Xisco Munoz’s Watford side finally ended a poor stretch of away form with a 2-1 victory away at Stoke. Second half goals from Troy Deeney and Ismaila Sarr gave the Hornets a healthy lead before they held on for the last 10 minutes following a Steven Fletcher goal. Here is how I rated the Golden Boys.
Daniel Bachmann – 7.5/10
Another assured performance between the sticks, this was the goalkeepers busiest league game to date and he dealt with everything that came his way. Just a couple of stops but his second in particular was fizzed in awkwardly and he handled it brilliantly to prevent a follow up finish. He wasn’t rash in coming out for unnecessary balls and his kicking was handy overall even when put under pressure.
Kiko Femenia – 6/10
Watford’s player of the season to date was about the only player who didn’t treat the ball as a hot potato in the first half, showing his usual finesse in possession albeit not perfect. He did have one slip up where he headed back aimlessly and put Stoke in a dangerous position but his response wasn’t dampened. In previous seasons Kiko has lacked confidence when sticking to his defensive task but while he wasn’t able to contribute going forwards, his defensive work was alert and James McClean got little change from him.
William Troost-Ekong – 7.5/10
With such a lack of movement in front of him, the centre backs had their work cut out when distributing the ball and Troost-Ekong had some very shaky moments on this front which was a real problem. Defensively he was pretty convincing cutting out several crosses, making good decisions when needed.
Francisco Sierralta – 7.5/10
The Chilean centre half has made a great impact since starting for this club but this was his toughest test to date. He was flustered on occasions picking up a booking after being rolled by Nick Powell but again he was efficient with his work, making a number of interceptions and dealing with the aerial threat well. Like his partner he found it difficult when he had a hold of the ball.
Adam Masina – 4/10
I thought Masina was pretty woeful on the whole, his decision making and use of the ball was constantly sloppy and off the mark. Defensively he looked vulnerable in the first 45 in particular but he did respond well with moments in the second half, sniffing out some danger at the back post. We know he is a capable player he just needs to take more care with his use of possession.
Tom Cleverley – 6/10
I didn’t understand the decision to start Cleverley on the right hand side and he quickly found himself more central after Watford’s performance was faltering including the midfielders lack of input. When central he was tireless off the ball, his defensive work was so dogged and really aided Watford securing the win after taking the lead. Even though his quality was lacking he always looked to try and get on the ball and get the team going.
Nathaniel Chalobah – 6/10
So pedestrian both on and off the ball in the first half, this was a performance we were accustomed too for large parts of the season so far but like the team Chalobah showed a different energy in the second half, getting through a lot of good defensive work and offering more stability on the ball at the very least. He did show a bit of individual quality playing a 1-2 in the first half which led to Watford’s best moment as he forced a save from the Stoke goalkeeper.
Will Hughes – 5.5/10
An unsettling game for Hughes who was so impressive in his return to the starting line up in midweek, he got shifted to the right of midfield after he initially struggled to get the tempo going from the middle of the park. Then to the left, it was no surprise he couldn’t find a rhythm although he was by no means poor going both ways.
Ismaila Sarr – 7/10
Started particularly poorly on the left hand side, failing to keep hold of the ball in the opening stages. He just got better and better as the game was on, having to take his customary fouls on the chin. His movement was the difference in the second half, getting in behind before failing at the final hurdle before Joao Pedro nipped in and won the penalty. Shortly after he got in behind the Stoke defence and fired home beautifully from a difficult angle. When the confidence started flowing, Stoke couldn’t handle him.
Joao Pedro – 7.5/10
I thought the Brazillian was the pick of the lot when it came to a complete 90 minutes, he was the only player showing something constructive in the first half, showing some neat touches in the process. His reading of the play for the penalty was well anticipated and crucial in the game. His decision making and ability to travel with the ball was impressive.
Troy Deeney – 8/10
A tough job to be the focal point in a side that wasn’t flowing in the first half but Deeney wasn’t offering much himself, barely connecting with a teammate in the first 45 minutes. He was however the match winner in the second 45 with decisive moments, a delicate chip into Sarr’s path resulted in a great chance for the winger but shortly resulted in the penalty which he dispatched emphatically. He then played a finely weighted through ball which Sarr scored from. His all round play and the way he saw the game out from up top was fantastic.
What do you make of these ratings? Let us know in the comments below!
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