Spurs claim scrappy win over Watford


Dele Alli scored his 14th goal of the season and his fifth in his past seven games for Tottenham

Tottenham moved closer to qualifying for next season’s Champions League with a scrappy victory over Watford at Wembley Stadium.

Spurs capitalised on an error from Hornets goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis as Christian Eriksen set up Dele Alli and the England midfielder scored from 12 yards out.

Harry Kane doubled Spurs’ lead early in the second half from Kieran Trippier’s pull-back and Jan Vertonghen later headed against the post.

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris denied Andre Gray and Richarlison, with the Brazilian also shooting over from six yards out.

Tottenham remain fourth in the Premier League but are now five points clear of Chelsea with only three matches to play.

Meanwhile, the visitors are still not guaranteed safety as their winless run extended to seven matches.

Kane v Salah for the Golden Boot

Harry Kane scored 25 Premier League goals in 2015-16, 29 goals in 2016-17 and has 27 in 2017-18

It was a welcome goal for Kane, who had only scored twice in his previous eight games, with one of those efforts – the winner at Stoke on 7 April – was controversially awarded to him by the Premier League goals accreditation panel after he claimed Eriksen’s free-kick had touched his shoulder before going in.

Nevertheless, there was no doubt about his 27th league goal of the season – his 38th in all competitions – in the 49th minute when he steered in Trippier’s pass.

That goal means Kane is four behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who has 31, as the England centre-forward aims to win the Golden Boot – awarded to the Premier League’s leading goalscorer – for the third successive season.

Kane had earlier wasted two chances, with a weak side-footed effort directed at Karnezis, and another opportunity slipping away with a heavy touch when collecting a pass from Son Heung-min.

With England manager Gareth Southgate watching on, Kane had further chances to add to his tally but failed to connect with the rebound after Vertonghen’s header hit the post and then had a goal ruled out when he was offside, moving too early from the Belgium defender’s pass.

Gracia and Watford’s poor run goes on

In thirteen games in all competitions, Javi Gracia’s Watford have won three, drew three, lost seven, scored nine and conceded 19

Watford’s disappointing end to the season continues. They are 13th, but only six points above Southampton in 18th, who have three games left to play.

The Hornets’ biggest problem has been in front of goal; they have scored nine times in 13 matches under Javi Gracia. Four of those goals came in one game – a memorable 4-1 win over Chelsea on 5 February.

Andre Gray, with four goals in 31 matches since an £18.5m move from Burnley last August, should have done better with a low strike that was comfortably saved.

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris also produced a fine one-handed save to deny Richarlison, who later wasted a glorious chance when he blasted over from six yards out after substitute Troy Deeney’s knockdown.

Watford sacked former boss Marco Silva in January with the club 10th in the table, but on a run of only one win in 11 games after the Portuguese coach had been repeatedly linked with the managerial position at Everton.

Gracia led Watford to an initial upturn in form, with 10 points from his first five league games, although they have picked up two points from seven matches since then.

A finish of 13th two seasons ago did not keep Quique Sanchez Flores in his job, nor was 17th enough last season to save Walter Mazzarri, and Gracia’s future at the club is looking insecure after only 13 games in charge.

The Hornets’ last two games are at home against Newcastle on Saturday, 5 May before an away game at FA Cup finalists Manchester United on the final day of the season and they need two points to mathematically guarantee their Premier League status.

Man of the match – Kieran Trippier (Tottenham)

Trippier provided the cross which Orestis Karnezis fumbled in the build-up to the first goal and then set up Harry Kane for the second.

What’s next?

Tottenham play at bottom-of-the-table West Brom on Saturday, 5 May (15:00 BST), while Watford entertain Newcastle United at the same time.

More to follow.

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