Several times I’ve been to an away game and come away feeling that the day out was better than the 90 minutes of football itself. Watford was no different. A game of such high billing for the hosts was always going to mean Blues being under the cosh, which proved evident for large spells. Having said that, Watford didn’t cut Blues open on too many occasions, likewise Blues didn’t really threaten the Hornets goal by way of a clear cut chance. Despite battling well, Gary Rowett’s men severely lacked in the final third. The trusted 4231 formation didn’t have its old impact and lasted only until Craig Cathcart netted the decisive goal 10 minutes into the second half.
Rowett changed to 442 by introducing Wes Thomas. But it was more of the same for Blues who struggled to even unsettle to Watford defence. The beauty of having sod all to play for is that you can experiment with different players and systems, but the fact Rowett stuck to what he knows paints a big picture of his view of the fringe players in Blues’ squad.
There were positives, with Darren Randolph putting in an assured display between the sticks and Demarai Gray, despite not having his best game, looks to have improved the defensive side of his game massively. But that was about it. The hardy 1,500 or so Bluenoses in attendance were voicifurous throughout and stuck with the players. By no means did Blues disgrace themselves, far from it, but the gulf in class meant Blues had to be at the very peak of their game to have a chance in this one, and that they were not.
There’s also cause for concern with David Cotterill. Since the turn of the year, he’s been a mere shadow of his former self. He no longer looks a threat, his set pieces leave a lot to be desired and because of that, a lot of the attacking impetus has gone from Blues’ play. One thing I will never take away from him though is his worh ethic. But sometimes that isn’t enough.
So Watford go top and good luck to them for the rest of the season. And good luck to Troy Deeney who showed his class yesterday when he threw his boots into the Blues fans. Hopefully, Blues will perform better at Reading on Wednesday night and set up a positive end to the season.
Keep Right On!