Five thoughts after Crystal Palace game.
Following on from Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road, here are five of my main thoughts after yesterday’s game.
Unjust defeat for Golden Boys
Whilst Watford weren’t at their best on Sunday, they certainly didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. A defeat was rather unjust in what was an even affair. Both sides cancelled each other out for large parts and chances were few and far between. The winner for Palace came from the penalty spot, after an error from one of Watford’s star performers this season. Allan Nyom has been one of the Hornets’ most consistent performers so far this season and has made the right-back role his own. But he needlessly lunged in on Wilfried Zaha inside the penalty area and referee Anthony Taylor had no hesitation in pointing the spot. Cabaye dispatched the resulting penalty and that proved to be the winner and that showcased the fine margins that are present in the Premier League. If Jurado’s free kick had flew into the top corner instead of striking the cross-bar, we might be talking about another Watford victory or the fact that Quique Sanchez Flores’ men have continued their unbeaten record at home. The defeat to Palace will be a bitter pill to swallow but it will provide the Hornets’ with some tough lessons which will stand them in good stead for the rest of the season.
Crossing again proved to be a problem.
One of the Hornets main problems this season has been the final ball or cross into the box. That problem reared its ugly head again against Crystal Palace. On a number of occasions the Hornets got into good positions on Sunday only for the final ball or cross to be lacking in quality. Mostly, the ball would fail to beat the first man, meaning that Deeney and Ighalo were feeding off scraps for large parts of the game. For a Premier League side, this is poor and it’s something that the Hornets need to look improve on in the coming weeks.
More quality needed in the final third from the Hornets.
Against Crystal Palace, I just think Watford need a little more quality in the final third. With Deeney and Ighalo being man-marked all game by Brede Hangeland and Scott Dann, it was up to some of the other players in yellow to make things happen. However, the Hornets struggled to break through the resilient Palace defence and I just felt that Watford missed that bit of creativity and quality that was needed to carve open the Eagles’ defence. The Hornets crosses were poor and they were slow in possession at times, so I think a little more quality in the final third would have enabled the Hornets to create some clear cut chances.
Another thing that I picked up on Sunday, was that Quique Sanchez Flores’ men seemed reluctant to pull the trigger in promising positions. The Hornets would get into excellent positions only to take too many touches on the ball, which gave Palace the chance to close those in Watford shirts down.
You may get the chance in the Championship to take an extra touch but the reality is you don’t get that time in the Premier League.
Anya and Jurado impress.
I’ll put this out there now. I haven’t been one of Ikechi Anya’s biggest fans over the past couple of years. He used to be one of Watford’s most frustrating players for me. However, this season the Scotland international has turned a corner and has really made the step-up to the Premier League. In my opinion, he has been one of the Golden Boys most consistent performers and has looked comfortable in the left-back position. It says a lot about Anya’s form that Jose Holebas, who was Roma’s first choice left-back last season, has been left on the bench and in the stands the past couple of games.
Jose Jurado had his best game in a Watford shirt against Crystal Palace. He could frequently be found in space and showed some nice touches and pieces of flair over the course of the game. His crossing and set-pieces improved and he was so unlucky that his superb free kicks struck the bar instead of flying into the top corner. Also had a goal-bound shot blocked by Joe Ledley. Sunday’s game was much better from the former Spartak Moscow man.
Ake looks the real deal.
It might have only been a brief substitute appearance, but Chelsea loanee Nathan Ake looked the real deal. He was strong in defence, comfortable on the ball and wasn’t afraid to venture forward either. Also showcased that he has some pace in his locker. On first viewing, Ake looks like a good option to have and I’d certainly like to see more of him over the course of the season.