Dele Alli struck an 86th-minute equaliser to deny bottom club Watford their first Premier League win of the season at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The hosts lacked just about everything in a poor opening 45 minutes, and they fell behind inside six minutes as Abdoulaye Doucoure calmly turned home Daryl Janmaat‘s delightful low cross. But after a defensive mixup, Ben Foster could only direct his punched clearance into the shoulder of All, who made no mistake from close range as Tottenham snatched a 1-1 draw.
Spurs were boosted by the return of Alli, who made just his second Premier League appearance of the season, and the England midfielder proved his side’s saviour with a late late equaliser following another lengthy spell of VAR confusion. The hosts improved significantly after the break, largely down to the introduction of the energetic Son, who could have ensured all three points had his powerful effort early in the second half rattled the net instead of the crossbar.
Tottenham lost one of their main attacking threats ahead of this one after Christian Eriksen failed a late fitness test, and the Dane’s absence was plain to see as Spurs lacked creativity for large periods of the game. Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked void of confidence at times and could have been the architects of their own downfall if not for Alli’s equaliser in a woeful defensive display.
Manager rating out of 10
5 — Pochettino made seven changes and it showed in an opening half where Spurs looked totally disjointed and struggled to make things click into place. However, his decisions to switch formation and introduce Son at the break paid dividends in a significantly improved second 45 from his side.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Paulo Gazzaniga, 5 — Comfortably beaten from close range by Doucoure’s cool finish. Got away with a couple of horribly miscued clearances but should have been tested much more.
DF Serge Aurier, 7 — Always an option down the right and looked to get crosses into the Watford box at every opportunity. Produced a blistering run and faultless challenge to deny the visitors a near-certain second.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 4 — Picked up a cheap booking in the first half and was replaced by Son at the break as Spurs looked to increase their attacking threat.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 4 — Left desperately chasing the heels of Doucoure but never had a sniff of stopping the Watford man turning home the opening goal.
DF Danny Rose, 4 — Didn’t do nearly enough to try and stop Janmaat’s pinpoint delivery for the game’s opener. Showed glimpses of his ability but was nowhere near his best.
MF Dele Alli, 7 — A rare and vital source of creativity in a under par midfield. Always looked the most likely to create an equaliser and did just that to rescue his side a point.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 5 — Struggled to find his best form. Produced some wasteful passing and squandered a rare first-half opportunity when he blasted comfortably over the bar from distance.
MF Harry Winks, 5 — Energetic and industrious if not particularly sparkling. Worked hard to provide an outlet for his side and relieve the pressure on the back four. Replaced by Tanguy Ndombele in the 71st minute.
FW Harry Kane, 5 — Forced to endure a severe drought of service in the absence of Eriksen. Despite an increase in intensity from Spurs after the break, he still didn’t really see too much of the ball.
FW Son Heung-min, 7 — Replaced Sanchez at half-time and completely changed the dynamic of the game as Spurs visibly moved up a gear. Thumped a powerful effort off the crossbar via Foster’s fingertips.
MF Erik Lamela, 5 — Replaced Lucas Moura in the 63rd minute. Gave possession away cheaply to abruptly halt a dangerous attacking move following some nice play between Alli and Kane and later couldn’t quite pick out Alli with an inviting ball into a dangerous area.
MF Tanguy Ndombele, N/R — Replaced Winks in the 71st minute but didn’t have time to make a huge contribution. That said, added plenty of energy as Spurs fought on until the end.