OPINION - Five thoughts following Watford's 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Watford slipped to a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane on Saturday, as a Kieran Trippier goal in the second half secured the three points for Tottenham Hotspur.
In truth, if it wasn't for Heurelho Gomes and some wasteful finishing from Spurs, the margin of victory could have been larger, in a match where the Hornets were second best right from the off.
Quique Sanchez Flores' men were overrun in midfield and failed to create any clear cut chances against an organised Tottenham Hotspur defence, as they missed the presence of Troy Deeney up front.
It was a disappointing performance from the Golden Boys who will now be looking to return to winning ways next weekend against Crystal Palace.
After attending Saturday's game at White Hart Lane, here are five of my thoughts:
1 - Spurs deserved the win.
From the first whistle to the last, Mauricio Pochettino's men were superb and caused the Hornets all kind of problems. Spurs overran the Hornets in midfield and were completely in control of the game. If it weren't
for Heurelho Gomes in goal, they would have most certainly won by a bigger margin and Spurs were by far the best side the Hornets have faced this season. Kieran Trippier, Ben Davies and Erik Lamela caused the Hornets problems throughout the game, as Pochettino's men exploited the space down the wings.
Whilst Spurs were superb, the Hornets were rather subdued and they barely offered any threat in attack. Quique Sanchez Flores set Watford up defensively with the hope that the Golden Boys could nick a goal or two on the counter attack. But that wasn't the case as Odion Ighalo was isolated for long periods and the Hornets struggled to break down a well organised Tottenham side.
2 - Performance of Gomes and the Watford defence are positives.
Despite the result and performance, it wasn't all bad for Watford on Saturday at White Hart Lane. The performance of Heurelho Gomes and the Golden Boy's defence was a positive, as they stood resolute on a number of occasions.
Gomes was superb in the Watford goal, as he pulled off anumber of good saves to restrict Mauricio Pochettino's men to just one goal. Without him in goal, Spurs could have quite easily scored more and the Brazilian certainly proved his doubters at White Hart Lane wrong, with a number of excellent saves.
In defence, the Hornets were resolute for some time and were organised as per usual. In particular, I thought Craig Cathcart was superb. His positioning and awareness was brilliant and he also pulled off some vital
interceptions. He was also calm with the ball at his feet and wasn't afraid to put the ball out or kick it long to avert any danger. The Northern Irishman is so consistent and such an important part of this Watford side at the moment. It's crazy to think we signed him on a free transfer in 2014. He is proving to be one of our best signings under the Pozzo family.
(Alan Cozzi/Watford FC)
Nathan Ake also had a good game as well. Despite being isolated at left back, due to the lack of protection and help he was given, Ake performed admirably, pulling off some vital tackles, interceptions and blocks. He couldn't get forward as much as he would have liked, but he carried out his defensive duties well. It was a tough day at the office for the on loan Chelsea man but he performed admirably and I felt he had a good game.
3 - Etienne Capoue needs to be dropped/rested.
Don't get me wrong, Etienne Capoue has been one of our best players this season. But recently, he has gone off the boil and I was very disappointed with his performance against Mauricio Pochettino's side on Saturday. You would have thought he would be right up for it against his former side to prove a point. However, this didn't look to be the case, as for the large parts of the game he looked disinterested as he just strolled about the pitch with no aim or purpose. He failed to track back on a number of occasions and allowed Trippier to enter the penalty area unmarked for his goal. His retention of the ball was also unusually poor, as he gave possession away on a number of occasions The only thing he really did all game was nutmeg three Tottenham players in a row. Apart from that, Capoue didn't really do an awful lot to be honest, which was frustrating for me. This might sound harsh to some, but his performance levels have dropped over the past and I'm struggling to work out why and as such I think he needs to be rested against Crystal Palace. Could it be tiredness? Could it be that he has become complacent? Whatever the reason, in my view, Capoue needs to be dropped or rested next week as his
performance against Spurs and in recent weeks against Southampton and Swansea have been very disappointing.
4 - Suarez looked rusty
Mario Suarez made his full debut for the Hornets on Saturday and whilst he did show some nice touches, the match against Spurs was something of a harsh 'welcome' to the realties of English football. Whilst Suarez did show some nice touches and pulled off some good tackles, he looked quite rusty and Sanchez Flores has since admitted that the Spaniard 'needs to think a bit quicker' when on the ball. The midfielder seemed rusty as he needlessly lost possession on a few occasions and mistimed a few tackles during the first half. The former Atletico Madrid man was taken off at half-time, after a tough 45 minutes, but there is more to come from him. You can't really judge him after one showing and I'm sure there is more to come from the midfielder.
5 - Deeney and Amrabat need to start next week.
In my opinion, Troy Deeney and Nordin Amrabat have to start for the Golden Boys next weekend if fit. Deeney was left on the bench yesterday, due to tiredness, although Match of the Day commentator, John Motson, said the striker had struggled in an earlier fitness test. During the first half, the Hornets really missed Deeney and his aerial presence up front. As a result, Ighalo was left frustrated as Capoue and Abdi failed to get forward to help the Nigerian up top. Without Deeney alongside Ighalo, the Hornets had no attacking threat. The Hornets' performance against Spurs should indicate to Sanchez Flores how important the captain is to this Watford side.
Without him, we aren't the same and have little to no aerial threat.
Another player who I feel should start next week is Nordin Amrabat. If Sanchez Flores is to use a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation, then Amrabat has got to start given he is the only natural winger in the squad. Jurado and Abdi aren't wingers and whilst they can usually put in a good shift, they don't have that pace or guile that Amrabat does to take on a full-back and whip in a good cross. Given we've paid £6.1 million for his services and he arrived with a glowing report from Malaga fans, it seems strange how he has barely featured in the league since joining. He would certainly bring some creativity and pace to this side, something we dearly missed on Saturday against Spurs.