Watford vs. Tottenham
Venue: Vicarage Road
Kick off: 4PM
Two sides with a perfect Premier League record face off this afternoon as Watford welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Vicarage Road.
The Hornets and Spurs have won three matches from three this month to join Liverpool and Chelsea on nine points at the top of the division, but something has to give this weekend.
Never in their top-flight history have Watford won three from three to start a season, and they are now aiming to win four in a row at any level for just the second time, having previously achieved that feat in the second tier 30 years ago.
Javi Gracia’s men have profited from a rare summer of stability that saw limited transfer activity at Vicarage Road – they even managed to make a profit – and a manager remaining on through pre-season for the first time since their return to the top flight.
Backed as favourite to become the first manager sacked with many bookmakers, Gracia has found a settled XI – naming the same side three league games running – and the reward for Watford is their best ever start to a Premier League campaign that promises so much.
The 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on the opening day was as straightforward as Prem victories come; Roberto Pereyra netting twice to continue his impressive form that has seen him play a direct part in nine goals in his last nine outings on home soil.
Watford then saw off a fatigued Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor, racking up their first away goals under Gracia in the process, before battling to a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace last weekend to keep their perfect run intact.
While Watford managed to turn a profit during the summer transfer window, they did at least bring in Gerard Deulofeu on a permanent basis and add the likes of Domingos Quina, Ben Foster and Marc Navarro to their squad.
Tottenham, on the other hand, became the first team since the summer transfer window was introduced in 2003 to not make a single signing, reportedly missing out on top targets Wilfried Zaha and Jack Grealish.
Not that a lack of new recruits has proved much of a problem for boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has kicked off his fifth season at the North London helm with three impressive wins, most recently overcoming Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford.
Tottenham had failed to so much as score at the Theatre of Dreams on their four previous visits under Pochettino, but an improved second-half showing saw them come out on top clear winners, courtesy of a Lucas Moura brace and a goal for Harry Kane – his August drought is now well and truly over.
Spurs have also now won their first three away league games in back-to-back seasons, having failed to do so in more than a quarter of a century.
The famous 3-0 win over United will clearly stick in the mind for a while yet, but Pochettino knows that his side must now push on and ensure that they stick with the rest of the challengers in what could be a thrilling title race.
Watford starting XI: Foster, Holebas, Kabasele, Cathcart, Janmaat, Pereyra, Doucoure, Capoue, Hughes, Deeney, Gray.
Tottenham possible XI: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Lucas, Dele, Eriksen, Kane.