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Player ratings: ‘He was like a man possessed after Ake was sent off’

Heurelho Gomes 7

Was involved in a lovely moment pre-match when he applauded the Tottenham Hotspur fans. It was a move reciprocated, cutting him more slack than was afforded to Etienne Capoue. Could do little for Erik Lamela’s goal, as it was strategically placed through the legs of Miguel Britos but was again guilty of punching when he could have caught the ball. It was from one of his punches that Kieran Trippier whipped in the cross for the winner.

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Ikechi Anya 6
Selected for his energy and freshness, the Scotland international’s first notable contribution was to bomb forward and sling in a cross with his favoured right-foot. It picked out Odion Ighalo, who had strayed offside, but it showed his maligned final ball can be up to scratch. Much better suited to right-back than he is left-back, which is just as well as Jose Holebas is now the alternative to Nathan Ake.

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Craig Cathcart 5
Made exactly the same mistake he did against Liverpool and in an identical place. This time he was made to pay the heaviest price for overplaying. It gave Tottenham the all-important momentum and meant Watford had to come from behind, something they don’t like doing – they are yet to win one after falling behind this season. Didn’t do much wrong thereafter and did well to intercept a cutback from Lamela but the damage had been done.

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Miguel Britos 8
An absolute rock and barely gave Harry Kane a sniff. What a defender this guy is. His best moment came when he anticipated a pass for Lamela, stepped in front to intercept it and then rattled through Tripper on the touchline. He couldn’t believe he was booked and neither could we. He’s now been booked in three straight games having kept his nose completely clean since the red card at Preston. Britos came off soon after as he was struggling with a knock picked up against Chelsea – not because it was feared he would be sent off.

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Nathan Ake 7
Carried on where he left off against Liverpool by making a brilliant early block on Harry Kane. Repeated the trick on Kieran Tripper minutes later. Overlapped Jose Manuel Jurado at every opportunity and got to the byline to set up a first-half chance for Ighalo. A sloppy pass across the middle of midfield to Ben Watson was uncharacteristic, as was the outstretched leg he planted in the upper thigh of Lamela. Cheered off in the last home game, he was sent off this time round.

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Ben Watson 7
Must be in good physical shape as the 30-year-old charged around the Spurs midfield with the same relish he did two days earlier at Stamford Bridge. Pinged one glorious crossfield pass from left to right to pick out Nathan Ake and came within centimetres of scoring direct from a corner.

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Etienne Capoue 5
Seemed to play the occasion and the opponents rather than the game. This was his worst performance in a Watford shirt and it was a shame it came against his former club. You felt for him when he snatched at two chances in quick succession in front of the Tottenham fans. “That’s why we sold you” they mocked.

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Almen Abdi 6
Withdrawn at half time as the head coach opted for the legs of Valon Behrami. Abdi could not be blamed for being shattered as he has worked his socks off in the last two-and-a-half matches.

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Jose Manuel Jurado 6
Frustratingly fitful. Mixed some brilliant pieces of play with some distinctly average contributions but cannot be faulted for trying. Does go to ground easily in an attempt to slow down the play and buy his team some time but was on the wrong end of several dubious refereeing decisions. Was as animated as he has been all season when he was booked for tugging back Dele Alli.

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Troy Deeney 8.5
Looked tired first half, understandably so, but dug really deep in the second and was like a man possessed when Watford went down to ten men. Mustered a reserve of energy to charge past Vertonghen late with a remarkable turn of foot. The crowd fed of his desire and passion. Let Toby Alderweireld know he was in a game when he shoulder barged him into the corner flag in the first half.

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Odion Ighalo 8
Out of sorts until he scored with Watford’s only effort on target. Eric Dier will still be wondering how he managed to wriggle past him, with strength and skill, for the goal mustered out of absolutely nothing. Raised his game thereafter and, like Deeney, went up another level after Ake was sent off. Rarely seen him so pumped.

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Substitutes:

Valon Behrami 6
Managed to avoid making a rash challenge, which was a start, particularly when it would have been easy to lose his head amid the controversy. Was the fourth time he had replaced Abdi this season so Sanchez Flores could field Capoue, Watson and Behrami in the same team. Was only the third occasion the head coach has made a half-time substitution this season.

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Sebastian Prödl 6
Reunited with Cathcart at the heart of the defence for the first time since the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Spurs’ north London rivals. His arrival, for Britos, came bang on the hour mark, which gives the impression it was pre-planned and that was all Britos was able to give. Prödl knows Heung-Min Son from their time in Germany so he will have been disappointed to allow him to grab the winner.

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Allan Nyom 6
Was summoned to replace Jurado on 68 minutes to help shore up the defence, with Anya shifted to left-back. Was looking across the line at the two bites Trippier had at the cross that led to the winner, so he led the claims for offside.

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