Watford recorded a very satisfying win as they locked horns with rivals Luton Town for the first time in 14 years at Vicarage Road. The third game of Championship season was decided by a Joao Pedro finish in the first half as he celebrated his 19th birthday in style. Here is how I rated the individual performances of Vladimir Ivic’s side in the derby.
Ben Foster – 6/10
No save to make for Ben as Luton failed to record a shot on target in the match. His kicking was wayward but without really putting the Hornets under pressure. His handling was simple and clean although he did put the side in trouble with a loose throw to Wilmot in the second half but an un-eventful afternoon meant there wasn’t much to assess.
Jeremy Ngakia – 9/10
Man of the match. The right wing-back was absolutely superb all afternoon, he overloaded Luton’s left side constantly with Sarr and caused them all kinds of problems. His decision making and timing of the pass or cross was really well calculated but he was equally adept at pressing his opponent and by constantly playing on the front foot he was able to deny Luton posing any cause for concern down his flank.
Craig Cathcart – 7/10
The Northern Ireland International was a bit slow sloppy in possession in the first half but I thought he stood up when it mattered most. Towering defender Sonny Bradley came forward late on in the game and Cathcart relieved the pressure with some vital headers as Luton looked to equalise. An assuring performance in the end.
Christian Kabasele – 6.5/10
He simply cannot have a game where he doesn’t make a brainless decision and it’s a shame because other than his key mistake today I thought Kabasele had a very solid outing. He glaringly played the ball straight to the visitors in the first half and then was rash in trying to prevent the cross rather than look after the run in the box which resulted in Luton hitting the bar from inside the 6-yard box after the hosts were in complete control. Thankfully just a moment later Joao Pedro’s goal meant all was forgotten. Barring this he cleared well and made a couple of commanding headers.
Ben Wilmot – 6.5/10
I like how Wilmot will always try and start the attacks at the left hand side of defence. His distribution was solid overall whilst defensively there is certainly still room for improvement, as he got beaten by his man in the first half which resulted in a presentable crossing opportunity for Luton. His left hand side like the Middlesbrough game seems to be a far more open avenue for the opposition than the right hand side and I’m not sure whether that is due to Wilmot’s positioning or link up with the wing-back. Despite this his composure and concentration adds a steadiness to the side.
Ken Sema – 8/10
The two goals Watford have scored this season have been assisted by Ken Sema and it’s no surprise as his wing-play is excellent at times. He squared up his man and found the perfect cross for Joao Pedro to fire home on 35 minutes. His delivery is dependable and he did a solid job for the team defensively. He produced a memorising piece of skill in the second half to flip-flap his way past a couple of Luton defenders in the box which showed shows he can really add quality going forwards for Ivic.
Nathaniel Chalobah – 7/10
I have been suspect over whether Chalobah is up to the job since his big injury but this was a very pleasing performance from him. When the game appeared disjointed and messy he was a calming influence in the middle of the park, often finding the sensible pass. He will be disappointed he didn’t find the net from a corner in the second half as all he had to do was make a good connection but the biggest disappointment is that he had to go off with a hamstring strain.
James Garner – 7/10
I thought Garner started the game a little nervously as he was trying to find his feet in the game but overall I was impressed with his performance. He played in the right areas and produced a couple of clever passes to build the attacks. He was a bit lightweight in the challenge but busy nonetheless and he will be hoping to connect with shots in future games as he had a few long range shots which he misfired.
Tom Cleverley – 7.5/10
Another captain’s performance from the 31 year old. Cleverley covered every blade of grass and contributed a lot to the side’s performance in both departments on the pitch. His tenacious work saw him constantly keeping the ball moving and found some really clever positions on the pitch. There was no stand out moment but this was a constant performance from the skipper.
Ismaila Sarr – 8/10
He’s back and Watford look a different team with Sarr in the side. Unsurprisingly the majority of Watford’s good work in the first half came through Sarr putting the fear into the Luton defenders and opening up channels for his teammates. His little flick around the defender was a demonstration of his class in the first half. The Luton players won’t want to see him again in a hurry and that says all you need to know about his performance.
Joao Pedro – 8/10
The match winner. Another performance of flair and quality from the young Brazilian as he tucked home Sema’s cross to get a deserved goal for his work. He showed a bit of everything today, a fancy flick presented Garner with a great opportunity. He somehow out-muscled a big Luton defender near the corner flag and then nutmegged one later with three defenders around him. Unfortunate to get another when denied by a Luton block, this was a good way to find your first Watford goal.
What do you make of these ratings? Let us know in the comments below!
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