Hornets have sting to trouble Spurs

Watford's Nathaniel Chalobah (left) in action against Bournemouth, on Jan 12, 2020.
Watford's Nathaniel Chalobah (left) in action against Bournemouth, on Jan 12, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • With four wins in five Premier League games, it has been quite the turnaround for Watford under Nigel Pearson.

Before his appointment last month, the Hornets were rock bottom and in danger of getting cut adrift from their fellow strugglers.

On Dec 14, they were six points from safety. But, a month later, 17th-placed Watford have moved out of the drop zone for the first time this season.

While many have credited captain Troy Deeney, who has scored four goals since, as well as Pearson for sparking their five-game unbeaten run, Ismaila Sarr's role also cannot be understated.

Beset by injury problems since his arrival from Rennes last summer, Watford's record signing at £30 million (S$52.7 million) has taken his time to settle.

However, he was an integral reason behind their rapid rise up the table, having been directly involved in four goals in six league games since Pearson took over the reins.

The pace Watford have in their team, from Sarr to Gerard Deulofeu, spells danger for Tottenham, who have kept just one clean sheet in 14 matches in all competitions under Jose Mourinho.

WILL TO SURVIVE

We knew we had the talent, but we lost our grit and will to win. There's a fine line between properly putting work in and just putting work in, and that's the difference between staying up and going down.

BEN FOSTER, Watford goalkeeper, on their recent turnaround in form.

And Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster has warned today's opponents that "we have momentum now".

He told the club website yesterday: "We knew we had the talent, but we lost our grit and will to win.

"There's a fine line between properly putting work in and just putting work in, and that's the difference between staying up and going down.

"It's been a complete turnaround... but the gaffer is not letting anyone rest on their laurels."

After just three victories in their last eight games in all competitions and facing a confident Watford side, Mourinho may choose to mix it up at Vicarage Road.

Portugal midfielder Gedson Fernandes was signed on an 18-month loan deal from Benfica in midweek and he is in line to make his debut.

The 21-year-old revealed that the opportunity to work under his compatriot was too good to turn down, as "he's one of the best" and he was hungry to prove himself after being largely frozen out at his previous club this season.

Fernandes added: "This is a fantastic challenge I have accepted and I have to win my challenge. Every player in the world wants to play in the Premier League, now let's make my dream come true."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2020, with the headline 'Hornets have sting to trouble Spurs'. Print Edition | Subscribe