Gazzaniga rescues Spurs in drab draw
Tottenham were unable to break down Watford and were grateful to Paulo Gazzaniga for claiming a point.
Troy Deeney saw a penalty saved as Tottenham saw their Premier League winless run extend to four matches with an uninspiring 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road.
Jose Mourinho's men have suffered a significant drop in form in recent weeks, and now have just one win from their last six league games following a dour stalemate with Nigel Pearson's relegation-threatened side.
With Christian Eriksen not introduced until the 73rd minute as links with Inter persist and loan signing Gedson Fernandes left on the bench until the 80th minute, a Tottenham team missing the injured Harry Kane lacked the creativity to break Watford down.
They did, however, almost grab an underserved win in stoppage time with goalline technology ruling Ignacio Pussetto had managed by the smallest margin to clear Erik Lamela's bundled effort away to safety.
Watford's best chance came when Jan Vertonghen handballed inside the area but Deeney's spot-kick was well saved by Gazzaniga.
Spurs move up to seventh, eight points off the top four, while Watford - now unbeaten in six league games - are 16th, two points clear of the drop zone as their revival under Pearson continued.
Mourinho will have been satisfied with his side's defensive performance in a low-key first half, having seen them previously record just one clean sheet since he took over in November.
However, Spurs' lack of an attacking spark must have served as a concern for the Portuguese, with Lucas Moura the only player to fashion a chance of real note, the Brazil international denied by the onrushing Ben Foster after being played in by Dele Alli.
It was Watford who took the initiative after the restart, though, and Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr wasted close-range chances before Deeney saw an effort deflected wide.
Son Heung-min curled over on the break for Spurs, who were granted a significant reprieve in the 70th minute when Deeney failed from 12 yards.
Vertonghen blocked a Gerard Deulofeu shot with his hand and Michael Oliver duly pointed to the spot, only for Gazzaniga to make a low save to his right from Deeney's poor penalty.
Lamela came agonisingly close to securing all three points as he looked to bundle home Serge Aurier's low cross, but debutant Pussetto cleared the ball just before it crossed the line to deal Spurs another setback in their quest for Champions League football.
93 - Watford 0-0 Spurs ended a run of 93 Premier League games without a goalless draw for Tottenham, the second longest run in the competition's history (Man Utd, 114 games ending May 2002). Stalemate. #WATTOT— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 18, 2020
What does it mean? Deficiencies laid bare for shot-shy Spurs
Tottenham had just seven shots to Watford's 15 in a match many will have expected them to win. Mourinho would obviously love to have Kane available, but even he would have struggled to influence a game in which Spurs displayed a striking lack of ingenuity.
Pussetto preserves a point
Watford fans will be hoping that Pussetto can make contributions at the other end of the pitch, but the impact he made in denying Argentine compatriot Lamela could prove crucial come the end of the season.
The Hornets would be four clear of the drop zone had Deeney not failed from the spot. He has missed three of his last six penalties having scored 12 of the first 13 he took beforehand.
Tottenham host another side scrapping for survival as Norwich City visit north London on Wednesday, a day after Watford make the trip to the Midlands to face Aston Villa.
- Journalist at JJA Sport Studio: Football / Soccer
- Leader columnist department