I was confident that we’d win today yet I still had that niggling feeling in my head, especially when I saw the formation and team line-up – one man up front again. Why such a defensive set-up against Watford?
The start of the game was quite frankly crap. We regularly start games with episodes of defensive frailty, and this was exemplified by Harry and the Jak’s miscommunications.
Thankfully, Watford showed no interest of taking advantage, and the game carried on in a very humdrum manner. Two defensive set-ups with very little quality on display.
Then Bobby Madley decided that one up front was not acceptable either, and sent off Niasse for daring to be the only striker. Or something like that.
How that was a red card, I have no idea. It wasn’t even a booking. Of course, the FA will just extend the ban to four games if we appeal. Oh to be a big club.
We continued to be poor afterwards, and perhaps a little clueless, with Evandro particularly ineffective. Watford should have taken the clear but for a fantastic save from the Jak – surely not a coincidence that our form has improved since he became our established goalkeeper – though certainly not the only reason.
Many will claim that Marco is a genius for his half-time team-talks and changes, but one should also be asking why we were so ineffective in the first half. Why does Marco keep needing to make changes at half-time?
Neither side looked capable of scoring for a fair portion of the second half, until we broke with a gorgeous cross from Grosicki, a man who doesn’t always yet have the end product – but is increasingly doing so, headed in by a revitalised Markovic – fast becoming a hero. Well, the header made the goal but it required tapping in to finish.
And then there was THAT goal by Clucas. Quite simply, a beautiful goal – competition for Shakira’s goal last Saturday in terms of craft and execution. Some people still call him clueless, which is surely even more unfair than calling Niasse’s leg stroke a red card.
I’d like to give props to Elmo for an improved performance – better concentration and just a bit more solid defensively.
And Ranocchia again provided stability at the back, quite an unfussy, unflashy defender – the opposite qualities to Maguire (who didn’t have his best game) – he does the basics of positioning and marking very, very well, without the need for monster tackles.
Finally, I thought Hernandez did really well when he came on – a battling, harassing performance – being a striker is not just about scoring goals and I thought he had one of those performances that would be overlooked by purists – but quite vital in changing the tempo and causing problems throughout.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Fuck off Ehab.