Talk about adding insult to multiple injuries.
A hotchpotch of a Watford team, ravaged by injuries, got exactly what was feared they might get from a red-hot Tottenham Hotspur: a real going over and you now fear Stoke what might do to them on what is bound to be a cold Tuesday night at the Britannia. Make no mistake, this Watford team are in freefall and it’s probably a good job there are some lousy teams in the bottom three.
Tottenham bossed this game from the first whistle to the last, with Watford looking like a Championship team hoping and praying for a giant-killing in an FA Cup tie. They barely laid a glove on the rampant visitors who had so many attempts on goal the match, at times, resembled a coconut shy. It took Watford 53 minutes to manage an attempt on goal and even then Odion Ighalo fired his effort into the stands.
Harry Kane, on the other hand, helped himself to two goals inside 30 minutes, Dele Alli stroked in a third before the break, got another within 60 seconds of the restart and, at that stage, you started scouring the record books to check Watford’s heaviest ever defeat at the hands of the opponents from the white half of north London. Watford, who failed to muster a single attempt on goal, were booed off at half time and the choice of Faith, by George Michael, for the opening song of the break was entirely apposite. Most fans had headed for the exits long before the hapless Younes Kaboul scored a consolation. And even then, Watford managed to make a mess of that.
There was no disgrace losing to a side who went third with these easily-earned three points but this is the upshot when you allow your injury record to reach farcical propositions. Watford fans didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when Juan Zuniga was pulled out at the 11th hour, surprise, surprise with an injury. You cannot expect to field a mishmash of a team, and name four teenagers on the bench, and expect to get away with it.
Son, Christian Eriksen, twice, Kane, Danny Rose and Alli all tried their luck with efforts from various ranges before Adlene Guedioura, for the umpteenth time in recent weeks, gave the ball away, eventually resulting in Kieran Trippier picking out the angled run of Kane. He ran off the back of Jose Holebas and beat Heurelho Gomes at his near post. There was still 63 minutes to play but already you feared the worst.
Now with his eye in, Kane and Tripper were at it again minutes later, the England striker ghosting in between the ball-watching pair of Sebastian Prodl and Craig Cathcart to ram in his second. Son should have made it three minutes later before Alli did, benefiting from some hopeless defending from Kaboul.
Whatever Mazzarri said at half-time, be it in English, Italian or Swahili, it had no effect as Alli made it four before some fans had even managed to make it back from a half-time comfort break. It was starting to get embarrassing. Son should probably have made it five while the overworked Gomes stopped Kane from claiming his hat-trick by tipping a free-kick round the post. Mauricio Pochettino couldn’t have imagined that Spurs would be in such control that he would be to take off Alli after an hour and Kane after 75. It was probably just as well for Watford that he did.
The biggest home cheer of a wretched afternoon came when, with nothing to lose, Mazzarri brought on Brandon Mason for his debut. Watford, after a long wait, have another one of their own. The pickings were that slim that him finding a man with his first touch was worthy of another cheer.
The young left-back helped limit the damage, either that or Spurs took their foot off the gas but, long before the end, jubilant Spurs were singing: ‘Chelsea, we’re coming for you’. The future for Watford and Mazzarri is less clear-cut.
Watford: Gomes: Kaboul, Prodl, Cathcart; Amrabat (Sinclair 74), Guedioura, Doucoure, Capoue (Kabasele 79), Holebas (Mason 67); Ighalo. Deeney. Subs: Pantilimon, Folivi, Stewart, Rowan.
Spurs: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose (Davies 67); Dier, Wanyama, Son, Eriksen, Alli (Winks 61); Kane (Janssen 77). Subs: Vorm, Sissoko, Dembele, Carter-Vickers