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Watford 3 Scunthorpe United 0 (21/09/2009) 22/11/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.
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Five thunks from a comprehensive victory over Scunny…

1- The more this goes on, the greater is the credence to the argument that we’re not playing a succession of bad teams at home… we’re making teams look bad. Our midfield was again phenomenal, Lansbury and Cowie in particular standing out, and that movement and ball retention is going to expose plenty of teams, even those that haven’t had to cope with an early morning hotel fire alarm like Scunny. It could have been six.

2- With half an eye on the recent trip to West Brom, Palace and Newcastle could both be interesting. Scunny tried to bully us in the first half, indulged by a refereeing performance that reached extraordinary levels of preposterousness after the break, and more experienced, more solid teams will do so better. How we cope with Warnock’s trolls and mutants will be informative.

3- No weak performances today. Not one. And Lee Hodson is just bloody ace.

4- It really nearly happened again, didn’t it? And this would have been a beautiful moment for Lloydy to open his account, what with Grant absent at a photography course (I ask you!) and Messenger having already departed for his half-time pint. I do hope it happens when Messenger’s at the bar…

5- Scunny do seem to like their gobby little strikers. A visit to Glanford Park a few years ago was dominated by Martin Patterson (now Burnley) mouthing off incessantly, this time it was Gary Hooper. Like Patterson, a decent looking striker, but he didn’t half go on… Scunny looked tidy in the final third, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

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Comments»

1. Red - 22/11/2009

Am I happy. Great to see TEAM play. Great to see football. THAT goal is so close now I can taste it. Sorry to be selfish but please when it comes, let it be at home, Vicarage Road end.
Really happy.

2. Sirhornet - 22/11/2009

Hodson really worries me. How long before he and the club are made an offer we can’t refuse so he can warm the bench or rot in the reserves at a prem club?

It does seem now that he is playing further back Lansbury has been given carte blanche to run the game. This has allowed Eustace to concentrate on doing what he does best. We need to persuade M Wenger to let us have him for the season, else we will struggle in the second half of the season.

Having said all that this was a solid performance against limited opponents but it is exactly the sort of game we have to win this season, long may it continue. The ref was marginally better than the Cardiff one but twice Lansbury had the ball at his feet in an advantage situation only for the free to be given.

3. simmo - 22/11/2009

Well done Matt and spot on with the thunks. Not much that I can add so could I raise five questions
– Is this the best footballing team to play for Watford?
– How do we get a penalty?
– Should Ellington be given any more chances?
– Does anyone miss Ross Jenkins?
– Should we put a collective bet on Lloyd to score in the next home match so that we can try to raise enough money to keep H at the Vic?

Luke Fairweather - 22/11/2009

Simmo…

Quite possibly
A double hand ball should do nicely
No
Yes, we need to keep giving “our” players as big a chance as we can
No, but some match fixing might be fun. Everyone else seems to be at it.

Luke

4. Dom - 22/11/2009

Agree wholeheartedly with 2. How we perform against Palarse next saturday could well define our season… a drop back into midtable or a surge into the play-off places?!

On the pitch there are some very, very good things happening. I always enjoy the trip to Selhurst, and this has mouthwatering potential… and our old mate Colin, to boot. Not literally. Then again…

5. DM - 22/11/2009

Re: Point 4. It still counts if I see it on the big screen. Plus, as suggested yesterday, we all know it will happen at some god foresaken northern hell-hole in the early rounds of the Carling Cup.

The midfield four were excellent again yesterday. I really, really would like the Eustace-baiter from earlier in the season to come back and comment on the last three home games. The movement and ball retention that is carving teams open in recent home games is made possible by our re-invented central midfield rock..

Also, a word on Danny Graham. A few

6. DM - 22/11/2009

Ooops, trigger finger. The word on Graham – A few people near me were casting comment about a supposed drop in form in recent weeks. I say rhubard. For me, he’s never stopped working during his recent barren run and has more than contributed to both home wins.. great to see him notch yesterday which should put such thoughts to bed.

