Watford kick-started their Premier League season under Marco Silva with a 3-3 thriller at Vicarage Road in the early kick off. Liverpool came into the game with firm expectations of a win but were behind twice in the opening 45 as the Hornets regained a 2-1 lead going into the interval. A more resurgent Reds side powered into a 3-2 lead following a Firmino penalty and Salah finish before a late Miguel Britos goal in injury time salvaged a dramatic draw for the hosts. With so much action on the opening day, I offer my thoughts on what we’ve learnt from the game.
Old habits in a new beginning
My first point is arguably a huge concern. Despite finding an equaliser to gain a point I was very disappointed with the second half performance. There were too many factors where I felt like I was watching the Watford of last season under Walter Mazzarri and that really disheartened me as a fan with the way we collapsed in handing Liverpool a 3-2 lead. From the second half whistle we were lacklustre and all of the good tactical points of the first half seemed to be chucked away, players were not in shape and working as a unit which made life far too easy for a Liverpool side who I thought were average at best and therefore very much there for the taking. The acceptance of throwing away all of the previous hard work, amateur like mistakes for the goals and lack of urgency to find an equaliser was a horrible reminder of what was endured too many times last season. It should really hurt when a goal goes in and the players should look to ask questions and dig their heels in so the damage doesn’t get worse but that’s exactly what happened. That very much begs the question about the mindset of the players, the head coach can only do so much, more responsibility needs to be taken in these circumstances as if we had anything about us we would have walked away with 3 points rather than 1 against a disjointed Liverpool side while equally because of a sloppy second half we were lucky we weren’t finished off.
Doucoure is the man
The Watford man of the match picked up where he left off after another fine display. He grabbed his second Watford goal and it’s hard to argue with the fact he was the pick of the bunch. This is very encouraging for the side going forwards as we’ve seen so many times that players at the club tend to have spells of excellence but also fail to sustain good levels of form which often explains why they are at Vicarage Road and not at loftier heights. While that can apply to Doucoure he’s got off to a great start and long may that continue as he has been excellent since his emergence in the team.
Another interesting point I find is that Nathaniel Chalobah has often been described as a quality player and signing for the club. While on paper that does look spot on, the gifted 22 year old has proven nothing as an established Premier League footballer. This is why we don’t fully know what we’re getting and Chalobah’s performance today is a gentle reminder that despite his great breakthrough season with the club 5 years ago we’re still dealing with an unknown quantity with regards to proven performance. He has all the assets needed to be a revelation but he’s been misguided by Chelsea and holding down his position at this level will be a tough ask when he’s developed a reputation as a quality player without actually proving so. This isn’t to say he’s not going to be a real hit now that he’s been given a chance but equally it’s up to him to prove his worth and express his talent because playing well for Watford over 38 games compared to playing the odd 20 minutes for a comfortable Chelsea side is a completely different ball game.
Alarming for Amrabat
The Moroccan winger gets a lot of criticism from the fan base but it’s easy to forget he was our player of the season last term up until an injury. However with awful form leading up to the season opener he’s going to come under scrutiny with his performances. I like Amrabat but he is becoming indefensible after his countless slow thinking and poor decision making was highlighted again against Liverpool. He does look way out of his depth and this position is a real concern as there are a lack of alternatives. I’ve always found he gets an unfair treatment particularly as he’s a hard working and likeable character which couldn’t always be said of other players but if we’re going to involve ourselves in the brutal nature that is the football industry then we shouldn’t be seeing Nordin in a Watford shirt too many times again.
Strength in depth
I wasn’t overly thrilled with the line up against Klopp’s men and that highlighted why Marco Silva is still on the lookout for new recruits however despite this it also raises the need for pure quality that can improve the starting 11 as the squad depth looks to be much greater than in the previous two seasons. I would even go as far as saying the hosts looked in a better position to adapt to the game than the much more wealthy Merseyside club. Add to this the likes of Deeney, Hughes and Zarate weren’t even in the squad and this can give installed belief that Silva will be capable of fixing any problems should the bad luck with injuries continue to arise.
What do you make of these points Watford fans? Let us know in the comments below!