tottenham's hero in midweek
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Premier League
Sky Sports 1, 12.30pm Saturday

White Hart Lane regulars have been royally entertained this season and the thrills and spills should continue with a feast of goals on the cards between Tottenham and Watford.

Spurs are red-hot favourites to keep their title hopes alive but Watford, on a two-match winning run and having moved into the top half of the table, could have their moments and may find a way past Hugo Lloris.

Despite coming back from the dead to win 3-1 at Swansea on Wednesday, Spurs are running out of time to put pressure on leaders Chelsea.

A seventh successive victory will be the only thing on their minds and their starting line-up could be stronger than in midweek with Lloris and Victor Wanyama likely to return.

The game against Watford will be the fourth they have played since Harry Kane's ankle injury and there are reports that Spurs' top scorer could be back in contention for next weekend's match at home to Bournemouth.

Kane's return is eagerly anticipated but his importance to Tottenham may have been overstated.

The Lilywhites have played eight league games without Kane this season, winning five and drawing three.

The goalscoring burden was shared on Wednesday by Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen – a dynamic trio who have contributed 31 league goals between them this term – only five fewer than Watford's tally.

Alli and Kane have often hogged the headlines but Eriksen has been a key player this season and is third in the division for assists with ten in 29 appearances.

Watford face on ominous task trying to contain the Tottenham attack and their defensive strength has been weakened by the absences of four central defenders – injured trio Christian Kabasele, Sebastian Prodl and Younes Kaboul and banned Uruguayan Miguel Britos.

Walter Mazzarri likes to play with three out-and-out defenders but his hands are tied with Craig Cathcart and Adrian Mariappa the only centre-backs available.

Right-back Daryl Janmaat and left-back Jose Holebas prefer to push forward and there will be a lot of emphasis on holding midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure to protect the back four.

Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure chases Christian Eriksen

Doucoure has taken a long time to adjust to Premier League football but has excelled since coming into the side to deputise for injured Swiss international Valon Behrami.

The Hornets' midfield trio of Doucoure, Etienne Capoue and Tom Cleverley are all comfortable in possession and helped them dominate the opening hour of Wednesday's impressive 2-0 victory at home to West Brom.

However, the undoubted star man against the Baggies was Milan loanee M'Baye Niang, who opened the scoring with a superb goal and laid on the second with a long-range pass to Troy Deeney.

Niang had an excellent game when Watford sprang a huge upset on their last trip to north London, winning 2-1 at Arsenal, and his pace, power and technical ability are attributes Spurs will need to be aware of.

They will also need to keep a close eye on Deeney, who is into double figures for the second successive season and has scored six goals in his last eight games.

A goal for Watford looks likely but Spurs should be the dominant force in an entertaining game and can get the three points they crave.

Tottenham to win & both teams to score
1pt 21-10 general

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Team news
Victor Wanyama (back) and Hugo Lloris (illness) may return along with Harry Kane, but Danny Rose and Erik Lamela remain sidelined.

Miguel Britos serves a one-game ban and fellow central defenders Christian Kabasele, Sebastian Prodl and Younes Kaboul are injured. Roberto Pereyra and Mauro Zarate (both knee) are out long-term.

Key stat
Tottenham have not kept a clean sheet in their last four games against top-half teams.

The Lilywhites have played eight league games without Kane this season, winning five and drawing three
E.W. Terms
Sky bet