7. Hornetboy84 - 22/11/2009

1. John Eustace – immense again

2. If we send Big jay into Watford Maternity for some placenta eye packs – then maybe our defense will be strengthened with a quick return?

3. actually the ref had a shocker (if that counts)

4. It cant happen. it would ruin all the fun

5. but I’d sign Hooper if we had the chance … looked useful !

8. Matt Rowson - 22/11/2009

simmo… i think jenkins has been really unfortunate. had he not gotten unjured, HE would have been given the chance to play alongside lansbury and adopt the deeper sitting role that would have suited him better.

DM you actually said Huddersfield if I remember rightly. You know that if we get hudds away in a cup any time soon, we now have to go…

9. Lesley-Anne - 22/11/2009

3rd match in a row at the Vic that’s been really enjoyable, what’s going on?!!!! Long may it continue though!!!! And yes, where are the fans? We talked about this in the car going home from the match. If we can’t fill our 3 sided ground playing like this?!!!!

Agree with Matt about Jenkins. I think he would have done well with Lansbury and I think the main reason we are not missing him is because John Eustace is playing out of his skin!!! Who could ever have thought he could play so well?! And when we wondered how we were going to cope without Tommy Smith, who could have guessed the impact that Cleverley and Lansbury would have? And certainly no one would’ve dared dream the return of the legend that is Heidar Helguson!!!! How I hope Elton can help us afford him!!!!!!

10. MartinG - 22/11/2009

The amount of options available to the man on the ball is making a big difference. The amount of running into space by the whole team is superb. Lansbury is just class, really well balanced. Not been a big Eustace fan in the past but you can’t argue with his form now. Simple passes, well executed and no mad tackles. It’s just a pleasure to watch this team.

11. DM - 22/11/2009

Fair enough Matthew – your turn to drive to Yorkshire….

12. The Great Big O - 23/11/2009

A massively enjoyable and impressive performance. Again.

Two fantastic goals: wonderful passing, wonderful crossing, wonderful headed finishes.

(He’s scoring for fun, but will Heidar ever score one with his boot for us?)

I once heard GT say that for teams at our level to achieve, you need everyone on your team giving ‘8 out of 10’ performances. We weren’t far off that against Scunny. Again.

But the most pleasing thing for me is that, on a fans forum like this, no-one seems to have raised their level of expectation. Instead, we seem to be delighting in what we’re seeing – and not greedily eyeing higher status. For me, that’s what being a Watford fan is all about.

In my book, a key measure of a good season is how much the team exceeds pre-season expectations. (For example, Boothroyd’s first season was perhaps the most over-achieving ever.) At the moment, this is a very good season indeed: Malky is doing an awesome job.

13. simmo - 23/11/2009

Luke and Matt – Re: Jenkins

Yes I agree that he is the future but playing him every week was ruining him. With his enforced break and with increased competition for places, it should mean that he does not have to play 90 mins every week which in the long term should help him to improve. However at the moment, the midfield without him is controlling games in a way we never have before.

Perhaps I should have just asked if anyone misses Tommy Smith?

14. Jeremy Clarkson - 23/11/2009

JC here

Simmo / Rowson re Jenkins

Yes, we miss Ross, his goals against Forest were sublime. If he hadnt got Unjured he wouldnt have gone off to Hong Kong.

15. Simon in Oz - 23/11/2009

I haven’t seen a game (except the marvellous 4:1 v Sheff Wed) for an age, but the gritted teeth I have as the results come through at Oz time are now well and truly un-gritted. Except for the occassioanl Cardiff and WBA, the team are amazing. I await the scores with enthusiasm now.
Convinced as I was that this season would be a relegation battle, I revel in the achievement so far. Mackay and the Russos must take a bow.
I hate to be a Cassandra, but…wotif, in January, all 3 splendid loanees go, Loach gets an offer we cannot refuse, The Duke decides he likes life in the reserves on xxk/minute and the Board don’t get any takers for a reinvest?
It’ll be a long hard road to April and safety, notwithstanding =6th position today.
For the anoraks and historians amongst you, look at 1974/5 and that macabre waltz to oblivion from a solid autumn.
I hope that (as usual) I am wrong.

