First ones to open the 2017 Premier League account are Watford and Tottenham, who will lock horns at Vicarage Road at lunchtime on 1 January. The two sides head into the Sunday’s duel in contrasting spirits, but with a same aim.
Walter Mazzarri in enduring rather difficult times at Watford over the last month with his team losing four of the last six Premier League matches. The most recent slump has seen Hornets lose their edge and drop to the middle of the standings with 22 points from 18 rounds. There is a huge crowd around the tenth place of the Premier League table and Watford will be hoping to get much-needed three points against Tottenham in order to avoid getting themselves close to relegation scrap. Watford came from behind to earn a point against Crystal Palace last time out and thus managed to put an and to their back-to-back defeats without scoring. A point against Palace might be enough to provide Mazzarri’s players with some morale boost as Watford welcome Tottenham looking to add another positive result to their fine home record. Namely, the Hornets have lost only two of their last ten Premier League matches, and they will be looking to extend the streak to eleven.
Miguel Britos has picked up his fifth booking and will be forced to sit through the Sunday’s game. Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami picked up knocks at Boxing Day and will be sidelined for the match. What is more, Mariappa, Pereyra, Success and Watson will all be unavailable.
The North London side are coming off from a compelling 4-1 win over Southampton last time out, which allowed Spurs to extend their winning run to 3 Premier League matches in a row. Tottenham Hotspur have been disappointed with early European elimination which saw Spurs miss out on both Champions League knockout stage and Europa League demotion, but the club were able to focus all of their attention to Premier League. Spurs are currently fifth in the standings, only a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal and will be keen to grab three points at Vicarage Road in order to put some more pressure on their fierce city rivals. It will be easier said than done as Mauricio Pochettino’s men don’t have an impressive away record to boast with. The 4-1 triumph at St Mary’s was only their second win in last ten matches on the road, whereas the Spurs haven’t been able to notch back-to-back away wins since September.
Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen are serving their one-match bans, whereas Toby Alderweireld looks certain to miss the game as well through illness. What is more, Mauricio Pochettino will be without Eric Lamela, who is injured.
The first Premier League game of 2017 is not the easiest one to predict. Watford are going through a rough patch, whereas Tottenham face a mini-crisis in defence with Pohettino’s first-choices all unavailable for selection. Therefore, goals could be one of the best betting options for the forthcoming match.
Top pick 1: Both teams to score – yes 1.95 (19/20) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 2.00 (1/1) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Harry Kane to score anytime 2.15 (23/20) @WilliamHill