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End of Term Report 2022 – Part 3 09/06/2022

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

10- João Pedro

There’s going to be some selective interpretation here.

So for me… the whole “most nutmegs in a season ever” thing in combination with relegation is the most damning indictment of our season, and particularly of our horribly “less than the sum of its parts” forward line.  You can get away with stats like that if you’re…. Tottenham, for example.  Not quite good enough to actually win stuff but good enough to win a lot of games to which such baubles are a fun if, occasionally, objectively, over-gaudy decoration.

You can’t get away with that when you’re getting relegated.  It’s pathetic.  It screams of indiscipline, lack of attacking structure, lack of team ethos.  And João Pedro was right up there as far as those nutmegs and baubles are concerned.

And yet.  Here’s a kid much vaunted who’s come over from Brazil and had to adapt.  And it’s true both that he showed glimpses of sublime ability pretty much straight away, but also that he’s never quite exploded in the fashion that we’d hoped.

But there are suggestions that the latter might be about to change.  He’s young still, obviously.  Christ, he was born on the day that Pierre Issa was dropped off his stretcher. He’s much younger than our other young forwards – three or four years on Sarr and Dennis, two or three on Cucho.  And yet at the end of this miserable season he was the one doing the best job of grabbing the attacking reins.

Not effectively enough, not reliably enough, sure. But there’s an increasing authority about his play… a tacit recognition that he has progressed beyond pat-on-the-head “keep going son” to at least aspiring to being a reliable, effective, core component of this team.  Always combative, far stronger than his spindly frame suggests, his end of season performances would have been far more eye-catching and effective in a team that hadn’t fallen apart.

Next Season:  No surprise that there are rumours, but with five years left on his contract he won’t be going for less than a monster fee.  Quite right too.  If his recent trajectory continues he’s a priceless weapon in the Championship next season.

11- Adam Masina

I don’t think there’s much to debate here.

Adam Masina is a good guy.  Honest.  Committed.  Never hides.  Decent energy, a reasonable line in crossfield passes.  And you root for him…  his backstory is not a pampered one.  Not an easy one.  At times he even wobbled on the edge of being a cult hero, the “Tequila / Masina” song was surely strong enough to stand on its own feet without too much encouragement.

You just wish he was a little bit better at football.  A little more reliable, a little less haphazard.  A little more violent perhaps.  A little more assertive.

But in four seasons at Vicarage Road in the face of varying levels of competition for the left back slot he’s barely managed to feature in half of our games in any one campaign.  And… as you may have heard mentioned… we’ve had a few head coaches in that time.  He’s never quite convinced any of them… a good guy to have around, but not a nailed on starter.

Next Season: Here our paths diverge, it would seem.  Good luck to Adam, a regular with the Moroccan national side now and clearly not a bad player but he’s not likely to be a regular at Vicarage Road.

12- Ken Sema

There is a value on players who you can rely on to do a job.  A value in someone who you will… not settle for a place on the sidelines, not be comfortable outside of the first team but will buckle down, do a job when called for.  Not be disruptive.  Ideally you’d have an armoury of eager youngsters pushing for a chance of course, but the world that Academy licensing has created renders that difficult for a Watford (and of questionable value for the greater good even if you do regard supporting development in order to feed the national team as worth prioritising).

So instead you need the likes of Ken.  See also:  Danny Welbeck in the national set-up, who has been in the last two World Cup Finals squads (yes, really).  The story may have been different had we stayed up… Ken’s involvement was spasmodic and rarely memorable in the Premier League where his limitations are placed under focus.

But back in the Championship Ken has proven he has value – a minimum of one chance created per game from a barrelling tiptoe down the left flank for starters.

Next Season:  If we’re playing with wing backs as mooted, Kenzema looks like reasonable cover for Kamara at left wing back.  Or wherever else Rob Edwards wants to stick him.

14- Hassane Kamara

It doesn’t pay to think about things too much.  By which I mean…  given the choice, we would each choose for Watford to win every game they played, in isolation.  “Do you hope that Watford beat Preston on Saturday?”.  Well, yes, obviously.

But if you got your wish and Watford did win every game then Watford would become something else?  Like… a Manchester City or something?  And I’m sure that winning a lot would be something that we’d all struggle through, somehow but… would you want Watford not to be Watford?

Given that Watford will never be a Manchester City (and that there are at least reasons why you might not want them to be anyway) there can be no rational argument against Hassane Kamara.  For all that there are occasional mistakes…  most of his mistakes are good mistakes.  Mistakes borne of trying to make something happen, of being assertive rather than passive and not based in, for example, lack of concentration or making bad decisions.

Stats can be misconstrued, but the thing about him blowing pretty much everyone else in the division away since January in tables of interceptions, blocks, and general being-a-pain-in-the-arseness tells its own story.  You’ve got to be needing to spend quite a lot of time trying to win the ball back to do well in those tables, admittedly but… that’s where we are.  So too the incongruously cavalier goal at Manchester City, the only goal by a defender last season executed in glorious bloody-mindedness.  Kamara was a rare source of joy in the second half of the campaign, Player of the Season all day long.

Next Season:  Wing backs (as we are lead to believe) ought to suit him.  Let’s just hope that those occasional lapses and being 28 rather than 24 are enough to put suitors off.


1. ron908 - 09/06/2022

Excellent stuff as always Matt

Matt Rowson - 09/06/2022

Thanks Ron

2. James Bradburn - 09/06/2022

Matt, many thanks for your efforts, clear analysis (the nutmegs bothered me – symptomatic of lack of cohesion in a talented front line) and humour.

Matt Rowson - 09/06/2022

Cheers James

3. Brian Goldsmith - 09/06/2022

Heres hoping for a happier 2022/23 and gushing end of season summing up.. 🙂

4. Ben - 09/06/2022

I just box-setted end of term parts 1,2 and 3. An enjoyable read as ever, Matt.

Matt Rowson - 09/06/2022

Cheers Ben. Second half of the box set should all be available by a week Monday.

5. Nick G - 09/06/2022

Adam Masina is a good guy….snip… You just wish he was a little bit better at football.

I feel like that comment could have been written about so many of our players last season – hence relegation was really no surprise to me.

Also if you reused the same para for Foster, Ngakia, Troost, Kabasele, Clevs, Kucka, Gosling, Sema, Kalou, King, Fletcher, etc etc you’d rattle through these reviews in no time & get on with the 22/23 previews (please?!!)

6. St.John - 10/06/2022

Matt: excellent series, as ever. One small q. I thought Kenzema was only used as a LWB in the Championship when no-one else was available, and did his more effective barrelling down the wing when he dropped the ‘B’? Does he have the defensive abilities to do that side of the job beyond filling in for one or two games?

Matt Rowson - 10/06/2022

I think I’d want him filling in only, yes, not as the first choice. But I think he’s capable of doing that. By all accounts in Edwards’ Forest Green team’s 3-4-1-2 the wing backs were very attacking, definitely not fullbacks. Wingers with stamina and discipline to get back.

7. Tim - 12/06/2022

Thanks Matt for a great summary. and for the work you’ve put in to get it out there for all fans one of the high points in a grim year. Kamara and Pedro are 2 I’ve got high hopes for next year .both should hopefully do well in the Championship .
Masina been a good servant over the years but looks like he could be off .Sema always something to offer with. Sarr and Dennis going his work ethic .and versatility should sit well with the new coach .

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