Spurs first League Cup game of the season was played at their second home of the season at Milton Keynes, at least Dele Alli felt at home.
Dele was made captain on his return to his old stomping ground as Pochettino made a number changes, some enforced, as per usual for a cup game. When was the last time none of Eriksen, Kane and Vertonghen didn’t feature in a match day squad?
It really did feel like a home match for Spurs as they fannyed about for the first half, doing very little with the possession they had. Aurier was an out ball, all alone, on the right hand side but his crosses led to little, while at the other end his last gasp challenge saved Spurs from going behind.
Whatever Poch said to the team at half-time, I’m sure it wasn’t “go cough up a goal as soon as possible” but that’s what they did. Seconds into the half and a kick up the park by Gomes was shortly put in the net by Success, Aurier this time too busy playing the man instead of the ball.
Spurs needed something and just after the hour they got a bit of help from the manager when he hooked the inept Sissoko. Sissoko had earlier gone down under a hefty challenge, you look at the injured Spurs players who are out for months on end for what seems like nothing, that tackle would have done most of them but oh no Sissoko walks away from it. The gods smirk at Spurs. The Frenchman departed with Wanyama for Dembele and Son and life was brought back to the team.
Though Winks was still doing nothing. Over-exaggerated side-foot, sideways passes and then just standing there admiring your handiwork doesn’t cut it.
Moura was substituted for Llorente on 70 minutes and finally Spurs had a focal point but were shortly down to 10 men as Aurier trouped off down the tunnel with an injury. Things were soon to be level though, score and player wise, as Kabaseleat took Dele down in the area to give up a penalty and see a red card. A lovely cut back pass from Lamela found Dele in the box and clean through he was taken down. He then stepped up to take the spot kick. Gomes got close but the score was now level.
A few minutes later it looked like Spurs had won it. from a Watford corner, Spurs broke with plenty of space in front of them. Winks for once passed the ball forward, Dembele charged on and place a lovely ball around the defender, to the edge of the box and the onrushing Lamela who clipped the ball expertly past Gomes.
Erik gives with one hand, then takes with the other. As it looked like Watford had nothing left, Lamela coughed up the ball, falling over while desperately not trying to use his right foot, which is ever so slightly annoying and was also responsible for him missing an easyish earlier chance. A few balls later and it was teed up for Capoue to have a pop in the middle of the goal, one deflection later and it’s two all…. and penalties.
Already one Tottenham old boy, Capoue, had denied them the victory. In goal for Watford Heurelho Gomes, signed by Spurs from PSV in 2008 because he’d saved a penalty against Spurs the previous season in the UEFA Cup. Oh great.
But, it was Gazzaniga in the Spurs goal who saved the penalties – don’t know if Vorm or indeed Hugo would have – two of them as Spurs scored all of theirs they needed to take, fittingly Dele Alli – The King of Milton Keynes as Pochettino had dubbed him – with the final, match winning, spot kick.