Tottenham Hotspur face a potentially tricky start to 2017 when they travel to Watford on Sunday.
Spurs come into the game in good form, with Wednesday’s commanding 4-1 victory away to Southampton making it four wins from their last five games.
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) December 31, 2016
Three more points at Vicarage Road would see them momentarily move above arch-rivals Arsenal into the top four, with the Gunners playing later that afternoon.
Watford, meanwhile, have picked up just four points from a possible 15 in their last five matches, with a Troy Deeney penalty salvaging a draw for the Hornets in their Boxing Day fixture at home to Crystal Palace.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will have to make do without defensive duo Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen, with both players serving one-match bans after picking up their fifth yellow cards of the campaign at Southampton.
Toby Alderweireld has recovered from a virus to return to the side, whilst Argentina international Erik Lamela remains sidelined with a hip injury.
Watford’s injury list continues to grow, with Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami expected to be out for up to three weeks with muscular injuries, which could leave manager Walter Mazzari with up to nine players unavailable for Sunday’s clash.
Craig Cathcart could make his return from injury but is unlikely to last the whole 90 minutes, according to Mazzari, who will also be without full-back Miguel Britos, who is suspended.
Tottenham have never lost a Premier League match to Watford and Pochettino will be hoping to extend that record as they look to keep pace with league leaders Chelsea and the rest of the top four.
“For us the most important game is Watford to try and reduce the gap on the top four”, the Spurs manager said in his pre-match press conference.
“We need to be focused on Watford, that’s the most important thing for us.”
Predicted Watford starting XI: (3-4-3) Gomes; Kaboul, Prodl, Cathcart; Zuniga, Guedioura, Capoue, Holebas; Ighalo, Deeney, Amrabat.
Predicted Tottenham starting XI: (4-2-3-1) Lloris; Trippier, Dier, Alderweireld, Rose; Dembele, Wanyama; Alli, Son, Eriksen; Kane