Written by David Robinson
The Hornets have recorded their first clean sheet of the season and with a second half Jose Holebas strike, it was enough to see Mazzarri’s side come out triumphant at the Riverside Stadium. In what was expectantly a scrappy and dull contest, Watford were able to show that moment of quality to win the game 1-0. Some shocking refereeing decisions meant the home side had eleven men on the pitch for the entirety of the game but in a match with limited action, I look at 3 lessons learnt about this Watford team from the game.
1. Success for Watford
The long awaited chop for Odion Ighalo finally happened and with 20 year old Isaac Success looking a real handful in his limited game time previously, it was the obvious choice to put the former Granada man in the side. This in my opinion was likely to be to the benefit of the side and Ighalo who needs to rethink and come back with a purpose. However getting back into the side will be no easy feat following a man of the match display by Success. For consecutive games the Nigerian has been a nightmare to his opposing right backs. His opponent Barragan should have got sent off more than once which directly involved Success being too powerful and tricky. This occasion he had the opportunity to make an impact on the game from the start and while he is raw showing some poor passes in the game, he certainly causes all kinds of panic and provides real encouragement that he can be a key player this season. He did occupy the left hand side throughout the game which left Deeney isolated so tactically there is work to be done by Mazzarri in order to get the best out of Watford’s promising young forward.
2. Record signing willing to role up his sleeves
In what was a combative effort from the visitors, there wasn’t a distinct amount of quality on the ball. Roberto Pereyra is vital for linking up the play and his ability on the ball is key in the 3-5-2 system. While I think he’s had a few good games to start his Watford career, his last few have been a bit flat and only a few nice touches have appeared, that was again the case where he showed quality but it wasn’t an eye catching performance. This aside though it can only be encouraging that he was willing to dig deep and apply himself as Watford had to spend time defending.
It was then no surprise to see the side hold out for the win with each player taking on responsibility. You can only hope as a Watford fan that there is more to come from the Argentinian but having a player that fights for the team in an advanced role is a very good foundation to set.
3. Finding the right system
While a win goes down as a good result there are without doubt still issues that need resolving. Tactically Mazzarri has tweaked the shape early in nearly every match with his side struggling to execute his favoured 3-5-2 formation in a convincing fashion. With changes like this having to be made it makes it hard to establish an identity and a familiar system often gives players a better chance of performing. I believe this group of players are more than capable and with the performance not totally convincing I think the shape still requires some work. It is also hard to gauge what this side is capable of with Middlesbrough providing little threat and being so poor. You can only beat what is in front of you but was this result mainly down to the lack of quality from Middlesbrough? I think with the Burnley defeat still in mind, this system is not always getting the best out of the team and it raises questions for similar matches in the future this season.
Watford fans, do you agree with these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!