Son Heung-min Free Kick Sends Spurs TOP of the League Table
Son Heung-min marked his 200 th Premier League appearance with the winning goal as Spurs maintained their 100% start to the season against Watford.
Of course, it is only three games into the new Premier League season and Tottenham Hotspur beat Watford to maintain their 100% record while their supporters savor the sight of the League table showing them at the summit and Arsenal at the rock bottoms.
There was a feeling of buoyancy as Spurs emerged before kick-off, with Kane, in particular, receiving a rousing reception from the home supporters.
Heung-min Son scored the only goal just as he did against Manchester City on the opening day of the season. It was Son’s 200 th Premier League appearance and his 72 nd goals, an impressive strike rate even if it does not bear comparison to Harry Kane.
For Kane, he was playing his first game in the Premier League since conceding defeat in his escape bid and he was appealing for a penalty within seconds of the kick off, in an exciting opening minute.
Referee Andre Marriner ignored his claims and Watford broke quickly.
Less than a minute was gone when Eric Dier headed away a shot from Juraj Kucka after pass from Moussa Sissoko, who was making his debut against his former club just two days after his £3million transfer.
It was made clear he had no future under new boss Nuno and the pair came together in the first half when Sissoko and Dele Alli chased a ball into touch near the entrance to the tunnel at White Hart Lane.
Sissoko took a swing at the ball as it rolled out of play and fired it straight at the Tottenham boss, striking him on the chest. He was quick to apologize and a titter of amusement rippled around the stadium.
The home fans gave Sissoko a warm reception but did not spare him an ironic cheer when he skied a chance high over the bar in the second half. They also stood to applaud Danny Rose, back warming the bench at Spurs but this time in Watford colors, when he warmed up in the first half.
After a bright start by the visitors, when Ismail Sarr flickered with promise on the right, Nuno’s team assumed control although they created few clear chances as Watford defended deep and in numbers.
An early effort by Steven Bergwijn was deflected over, Daniel Bachmann saved with his legs to foil Japhet Tanganga from a corner and comfortably gathered a shot from the edge of the penalty area by Dele Alli.
Watford, with Josh King up front and Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis on the flanks, always threatened with their pace on the counter-attack but Spurs found the goal their territorial dominance deserved, three minutes before halftime.
It was scored by Son, direct from the free-kick, generously awarded on the Tottenham left when Bergwijn pushed the ball beyond Craig Cathcart and ran into the full-back.
Son swerved ball in towards the back post, ‘keeper Bachmann remained frozen to his line, confused by the blur of runners and could not react in time as the ball bounced past him and into the net, untouched by anyone.
Watford performed with more purpose in the second half despite losing skipper Cathcart to injury soon after the interval, and the contest slightly improved as a spectacle.
A powerful run by Sissoko created an opening for Sarr but Davinson Sanchez closed him down and made the block.
For Spurs, Alli slid a chance wide, arriving to meet a cross from Kane. Lucas Moura came on and lifted the tempo. Bachmann saved low from Moura and made an excellent recovery to keep out a free-kick by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, which took a heavy deflection.
Kane was frustrated by Watford’s last-ditch defending and ‘keeper Bachmann. Tottenham would have to settle for one goal but it will not spoil the sense of satisfaction as they go into the first international break on top of the Premier League for the first time since mid-December.
The final whistle was greeted with a loud cheer, a chorus of Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur and Nuno prowled the pitch shaking his fist in triumph.