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August 5, 2012 7:30 PM IST
Vicarage Road, Watford
 
 

Watford 0-1 Tottenham: Defoe goal seals friendly win as Spurs' unbeaten pre-season run continues

Andre Villas-Boas' team have now gone five matches without a loss after the England striker's second-half header earned a victory in their penultimate game before the new campaign

By Jay Jaffa at Vicarage Road

EPL,Jermain Defoe,Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City
Getty Images
Tottenham stretched their unbeaten pre-season record to five games thanks to Jermain Defoe's second-half header but it was a lacklustre showing at Vicarage Road on Sunday afternoon.

The 29-year-old striker found room in the box to head home Kyle Walker's cross after an excellent run down the right flank from the youngster.

But with just two weeks until the Premier League kicks-off, Spurs played vast periods of the game at walking pace in a match that may pose more questions than answers for Andre Villas-Boas.

The Portuguese boss welcomed Defoe back to the first-team after a family bereavement meant he left Spurs' US tour prematurely, while new signings Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen were only named on the substitutes bench.

The game doubled up as a testimonial for Hornets' right-back Lloyd Doyley, and the early pace of the game signified as much.

In Tottenham's defence, they have just returned from the US and fatigue from a journey that began in Los Angeles and ended in New York may well have taken it's toll on the players.

However, the first period saw just one genuine chance created as William Gallas met Tom Carroll's in-swinging corner but planted his header just over Manuel Almunia's crossbar.

At the other end, ex-Spurs midfielder Mark Yeates controlled a diagonal pass, before twisting past Gareth Bale and sending a cross-shot towards the backpost that Brad Friedel managed to palm behind for a corner.

The visitors had plenty of possession, but where it mattered - in and around the box - their passing lacked precision and was easily dealt with by the Watford defence.

Villas-Boas experimented for most of the half by moving Bale to the right and Aaron Lennon to the left but the former didn't see anywhere near enough of the ball while the latter struggled to link-up with Defoe and the midfield.

At half-time, Villas-Boas made four substitutions, introducing Carlo Cudicini, Walker and the two new signings Sigurdsson and Vertonghen for Friedel, Kyle Naughton, Jermaine Jenas and Gallas.

And although their play marginally improved, their propensity for unnecessary long balls continued to concede possession to the hosts as well as frustrating a visibly agitated Villas-Boas.

But Walker was soon to put a smile on the Portuguese head-coach's face, as he collected a pass on the right-hand corner of the box on the 55th minute. Up against substitute Carl Dickinson, Walker used the space outside him to fly past and stand a perfect cross for the unmarked Defoe to head home from six yards.

Watford may have felt aggrieved to have fallen behind and showed five minutes later that they still offered a threat to Spurs as Yeates latched onto a poor clearance from Cudicini.

Yeates burst onto the loose ball, beating Younes Kaboul and charged into the left-hand side of the box, cutting inside Jake Livermore before firing a low shot just wide of the far post.

Midway through the half, Defoe and Carroll were replaced by Harry Kane and Tom Huddlestone and minutes later it was one of the few remaining starters who came closest to doubling the lead.

Again Walker found room on the right to deliver a precise cross and Bale leapt at the back-post to head at goal, only to be foiled by Almunia. It was the Welshman's final act in an unusually quiet outing as he was replaced by Andros Townsend with 15 minutes to play.

The 21-year-old was met with a chorus of boos from the club he played just three times for in a short-lived loan spell in 2011 but almost silenced them with a rasping 25-yard drive that was well saved by Almunia.

By the full-time whistle only Lennon and Benoit Assou-Ekotto had played the entire game, and though Villas-Boas may have hoped his substitutions would have injected fresh impetus into his team, the reality was different as the match ambled towards it's conclusion.

On one hand, an unbeaten pre-season is positive, but those with good memories will recall Juande Ramos enjoying a similar time in his ill-fated final few months at the club. That said, there is no need to go overboard and the disappointing showing may simply be down to fatigue from the US trip.


Watford

1
Manuel Almunia
Goalkeeper
 - 
12
Lloyd Doyley
Defender
 - 
5
Martin Taylor
Defender
 - 
2
Lee Hodson
Defender
 - 
-
Daniel Pudil
Defender
 - 
50
Jonathan Hogg
Midfielder
 - 
-
John Eustace
Midfielder
 - 
15
Prince Buaben
Midfielder
 - 
11
Mark Yeates
Midfielder
 - 
14
Joe Garner
Striker
 - 
-
Sean Murray
Striker
 - 

Tottenham

 - 
24
Brad Friedel
Goalkeeper
 - 
16
 - 
4
 - 
13
 - 
32
 - 
8
Jermaine Jenas
Midfielder
 - 
14
Jake Livermore
Midfielder
 - 
46
Thomas Carroll
Midfielder
 - 
7
 - 
11
 - 
18

Substitutes

Substitutes

Coach/Manager

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Coach/Manager

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Results
January Friendlies
Times In IST
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Jonathan Jonathan
Striker
Salzburg
1 1
Marco Reus Marco Reus
Midfielder
Borussia Dortmund
1 1
Robert Lewandowski Robert Lewandowski
Striker
Borussia Dortmund
1 0
Jakub Blaszczykowski Jakub Blaszczykowski
Midfielder
Borussia Dortmund
1 0
Marcel Gaus Marcel Gaus
Striker
Kaiserslautern
1 0