Written by David Robinson
Watford suffered an undeserved defeat at the hands of Chelsea in what was the first game at Vicarage Road this season. A late fightback from Conte’s men saw the Blues take all three points after Etienne Capoue hit his second goal in as many games to open the scoring. The Hornets were more than a match for the visitors who are expected to challenge for the title this season. However Mazzarri’s men lost what was firm control of the match as the game went on playing deeper and deeper which invited the pressure. The home side were then inevitably punished and in typical style, Diego Costa yet again bagged the winner after he should’ve been sent off. This was not the only familiar sight as the Golden Boys had put up a fight in similar fashion against the ‘top sides’ last season yet come undone in the latter stages. I look back on what was an overall impressive performance and give my individual ratings for the Watford players.
Hereulho Gomes – 4.5/10
The Brazilian keeper ultimately failed in the big moments in the match, something goalkeepers have to live with. He spilled Eden Hazard’s shot with 10 minutes left which presented Batshuayi with a simple finish. Although sympathy could be had as it would have been hard to hang on to the ball, it has to go down as an error that cost his side. Then late on he couldn’t prevent Costa from finding the winner, with the ball squirming through his legs despite firing from an angle. Before hand he endured another awkward moment in the first half where despite good play to grab the ball at Costa’s feet, he let the ball slip and fortunately got away with receving the ball back in his hands when Guedioura messed around with the ball in his own 6 yard box. He commanded his box well and generally kicked well despite a couple going astray however despite how harsh it is, he wasn’t there when his side so badly needed him.
Craig Cathcart – 8/10
Watford fans surely would have feared the worst when Hazard burst past the defender with ease in the first half at one point. The Northern Ireland International was exposed to one of the most talented players in the league as Amrabat had pushed on meaning the right sided central defender had to cover. However ruling the former Manchester United man out now seems a foolish thing to do. After this moment he dealt with the Belgium winger superbly making several strong challenges and reducing Hazard’s impact. He did make a few errors and of course was one of the players caught out for the all important late winner to which he was furious with however I did think Cathcart had a strong game looking at the bigger picture.
Sebastian Prodl – 6/10
A typically solid but unspectacular game from the man in the middle of the back three. He was far to eager to get the ball off Costa as he made quite a few unnecessary fouls which put his fellow defenders on the back foot. He kept his position well and won his headers as expected but was probably the least tested out of the set of defenders. Was one of the players caught out by the late goal. He should probably fear losing his place to the new arrival Younes Kaboul.
Miguel Britos – 6/10
A slightly disappointing game from a man who performed so well for large parts of last season. The left footed player suits the system I believe but he does make mistakes playing from the back which was the case against Chelsea. He also got caught by the opposition and got a yellow card for fouling. He had good and bad moments though, sweeping away his fair share of attacks and covering Holebas’s side nicely at times. The biggest compliment could be that Pedro was taken off after 70 minutes but there is hopefully more to come from Britos.
Nordin Amrabat – 8/10
Very impressive display from the Morrocan I thought. His defensive work was pleasantly surprising once more which is vital playing as a wing-back. His energy and strength allow him to help out and his discipline has also become a pleasant surprise. More importantly we are seeing what the 29 year old is capable of going forwards as he showed he had the better of the very dependable Azpilicueta with his direct running and power. He produced a fine run and delivery for Ighalo in the first half which was close to being a goal. A fine game which unfortunately disintegrated as the game went on.
Jose Holebas – 7/10
A solid job from Holebas who can also take pleasure from his opponent Pedro being replaced. He also provided some threat from wing back with some direct runs where he was able to beat his man on occasions. He defended well with concentration and only had a few blips where he carelessly lost the ball. Used his experience to get up and down the pitch at the right times. He very much suits his position and another decent performance proves that.
Valon Behrami – 7/10
The Swiss International provided his usual defensive intensity and was a solid base in the Hornets midfield. He effectively just did his job, making the simple passes and hassling the opposition. Not an awful lot stood out but he seems to have lost his nasty streak which could be a real positive as he looks less like a red card waiting to happen.
Etienne Capoue – 7/10
A fine goal from Capoue which now makes it two from two which is quite something after never looking like scoring last season. His left foot strike in the second half was a great effort. Before hand though I was a bit disappointed with his performance as he is a key man in this side. He didn’t really get a hold of the game and gave the ball away cheaply at times. He can offer more however he still has a lot of qualities, none more so than his ability to win the ball back. Unfortunately he picked up an injury from a fantastic tackle on Diego Costa late on. His performance had a spring to it after he scored but that was short lived as he was part of a side that sat back and defended.
Adlene Guedioura – 5/10
Unfortunately the popular Algerian had a decisive impact on the game but it was the wrong sort of impact. His key moment came from giving the ball away sloppily albeit near Chelsea’s box, this within seconds led to the winner. This moment aside Guedioura did show some nice touches but he didn’t produce the levels needed to really inspire Watford to victory. He was guilty of giving the ball away through some poor passing but it wasn’t a terrible display by any means. His combativeness was there to see and he got into some nice positions however that extra piece of quality was lacking.
Troy Deeney – 5/10
An odd performance from the Skipper who unusually was quiet throughout the game. His all action style which involves defending in his own half wasn’t there apart from on one occasion. He did hold the ball up well at times during the first half but equally lost possession with some loose touches. As a whole not the intensity and contributions we expect whether that be through a lack of service is hard to tell. No efforts on goal though tells a story.
Odion Ighalo – 6/10
The Nigerian needs a golden chance to get himself firing once more and he didn’t get anything too clear cut although a cross from Amrabat in the first half was still a presentable opportunity where a clean connection on goal would’ve had a high chance of finding the net. He missed that one but I thought this was a display that saw a much more tidier performance than ones we have seen towards the end of last season. He held the ball up nicely and more importantly passed to a team mate at the right time. Not something you should have to praise for someone receiving bids of £30+ million but I don’t think Ighalo produced a poor game nor a great game. Turned John Terry beautifully in the first half to show his individual quality as well as nut megging a Chelsea defender having out muscled them in the process.
Watford fans, do you agree with these ratings? Let us know in the comments below!