WATFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Manager Harry Redknapp of Spurs looks on during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Watford and Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road on January 27, 2012 in Watford, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Manchester City on Sunday, Harry Redknapp and the Spurs faithful knew the value of a FA Cup victory to kick start some momentum for Tottenham. Reknapp was not playing around, as he put out a nearly full strength squad on this Fourth Round trip to a struggling Championship Watford side.
The result was unspectacular, but nonetheless effective. Tottenham Hotspur defeated Watford 1-0 at Vicarage Road, in a game marked by sloppiness and lack of continuity for Spurs. From the onset of the game Tottenham seemed happy to sit back, allowing Watford space to attack. The stats bore this out, with Watford recording 25 shots to Tottenham's six.
But in many ways, this was a classic Spurs performance, as scrappy goalkeeping and a decisive counter-attacking made the difference. The goal was sparked on an uncharacteristically good run from Kyle Walker, breaking through the middle of the field before dropping the ball off to Rafael van der Vaart. From there VdV took only a few touches before unleashing a 25 yard bouncing shot that confounded a perhaps at-fault Scott Loach.
Carlo Cudicini was strong the whole game, as the 38-year old back-up keeper looked bright in his shot stopping and marshaling of the defense. Michael Dawson looked sharper again in his recovery from injury and Jake Livermore continues to become more decisive in midfield. But beyond those positives, the club seemed filled with lackluster and uninspired performances.
Next up for Spurs is a quick turnaround before hosting Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane on Tuesday. Hopefully the return of the rested Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto add some lift to a flat Spurs side. Otherwise, Sunday's Fifth Round Proper FA Cup draw should be of great interest for Spurs. With only 16 clubs left next round, the dream of a cup run seems prominent and attainable for a side seemingly on the margins of a title race.