16. Matt Rowson - 23/11/2009

Simmo – agree that the midfield has been phenomenal and that in that sense we haven’t “missed” him. Still maintain that he would be in the side and looking far more comfortable than he had been but for his injury.

And I miss Tommy Smith, although I’ll accept that the team seems to be coping OK…

17. Dan - 23/11/2009

This is bloody great.

However, I like nothing more than a good moan and as there is nothing in the team’s performances about which I can whinge, it’ll have to be something else.

Referees. Now I am not the biggest friend of referees but I can (in the cold light of day at least) acknowledge that they have a tough job, and the occasional mistake is forgiveable. I can also generally recognise a decent refereeing performance when I see one – they do happen. And, that’s the problem – I don’t think I’ve see one all season. It is not that they are reaching the game-changing levels of incompetence demonstrated by our old friends Styles and Atwell. It is the continual drip-drip of inconsistency, appalling judgement and just general wrong-ness that is winding me up this year. I just don’t understand how they can get away with this and remain in a job. Yesterday’s man being a case in point: he spent the first half awarding nothing, even when some of the Scunny lads advanced from nudges in the back to outright maulings. And then, later in the game, he punished everything.

Anyway, back to the game and I was pleased to see we can afford Cleverly to have an off-day and still utterly dominate a weaker side. The rebirth of John Eustace continues: he was awesome once again. I’m also scared we’ll lose Hodson, though at least we’ve signed him up to a longer contract.

18. Lloyd - 23/11/2009

Another great win for your lot. I see that you may be in for Puncheon: http://www.pasoti.co.uk/talk/viewtopic.php?t=37113&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0, who hasn’t settled at Argyle. Any word on this from your end?

Do you think Scunny will be down there (or, coming from a Plymouth fan, should that be ‘here’) all season?

19. NickB - 23/11/2009

Great performance again and it’s instructive to listen to the comments of the last three visiting managers regarding the quality of our football – just don’t expect Neil to be joining the fan club should we manage a win on Saturday…

Re the midfield debate, for me it’s all about balance and this quartet is just superb collectively as well as individually. Jenkins is a fine prospect, but three youngsters, however talented, can be a risk, particularly in the battles away from home. If we are going to play 442, which I fervently hope we are, even at places like Newcastle, then Eustace would be my choice between the two holding players.

H and Danny look made for each other and I suspect that Malky played 451 earlier as a pragmatic, rather than philosophical move; in my view it invites too much pressure and is almost always a defensive move. What I like most about this side is the willingness to kill games off; something that’s been lacking for a long time, with the dreaded ball to the corner flag/ ‘managing games’ business.
Just one gripe, what on earth is the rationale for not leaving someone up for corners etc? Just cannot see any logic in it.

20. NRC - 23/11/2009

Simon in Oz, being that far away it must be difficult to believe, so your concerns perhaps understandable, but this is a team playing like a team with some options in positions now and there is more than enough to feel at least mildly optimistic! Looked at from a glass half full perspective – Cleverly has signed to the end of the season, signals re. Lansbury are positive, Loach going would at least make a reasonable dent in the debt, the Duke is trying (on Saturday very trying!) and we’ve accumulated a solid bedrock of points.

21. Sequel - 23/11/2009

A fine team performance. It’s just a shame that the digital laser display screen was unable to last the distance again. Water in the works? Or was the Lovely Samantha called away to console the 2 Scunny players pulled off at half time?

22. Steve T - 23/11/2009

A rare comment from me.

