Watford backed up their Friday night win away at Derby with a 3-1 on their own turf against a tricky Blackburn side. While the visitors certainly will feel like their play merited more on the night, Watford seized their opportunities with goals from Pedro, Cleverley and an own goal. Here’s how I assessed the Golden Boys individually.
Ben Foster – 8.5/10
The 37 year old had as much to do on Wednesday evening as he’s had all season. It was an all action display worthy of winning man of the match even if wasn’t a completely faultless display. It was when the game was hanging in the balance Foster stepped up when it mattered most, denying Armstrong at 0-0 shortly before the Hornets found the opener. He had to make more smart stops to prevent a vibrant Rovers side taking the foothold in the game but with Watford ruthlessly being 2 nil up, it looked like he should’ve done slightly better with Brereton’s long range strike. The key moment was at 3-1 when he denied Armstrong from the penalty spot making a fine save away to his right at a telling time in the match. His kicking was poor all night, his ability from crosses was nerve-wracking but his shot stopping proved to be massive in winning the 3 points for his side.
Kiko Femenia – 7.5/10
I thought Kiko had a fine game starting on his favoured right side, starting strong by making a nice pull back for the opening goal. He was constantly busy down his flank and found a nice balance between defence and attack. Again in possession he was one of the best performers with his use of the ball and never wavered during the match before he was replaced by Ngakia.
Craig Cathcart – 4.5/10
A bit of a horror show on Friday but in difficult circumstances coming on as a substitute, Cathcart would’ve been hoping for a steady performance to cement his place in the starting XI after this game. Unfortunately it was anything but steady as he was not alone in being sporadic and clumsy with his defensive duties. This was summed up when he got caught the wrong side by a Blackburn player in the box and he gave away a penalty even if the Blackburn player made it a penalty by throwing himself to the ground. Guilty of giving away too many free-kicks, Cathcart failed to deal with the intensity of the opposition play and perhaps struggled to find the right positions at the right hand side of the back 3.
Christian Kabasele – 4.5/10
I thought Kabasele was the pick of the bunch on Friday evening so it almost felt inevitable he would do his best to give you a headache watching him again. Very often the central defender of the 3 can set the tone for those around him but all the Belgium defender did was infuse chaos for those around him by being panicky at the back. He received a yellow card in the first half as Blackburn were played in behind the defence but fortunately for him there was enough space between him and the goal to not receive a red card as he was caught out of position. Like Cathcart there were still enough interceptions made when under pressure but it was a night they’ll be thanking their goalkeeper for coming to the rescue.
Ben Wilmot – 6/10
A game that probably echoes Wilmot’s season thus far. His defensive work is largely assured and he has the confidence to be on the front foot but this certainly is coupled with mistakes occurring through the 90 minutes as opponents seem to get past him as he is caught between finding himself getting pulled out of position or too flat footed to cut out the danger. This is however in brief spurts and whilst he is loose in possession playing from the back at times, he’s also the most progressive as some of his passing was very good this evening. The young defender will now be looking for more complete performances as the games come thick and fast.
Ken Sema – 7.5/10
Watford as a unit struggled to get any rhythm to their play in the opening 45 and this meant Sema had a quiet first half but was solid nonetheless. His crossing has been fantastic since the opening game of the season and it resulted in a crucial third goal as his tantalising delivery sucked the Blackburn defender into kicking the ball in his own net. He really came to life as the game went on, threatening to repeat his earlier feats by getting to the byline. He made a fool of his opponent as he went round the outside of him but his vision for the cross and picking out a man at different angles is a huge weapon for this Watford side. Sound defensively, another strong performance from King Ken.
Nathaniel Chalobah – 5/10
Just seeing glimpses of Capoue in this victory surely means it’s time to sit it out for Chalobah. In his defence some of his work goes unnoticed including a key block in his own box in the second half. He started fairly securely on the ball but it all seems to unravel far too easily and that ultra constructive 17 year old seems a long way away now. Defensively it was far too easy for Blackburn to get in between the lines and on the whole it’s no more than average in possession.
James Garner – 7.5/10
Garner firmly impressed after being left out against Derby. It is worth saying while he caught the eye with his skill on the ball, he looked an inexperienced player without it, also failing to sniff out the trouble in midfield particularly in the first half where he didn’t plug off the gaps that were constant. This is something for Ivic to consider as Garner possesses a bright ability to link the play and distribute the ball both from deep and further up the pitch. His brilliant burst into the box late on should’ve wrapped up the game as he smartly set Sarr up for a tap in but his teammate fluffed his lines. Overall an accomplished outing from the Manchester United loanee who was involved in all of Watford’s best attacking moves.
Tom Cleverley – 6/10
Couldn’t stamp his authority on the game on the whole but he does get between both boxes very well and got his rewards when he followed up Sarr’s effort to find a gaping net to make it 2-0. Part of a midfield in the first half that wasn’t flowing freely but he continues to be a bundle of energy which always adds value to the team. He was replaced by Capoue on 61 minutes so hopefully there are no concerns there.
Ismaila Sarr – 7/10
We’ve not seen Sarr in full flow yet but even at third gear he is a big help for this Watford side and it’s no surprise Watford’s best offensive display came with him returning to the team. He had a slight hand in the build up for the first goal, his fine run and control inadvertently setup the second as his movement caused problems throughout. His decision making still needs to develop and he should’ve comfortably found a 4th goal for Watford but tamely put his shot too near the keeper. He’ll be disappointed not to have grabbed an assist for a nice cross to Pedro late on.
Joao Pedro – 7.5/10
Another goal for the Brazilian as the teenager beautifully finished off a swift move opening his body up before finding the bottom left hand corner giving the Blackburn goalkeeper no chance. With Watford’s best work coming on the counter attack Pedro looked lively all game and continues to throw his weight around competing aerially and retaining possession with his agility getting him away from defenders. He’ll have been disappointed not to have got another as he found himself in a similar position to his goal in the second half but continued promise from Watford’s number 10.
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