Next Three Crucial for Watford to get Up and Running
At the 26th time of asking, Gerard Deulofeu finally found the net in the league this season. The Spaniard had managed 25 shots previously – the most without scoring in the league this term – before his late penalty against Chelsea at Vicarage Road. That spot-kick gave the Hornets hope of getting something against the Blues, but it didn’t quite happen, thanks in no small to the Blues goalkeeper Kepa denying his opposite number Ben Foster in stoppage time.
There were positives from Quique Sanchez Flores’ side, but they are still winless this season in the league, rock bottom, and their top-flight win drought stretches back to last season, spanning 15 games. Flores is trying to look at the silver lining in this Hertfordshire cloud, but there’s no glossing over Watford’s state.
‘We have positives, we are able to do good things but this does not happen for a full match,” the Spaniard told Watford’s official website. “It’s tough for the players but we need to go for the positive moments and make more of them. Some bits we can take as positives. When we concede so early it is hard for us but we kept in it’. Watford were threatening in fits and starts, mostly in the final 15 minutes of both halves, Flores has noted the need for sustenance and consistency.
In a way, this summed up Watford’s season so far; sloppy on an occasion too many, and dogged performances which don’t get much reward. They were off the pace in the first half of their home game against Arsenal in September, before rallying after the break to take a point, and perhaps should have won that game. They were threatening for most of the game at Spurs a fortnight ago, and would surely have felt aggrieved to have only settled for a point in that match as well.
But those two games – arguably their most impressive displays since Flores returned – were against a side that’s incredibly flaky and another going through some form of system meltdown; to put it into context, Arsenal haven’t won any of their past three league games, and Spurs conceded three to Brighton days after shipping seven against Bayern Munich.
There have been injury problems, not least up front, where Troy Deeney has been missed, but it’s just not happening for Watford right now. Confidence also helps, and the players’ minds would well have been going for the worst when they conceded after just three minutes on Saturday. ‘Players lose confidence when we lose a goal in the first five minutes and we then tried to recuperate good feelings’, said Flores. ‘We need to try to solve this situation. A good result will sort this’.
Not just a good result. It’s also about getting a good result soon. Watford could excuse this defeat against a flying Chelsea side, particularly away from home, but what comes next should be important. Next weekend, the Hornets make the trip to Norwich, the side immediately above them, for the chance to grab a first win and move off the foot of the table. Then there’s a home game against Burnley, before visiting Southampton, a side currently three points above them in 18th place.
‘Once we get our first win under belt, we can push on’, said Foster. ‘From what I can see we will work our way through this’. 11 games have been played. Evidently Watford have a lot more work to do.
- It’s a seventh away win in a row for Chelsea, who stay in fourth place. But surely that’s not as impressive as the assist for their first goal, from Jorginho. Magnificent.
- In the past week, Arsenal have scored eight goals, led four times, and had three different two-goal leads. Yet the Gunners have won once in five games. Wolves looked listless at the Emirates, yet found a way back into the game in the second half. There was a ‘Wenger In’ banner at the stadium on Saturday, and there are rumours of – gulp – Jose Mourinho becoming the next manager. Unai Emery is certainly under pressure.
- Victory from the jaws of defeat for the top two, as Manchester City came from being a goal down in the 70th minute to beating Southampton, while Liverpool scored twice in the final seven minutes to turn zero points into three at Aston Villa. First hosts second next weekend.
- Three first goals for Sheffield United at home to Burnley, as the likeable Blades move up to sixth place, thanks to a John Lundstram double.
- After a week in which some form of optimism was creeping in, Manchester United managed a defeat at Bournemouth, a game in which the defence looked shaky, the midfield shorn of creativity, and the attack listless. The Red Devils haven’t managed a consecutive anything in the league this season, be it victory, defeat or stalemate, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now lost more games than David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, and Jose Mourinho, having played less games.
Manchester City 2-1 Southampton; Sheffield United 3-0 Burnley; Bournemouth 1-0 Manchester United; West Ham 2-3 Newcastle; Brighton 2-0 Norwich; Crystal Palace 0-2 Leicester; Everton 1-1 Tottenham; Watford 1-2 Chelsea; Arsenal 1-1 Wolves; Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
Kunle Ajao121 Posts
Kunle Ajao is a football writer and columnist for spotkick. Having made a toss of himself trying to actually play the game, he knew better and got a pen instead of boots. Spends a bit of his time with the game, and thinks he's a bit like Sid Lowe. He's not