Written by David Robinson
Watford are still without a win under Walter Mazzarri following a 3-1 defeat at home to Arsenal. The damage was done in the first half when the Gunners hit three goals to make it game over more than likely at the break. The Italian boss saw his side put up a fightback in the second half with debutant Roberto Pereyra scoring from the bench but it was too much of an ask and it leaves the Hornets in the relegation zone going into the international break albeit with just three games played. I look at three things we have learned about Watford from today’s match.
1. The pressure is on
Three home defeats in a week is not the ideal start for Mazzarri in charge and going behind early on against Arsene Wenger’s men was a real blow for a side looking to bounce back in front of their own supporters. However no hasty conclusions can be drawn from just three league games. In fact there have been probably more positives in those performances than negatives especially when Watford deserved to take something against Chelsea. On the other hand in a results business, the signs do not look promising in the forthcoming weeks. Since Watford’s return to the Premier League they have been more than a match to the sides eyeing the title or European football yet repeatedly left without reward. The Arsenal game was another clear example with the first half not having a clear pattern in the away sides favour as the scoreline suggested. With this continuous trend not looking like stopping and with West Ham away and Man Utd at home as the next two fixtures, you would have to fear the club may not progress on it’s singular point obtained.
Flores did a fine job even without collecting points against the leaders in the table but he had a very good record against the strugglers in the league, the games which are really more crucial. This is going to be a hard task for Mazzarri to match meaning the pressure will be on should his side not pick up any unexpected points. This is particularly the case when progress will be wanted at Vicarage Road.
credit Ronnie Macdonald
2. New signings show promise
Mazzarri gave debuts to three players who had recently signed, although both Roberto Pereyra and Daryl Janmaat were introduced from the bench. Younes Kaboul started his first game on the right hand side of defence and showed some brilliant moments of quality although his performance did feature some worrying highlights. Regardless of this you would suspect the Frenchman to fit in at the heart of the back three in the future which would be much more suited to his type of game. This is where we can fully judge the signing as I’d imagine that is what he has been brought in to do.
With the side trailing by three at the break, marquee signing Pereyra was introduced at half time. The Argentinian has come with a reputation, signing from Juventus and it didn’t take him long to show what he is all about. His debut goal is a consolation from this match but his all round performance is a glimmer of what hopefully will come. He simply looked a class above and this built with work rate and creative qualities could mean he is the difference in this side. High hopes but it’s important not to get too carried away although judging by his cameo, it’s hard not to.
Finally Daryl Janmaat was introduced just after half time. Notably the performance levels of the whole team improved in the second half and Janmaat played his part in this. He bombed down the right side providing a real option on the overlap. The Dutchman kept the ball sensibly and certainly has put himself into contention for a starting spot although he faces a tough battle alongside Nordin Amrabat with the Moroccan in form. Something that is wanted at the club, competition for places.
3. Faltering Captain
A goal in each of the four games this season for Watford which is good but no league goal from Ighalo and Deeney should be a worry for fans, even at this stage early on. While of course Ighalo is meant to be the main source of goals, Deeney is the captain and talisman of the club. His performances are usually so influential even if that means little genuine goal threat. Unfortunately he looks off the pace so far this season, far too off the pace. There are little positives taken from his performances, he doesn’t seem to be all over the pitch, fighting in typical style. That is a concern, a side that wasn’t too prolific last term needs all the fire power it can get. It does have to be remembered that Deeney didn’t find his first goal until beyond 10 games time but it’s more his all round work that provides cause for concern.
If the skipper is not near his best it doesn’t bode well for Odion Ighalo who was dependant on the service from Deeney last season. While Ighalo appears to be trying his best to re-discover his 2015 form, he relies on simply putting the ball in the net, something that will be much harder should his strike partner not be effective at doing his job. A big decision has to lay in the hands on Mazzarri now in my opinion and while it would be stupid to underestimate Deeney, he does need to step up quickly before it hurts his side badly.
Watford fans, what have you made of the performances so far this season? Are you worried about the season? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Anders Henrikson