Watford welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Vicarage Road for a Premier League match on New Year’s day.
The Hornets are on a streak of five consecutive top flight defeats. The club has only every lost so many Premier League matches on the spin in the same season twice before (1999/00 and 2016/17) and are teetering on the edge of the relegation zone.
Here’s the XI Claudio Ranieri may select from his stretched squad to stop the rot.
Daniel Bachmann (GK) – While Ben Foster has made surprisingly encouraging strides towards his recovery from a groin strain, the 38-year-old isn’t quite fit enough to replace the understudy more than a decade his junior.
Kiko Femenia (RB) – A doubt going into the fixture after picking up a knock in midweek, Femenia may have to push through the pain barrier given the dearth of defensive options at Ranieri’s disposal.
Francisco Sierralta (CB) – In four top flight appearances, the ten-cap Chile international has lost each outing this season.
Adam Masina (LB) – With Danny Rose spared the ignominy of returning to his former side in the wretched form he has endured this season by injury, Masina’s starting berth in the division’s worst defence for expected goals conceded (per FBref), is assured.
Imran Louza (CM) – A member of Nantes’ youth team while Ranieri was at the helm of the senior side between 2017 and 2018, Louza wasn’t handed a first team debut until the Italian coach left France.
Juraj Kucka (CM) – At the more sensible end of the spectrum of footballer tattoos, Watford’s summer arrival has a character from the Netflix series Stranger Things inked on his left calf, with the words ‘Friends Don’t Lie’ permanently scrawled over the image of ’11’.
Moussa Sissoko (CM) – Watford’s current skipper made in excess of 200 appearances across five years for their upcoming opponents, Tottenham.
Emmanuel Dennis (RW) – One of the few elements in the flagging Watford that is fully firing on all cylinders, Ranieri will find out where his side would be without Dennis when he joins up with Nigeria for AFCON after this fixture.
Joshua King (ST) – Watford’s number seven has never played more Premier League games against a club without scoring than his 11 goalless appearances when facing Spurs.
Joao Pedro (LW) – The youngest player to start a Premier League game for Watford this season may take the position of Cucho Hernandez after replacing the Colombia international at half-time of the club’s last outing.
You can read 90min’s preview of Watford vs Tottenham here.