Wonderful stuff on Saturday – and we could well have “done a Spurs” had the ref not been a Scunny sympathiser; quite how their defender wasn’t red carded when he brought Danny Graham down is anyone’s guess.

As for our future, I agree that Palace and Newcastle will give us a good idea. I sense Palace aren’t as strong this year, but Newcastle appear to be flying (I’m writing before they play Preston tonight).

As for our loanees, its great that Cleverley has signed for the season. Obviously I’d like Lansbury and Helguson to do the same. I’m not that bothered about Cathcart, although we do need a centre-half and may be better sticking with the devil we know (see what I did there?).

Re Ellington, I’m happy with him coming on for the last 15-20 minutes. I do wish he’d stop trying to blast the ball into the net though. A little more composure and he’d have bagged 2 or 3 more goals this season.

Re Scunny’s Hooper – can we swap him for Ellington ?

Finally, great to see Bryan get a 5 minute run out.

23. Matt Rowson - 23/11/2009

Dan

I would disagree about refs really. We’ve had a couple of downright shockers – Cardiff, Saturday – but it had earlier occurred to me that I’m much calmer about refs than I’ve felt in the past.

Lloyd

The Puncheon thing has been mooted before, may be the rehashing of an old rumour, perhaps from an agent. I think we tried to sign him when you did? Scunny were poor defensively, but very decent going forward. Their home form is certainly supposed to be much stronger… I’d expect to see them bottom half but clear from trouble on that evidence.

Steve T

I agree that Palace aren’t all that but they ARE a big, combative side – we are distinctly short on physical presence. That was kinda the point I was after

24. GraemeB - 23/11/2009

The referee — it was only his second match at this level. Yes, it was a poor performance, but perhaps we should accept that refs, like players, can only learn by experience.

25. NickB - 23/11/2009

Matt – refs are not getting better, it’s called middle aged mellowing . Are the policemen suddenly looking younger, too?

I’ve come to the conclusion that we have become victim to a new reffing concept – The Awayer

Still, would have been ironic if we’d finally been given a spot kick with H on a hat trick and already subbed

26. Matt Rowson - 24/11/2009

NickB, you’re a bastard. And the greying of my temples is a mere trick of the light…

27. Johnny Boy - 24/11/2009

NickB, re your scenario regarding a spot kick late in the game – Watford 3-0 up, in front of the Rookery, only one option – ‘We’ve got Lloydinho—————‘

28. Back from Hammerau - 24/11/2009

To be honest, I don’t mind I’m more tolerant of refs having poor games when they don’t affect the outcome.

At the moment I’m thinking positively in that we should have banked enough points to be well on our way to 50 points before the loan players who haven’t yet signed for the season leave.
I’d be surprised if either Cathcart or Lansbury were not to be with us until May.

Palace will provide an interesting benchmark against which to measure ourselves.

29. NickB - 24/11/2009

Matt – funny, I use that one with the kids. Doesn’t wash there either

30. Kris - 25/11/2009

I just watched the highlights on BBCs web site, and I much admit I am impressed. All three goals seemed very well crafted and even better finished. Danny Graham is slowly becoming a favourite of mine. He was involved in all three goals yesterday and in his barren spell he still made goals and put in the effort. He’s a bit of a gem and I could see us struggling to hold on to him if he gets to around 15 goals this season.

Oh and Lloyd – us paying 1.5M for anyone, let alone a player who has yet to perform at CCC level – that will not happen. £1.5 maybe.

31. Simon in Oz - 25/11/2009

NRC,
Thanks for the comment; Cleverly is with us for the season. That’s great!
Perhaps I was caught in an unduly pessimistic mood with my previous post. It really looks like we will do OK on the table this season: no ‘R-word’ worries in the New Year.
The most important moves may well be in the Boardroom though. Let’s hope none of the important players there ‘pulls a hammy.’

32. Chris - 08/12/2009

” I do hope it happens when Messenger’s at the bar…”

We need to know!


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