I have no doubt that the assessment from James, regarding Spurs will be more scathing than mine of Watford. Another game. Another point. Is this how it’s going to be all season long? Now on 4 points after nine games, the struggles continue and while I would like to be more positive, it’s difficult. The Golden Boys weren’t good and much like the Sheffield United game, conceded nearly 70% of possession to Spurs. The saving grace, Spurs played worse, with a little help from VAR.
The biggest take away from the game, the loss of Danny Welbeck just minutes into the game with an ankle injury. Quique Sanchez Flores said after the game, “During the week he was good. He didn’t complain about anything and our feeling with him was really good, but the ankle is uncomfortable.” That leaves the Hornets with Gerard Deulofeu and Andre Gray as the only healthy front men, as Troy Deeney is still gaining fitness.
Moments after the substitution, Craig Dawson sent a nice long diagonal pass that was taken by Daryl Janmaat with a smart cross across the box that Abdoulaye Doucoure finishes off to give the Hornets their 5th goal on the season and a 1-0 lead.
The game wasn’t exciting or thrilling, Watford with lots of lateral passing and just no creativity going forward. Early success at the attacking end was more a product of a poor defensive showing by Spurs, as Doucoure’s goal was uncontested.
Lack of communication would lead to an 86th minute, Dele Alli goal. Ben Foster was not a busy man for much of the game, making just two saves on the day. Foster was beaten by a Heung-min Son shot that rattled the crossbar but that is as close as Spurs would get. Watford would gift a goal, as ball over the top into the 18-yard box was headed by Christian Kabasele, who failed to clear. Foster coming for the save was obstructed by Kiko Femenia, allowing Alli to score to salvage a point.
This was the second VAR moment of the game, as there was some question of the ball hitting Alli on the shoulder. Hawk-Eye, the company providing video assists had to apologize for flashing the incorrect decision on the board of ‘no goal’ after the review was complete. While this decision might have been clear cut, Deulofeu going down in the box after a botched tackle by Jan Vertonghen, wasn’t.
“We are losing something, I don’t know. It is very weird. Now there are many interpretations and it is difficult to know what happens in secret (where VAR decisions are made).,” said Sanchez Flores after the game. Deulofeu drove into the box from the right, steps away from the end line when a slide tackle appeared to clip the Spaniard and he went down. Supporters left frustrated yet again, as the VAR is creating more controversy.
Depending on how supporters saw the game, I feel we came out of the game with more questions than answers. Does QSF change to a 5-4-1? Do we need to suffer through Andre Gray starting? A positive that I took away, not that I saw many was Roberto Pereyra playing up top with Welbeck to start the game. I feel he brings more explosiveness than Gray. Hopefully Sanchez-Flores starts Pereyra and Deulofeu together.
Defensively, conceding two goals in the last two games has been a big improvement over where the team was 3-4 games ago, but that miscommunication between Femenia and Foster was a costly lesson. Considering this was a game I figured the Hornets would lose, it was good to take a point back to Vicarage Road.
Next week Watford will host Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, a club that hasn’t scored in the last two games and winless in three. This is a game I have tabbed as a possible win for the Golden Boys. While it still feels hopeless, our first win will go a long way. Sure, it will keep us in the relegation zone, but there are only four points between 7th and the relegation zone, as Newcastle is on 8 points, in 18th place.
No assets should be in your starting XI or under consideration.