Watford have gone from having a manager nobody knew and a squad people were tipping for relegation to the Champions League places. Yes, I know it’s only three games into the season, but it’s a great start for a side whose Premier League credentials were brought into question before a ball was kicked.
I will freely admit I was one of those naysayers, and I will happily let Javi Gracia – who I tipped as the first manager to lose his job – to apply egg to my face personally.
Their opponents on Sunday are fellow nine-pointers Tottenham, fresh from their romping 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have been impressive this season – Harry Kane learning how to score goals in August being a particular bonus – and they go into this one as favourites against Watford.
The Hornets have not found goals hard to come by so far, netting seven times in their three matches – but this is a strong Spurs defence who have been playing together for years.
I’m tipping Spurs to win comfortably. Watford’s wins over Brighton, Burnley and Palace are undeniably impressive, but Spurs, full of confidence after their Old Trafford exploits, will pose a whole new challenge.
I’m backing a Spurs win by two goals; they look strong up-front and solid at the back, which is something this Watford side won’t be able to compete with.
Spurs’ win at Old Trafford was spearheaded by a number of excellent performers – none more so than Lucas Moura.
Life at Tottenham started slowly for the Brazilian – who signed from PSG in January – but he has started this season like a freight train; Son Heung-min’s absence has been largely compensated for thus far.
The winger has three goals already – two of which against United – and you can be sure he will be running hard at that Watford defence once again. He injects some pace in this Spurs side that was previously lacking.
His opposite number is likely to be Jose Holebas; the Greek has already been booked twice this season and is not afraid of a tackle. Moura will be a handful for Holebas on Sunday, and I’m tipping the Watford left-back to be carded for his troubles.
Much has been made of Harry Kane finally scoring in August – but those days are over. September is upon us, and the World Cup Golden Boot winner (I LOVE saying that) will be back up to his usual tricks for the rest of the season.
He has scored against Fulham and Manchester United this season, and will be looking to add to his four goals against the Hornets on Sunday.
Spurs’ reliance on Kane is always repaid – you wonder what would happen if he sustained a long-term injury with such little depth up-front – and I’m expecting Sunday to be no different.
Spurs to win and Harry Kane to score is my final, price boosted tip.