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Watford stun Spurs, United back to winning ways

September 03, 2018

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WATFORD: Watford’s Troy Deeney (R) scores the first goal against Tottenham Hotspur during their English Premier League match at Vicarage Road on Sunday.—Reuters
WATFORD: Watford’s Troy Deeney (R) scores the first goal against Tottenham Hotspur during their English Premier League match at Vicarage Road on Sunday.—Reuters

WATFORD: Watford’s stunning start to the season hit a new high as they made it four successive Premier League wins with a shock 2-1 success against Tottenham on Sunday while Romelu Lukaku struck twice as Manchester United returned to winning ways after two successive losses with a 2-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor.

Having fallen behind to Abdoulaye Doucoure’s 54th minute own goal, Watford responded impressively, recovering to claim the points through headers from Troy Deeney and Craig Cathcart. Having beaten Brighton, Burnley and Crystal Palace in their opening three games, this was Watford’s first test against a top six side.

Tottenham arrived with an unbeaten record of their own to protect, having won 3-0 at Manchester United in their previous league game.

But Watford rose to the challenge to secure a first league win against Tottenham since 1987 — underlining their status as the league’s surprise package.

For Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, this was a concerning defeat.

Had Harry Kane not sent a late headed chance over the bar, Pochettino would have considered a draw to be reasonable reward against obstinate opponents.

Defeat, though, highlighted Tottenham’s lack of cutting edge, with Lucas Moura the only player to consistently threaten, while the manner in which they conceded was cause for concern.

There was a much greater sense of urgency after halftime — initially from Tottenham — with Moura and Christian Eriksen at the forefront of Tottenham’s improved efforts.

Christian Kasabele’s poor clearing header allowed Moura the opportunity to collect the ball on the right hand side of the box and drill in a cross that deflected off the backtracking Doucoure and past keeper Ben Foster.

For the first time in the game Watford applied sustained pressure and were unfortunate not to equalise when Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld headed Deeney’s cross against bar and post.

Spurs were rattled and confirmation the balance of the game had shifted came in the 69th minute when Deeney headed home from Jose Holebas’ free-kick.

Then seven minutes later, Pochettino’s side were unable to deal with another set-piece when Cathcart met Will Hughes’ corner to head past Vorm.

For Manchester United, only a second-half penalty miss from Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford’s sending off shortly after, prevented them from producing the margin of victory their dominant performance merited.

After a promising opening, Lukaku settled any remaining nerves by heading in Alexis Sanchez’s cross in the 27th minute.

Lukaku was also ruthless with the next opportunity that came his way. Jesse Lingard’s shot was blocked and fell kindly for Lukaku to turn home from close range.

Pogba should have put United out of sight in the 70th but had his spot kick saved by Hart after Rashford, who looked lively after being introduced from the bench, was fouled.

Moment later, Rashford reacted angrily to a kick from Phil Bardsley by pushing his forehead into the face of the Burnley defender.

Referee Jonathan Moss deemed the incident violent conduct and showed Rashford a straight red card, just 11 minutes after the striker had entered the match.

Earliar on Sunday, Cardiff City scored their first league goals of the season but Arsenal took the points as Alexandre Lacazette struck a superb late winner to secure a 3-2 victory in a thriller in south Wales.

Arsenal went ahead when Shkodran Mustafi powered home a header from a corner.

Unai Emery’s side were dominating possession but when they carelessly gave the ball away just before halftime they were punished as Victor Camarasa got the better of Nacho Monreal before firing past Cech to spark joyous scenes.

Arsenal restored their lead just past the hour mark when Mesut Ozil and Lacazette combined well to tee up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to curl home from 20 yards but once again Cardiff responded with Danny Ward heading past Cech.

Lacazette sealed victory for Arsenal in the 81st minute when he was allowed to turn in the box by Sol Bamba before firing powerfully into the top corner from a tight angle.

In Saturday’s late fixture, Kyle Walker drove in the winning goal from 30 meters as Manchester City broke down Newcastle’s dogged resilience in a 2-1 victory.

Another marauding right back tied the score after 30 minutes, with US international DeAndre Yedlin sweeping in a close-range finish from Salomon Rondon’s cross in a rare attack from Newcastle.

Raheem Sterling’s eighth-minute opener came at the start of a first half.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018