Watford started the new year dismally after their injury ravaged side were thrashed 4-1 by Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side deservedly took the lead after 27 minutes when Harry Kane fired home. It did not take long for Spurs to extend their advantage as Kane punished more poor defending.

A disastrous first half for the Hornets ended with a third goal for the visitors through Dele Alli after a mistake from Younes Kaboul.

Tottenham made it 4-0 only minutes into the second period after Alli added his second goal of the game in a horribly one-sided match.

It was a miserable afternoon for Walter Mazzarri's side, despite a late consolation from Younes Kaboul, as the pressure intensified on the Italian after Watford's fifth defeat in seven games.

Defender Craig Cathcart returned from injury for his first start since September for the injury hit Hornets in place of the suspended Miguel Britos. Abdoulaye Doucoure was handed his first league start in midfield for the injured Valon Behrami.

Troy Deeney replaced Odion Ighalo in attack while Juan Camilo Zuniga came in for the injured Daryl Janmaat. But an ankle injury in the warm-up resulted in Ighalo taking Zuniga’s place in the side.

Three academy players were named on the bench with Brandon Mason, Carl Stewart and Charlie Rowan drafted into the decimated squad.

Tottenham were forced into several changes to the team with Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer replacing the suspended Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen following Wednesday’s win over Southampton.

The visitors had the first effort of the game through Heung-Min Son but his long-range shot was easily saved by former Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

Tottenham felt hard done by after not being awarded a penalty when Christian Eriksen’s fierce strike was blocked by the hand of Etienne Capoue.

Kane had a sight of goal from the edge of the penalty area but the England striker curled his effort past the far post.

Spurs spurned a decent chance to take the lead when Danny Rose blasted his shot over the crossbar from inside the area.

Tottenham threatened again through Eriksen but his fizzing long-range strike flew narrowly over.

The visitors were desperately unlucky not to take the lead through Alli but his shot cannoned off the crossbar.

It was only brief respite though as Kieran Trippier threaded a ball into the path of Kane and he fired his low finish into the net.

Spurs doubled their lead within minutes when the same pair combined and Trippier’s cross was volleyed in again by Kane.

It should have been 3-0 when Son side-footed inches wide of the target from close range.

But the third goal arrived before the break when Kaboul failed to clear the ball and Alli ruthlessly punished the Hornets by firing into the corner of the net.

Watford Observer:

It got even worse at the start of the second half when Kane played in Alli and the midfielder fired past Gomes to make it 4-0.

The hosts finally mustered their first attempt of the game after 51 minutes but Ighalo’s effort drifted harmlessly wide of the target.

Mason was handed his Watford debut with more than 20 minutes remaining after the academy defender was introduced in place of Jose Holebas. 

The Hornets' injury problems increased after Nordin Amrabat was forced off with Jerome Sinclair replacing him.

Spurs still looked capable of adding to their lead but Son blasted his effort high and wide.

It was effectively target practice for the visitors and Eriksen's shot from distance flew narrowly past the post.

Mazzarri made his final change with defender Christian Kabasele replacing Capoue.

There were ironic cheers from the home fans after goalkeeper Hugo Lloris plucked the ball out of the air by Kaboul's pull-back late on.

The Hornets did get on the scoresheet in injury time through a scrappy close-range effort from Kaboul at the second attempt.

But it still could not stop the boos following the final whistle after a miserable start to 2017 for Watford.

Watford: Gomes; Holebas (Mason, 68), Prodl, Kaboul, Cathcart; Capoue (Kabasele, 78), Guedioura, Doucoure, Amrabat (Sinclair, 75); Deeney, Ighalo

Subs not used: Pantilimon, Folivi, Stewart, Rowan

Tottenham: Lloris; Rose (Davies, 68), Wimmer, Trippier, Adelweireld; Eriksen, Alli (Winks, 61), Dier, Son, Wanyama; Kane (Janssen, 77)

Subs not used: Vorm, Sissoko, Dembele, Carter-Vickers

Referee: Michael Oliver

Attendance: 20,882