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Watford 3 Burnley 0 (27/01/2009) 28/01/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Five thunks from the knocking back of the Clarets

1- Before Saturday, my co-editor suggested that Mr.Rodgers needed to give us something to cling to.  Well this wasn’t so much a damp rope to cling to as a luxury yacht with well stocked galley and attentive staff.  Wallop! And there was me suggesting that we were doomed with him in charge.  Shows how much I know.  Why are you still reading this?

2-  Burnley’s manager has criticised his team’s defending this morning, rather peevishly suggesting that our victory owed more to his team’s errors than our fine play.  Cobblers.  His team may have defended badly, but the victory owed no small part to the fact that we held out against an enterprising and potent attacking side.  We looked solid, reliable, unflustered.  Yes, really.  And a big factor in that was…

3- Mike Williamson.  Bish bash bosh.  Wonderful.  Exactly the sort of commanding, unfussy lump that we’ve been screaming out for all season.  We have a defence, at last.  Marvellous.

4- Comedy highlight #1:  Will Hoskins’ substitution, preceded by several failed attempts to introduce Priskin during breaks in play which saw Hoskins gradually edge further and further from the bench until he eventually responded to the no 22 on the board from the corner flag in front of the Rookery. 

5- Comedy highlight #2: the gentleman in front of us, who shall remain nameless, loudly and angrily berating the decision to make said substitution, and being mobbed when Tamas Priskin demonstrated it’s value.


Watford 4 Crystal Palace 3 (24/01/2009) 25/01/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from the cup win over Palace

1- Better.  Again.  Far from flawless (see below) and against encouragingly limited opposition, but improvement nonetheless.

2- That said… what a distastrous tranche of substitutions.  O’Toole for Rasiak… you can see what Rodgers was thinking, block up the midfield and slow the game down, but it didn’t work – we just fell back and invited pressure.  Bridcutt for Hoskins was just bizarre – McAnuff’s most positive outing for a long time was scuppered by him being asked to do a job for which he was unsuited.  And Kiernan for Hoyte, who had bottled Ifill up all game, was a calamity.  Why have Bangura on the bench if not to close down a game when at 4-1 up?

3- No Smith, Priskin, Williamson.  The positive spin would be that we were saving legs for Tuesday night… but with Theo Robinson going to Southend on loan and Liam Henderson already at Hartlepool that left us with no forwards on a seven-strong bench.  Hmmm.

4- Refereeing.  Palace fans were unhappy at their share of the decisions, but unfortunately that’s what happens when a Colin team meets a fussy referee.  And what a classic of its genre this Palace team is, Shaun Derry, as ever, antagonist in chief.  That said, we did get a couple of genuinely bizarre decisions but largely inoccuous ones – and after a decade or more of watching us face Colin’s niggly nonsense I’m not inclined to lose any sleep over this one.

5- Some quite terrific goals all told;  the first owed a lot to defensive ineptitude that wouldn’t have looked out of place at the other end of the park, the third could also have been better defended although it was finished well and suggested a long-missed stock move.  But the second and fourth were marvellous breakaways, truly exhilarating.  Good stuff.

Watford 0 Sheffield United 2 (17/01/2009) 17/01/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Five thunks from the defeat to Sheffield United

1- In a desperate clutch at some perspective, it has to be conceded that the first half was a bit better.  Much as we’d gotten away with a couple of things, we’d actually created some, you  know, proper chances too.  Not scored of course, nothing that drastic…  but there was no collective hand-wringing at the interval.

2- Despite which, this was a minor deviation from the Reading script, a soap-opera recycling the same old storyline with different characters rather than a radical departure.  Without playing Reading’s clinical sit-back-and-break game United made beating us look painfully easy.

3- As DM accurately pointed out, what flavour of idiot does Stephen Quinn have to be to get himself booked needlessly when two-up away from home against a side not so much punchless as unable to muster the gusto to clench a fist.

4- My brother speculated on the way back to the car that this may be the worst Watford team he has ever watched.  I’d still have to cite Colin Lee’s late 1990 vintage as worse.  But looking back, that side may have featured McLaughlin, Andy Kennedy, Mark Gavin… but it also featured David James, Gary Porter, Nigel Gibbs, Paul Wilkinson….  And the fact that we’re as much as having the conversation…???

5- Early days, yeah yeah.  Knee jerk reactions help nobody, managers are given no time to impose themselves, to make their mark these days, yadda yadda yadda.  Inherited a difficult situation, unbalanced squad with lots of dead wood and no budget.  Whatever.  Bollocks.  We’re going down with Rodgers in charge.

Reading 4 Watford 0 (09/01/2009) 11/01/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Five thunks from watching it on the telly.

1- I’m glad I was only watching it on the telly.

2- To be fair to Brendan he didn’t duck the two painfully obvious problems post-match,  acknowledging the lack of penetration and the lack of defensive anything.

3- To be equally fair, this was shockingly easy for the home side, who allowed us possession when it didn’t hurt them and knew that we had enough rickets in us to rely on counterattack.  Brendan would do well to worry less about adhering to his principles (and in so doing blunt a hitherto potent attack) and worry more about earning some points.

4- No fight.  Again.  Have I mentioned this before?

5-  Aidy Boothroyd as Sky pundit.  Asked to compare and contrast the astonishing away record at this point last season with the less remarkable this time, he reeled  off a list of names of players that we’ve lost.  Including several who went before that point, but OK he was making a general point perhaps.  But he mentioned Gabby Agbonlahor too.  As a player we’ve had to cope without.  For pity’s sake… we had to cope without him when Boothroyd signed him and didn’t play him, but that was two years before the period being discussed.  Boothroyd’s REAL point was “look at all the players I’ve found and then had to sell”.  Funnily, Ellington, McAnuff, Kabba, Adam Griffiths etc weren’t mentioned.  Graceless, and not for the first time.

Watford 1 Scunthorpe United 0 (03/01/2009) 03/01/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Five thunks from the Cup win over Scunny.

1- We’ve seen some awful cup performances in recent years (in stark contrast to one era in our history in particular).  But this was a particularly disconcerting flavour of awful.  Lots of possession, very little penetration, an incomprehensible retraction back to a lone striker once we got ahead… it all felt a bit Vialli again somehow.

2- Lee Williamson – one hopes it is a “minor knock”.  Whilst the cup-tied consideration doesn’t seem to have influenced the selection of supposedly exit-bound Smudger and O’Toole, Rodgers’ experimentation to date has already suggested that he underappreciates Williamson’s worth.

3- The new boys clearly have something.  Hoyte looks strong and has a bit of oomph about him.  Cork showed some very good stuff as well as some slack stuff.  Can’t but cringe at how honoured Brendan thinks we should feel at being loaned such starlets though.  Am I being unfair?

4- The band.  Top banana.  Marvellous.  And a little bit weird…

5- Aidy Mariappa is a centre back.  End of.