Watford 3 - West Bromwich Albion 2

Date: Monday 20th February 2023 Live on Sky Sports
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(4-2-3-1) Bachmann, Mario, Porteous, Hoedt, Choudhury, Koné (Bacuna, 81), Morris, Sema (Louza, 84), Sarr, Davis (Assombalonga, 91), João Pedro
Unused subs: Hamer, Araújo, Kabasele, Matheus Martins
(4-2-3-1) Griffiths 6.0, Furlong 4.4, O'Shea 4.9, Pieters 4.5, Townsend 5.2, Chalobah 2.9 (Molumby, 45 5.4), Yokuslu 5.6, Albrighton 3.6 (Diangana, 45 4.5), Wallace 6.9, Thomas-Asante 5.3 (Dike, 62 4.2), Swift 5.6 (Grant, 80 3.4)
Unused subs: Button, Ajayi, Reach
Manager: Carlos Corberán  4.4
Scorers: Sema (23, 77), Sarr (66); Townsend (56), Wallace (71)
Referee: Tim Robinson 5.3
Attendance: 18,634   Home Fans 4.3   Away Fans 6.9

Brendan Clegg:

A very annoying loss that as we really start to throw our play-off chances away.

The lineup was just about understandable but straight from kickoff we didn’t look right - Swift wide left, Wallace through the middle and Albrighton on the right left us totally unbalanced.

Wallace lost the ball almost every time he got it, Swift was utterly anonymous and Albrighton again looked leggy. Neither winger was able to press and BTA/Wallace made the same runs getting into each other’s way.

Despite this BTA had a huge chance from a header to put us one nil up and got it all wrong, and immediately Watford scored a scrappy and totally avoidable goal… perhaps Griffiths could’ve done a wee bit more.

After that we were lucky to stay only a goal down as Watford dominated.

I'm amazed CC left it until half time to make changes in tactics or personnel but he did.

Albrighton and Chalobah - both some way off it - made way for Grady and Mulumby and Swift went into the hole with Wallace right.

You could make the argument that on another day we win the 2nd half 2-0 and win the match but Watford had chances and got two big bits of luck for their goals.

Although we clawed it back twice we were never in control and arguably Dike and Grant coming on weakened us. We had a few snatches at goal towards the end but crashed to another loss.

This feels like crunch time for our season. I think CC has got to go back to Wallace right, Swift as the 10 and Molumby alongside Yokuslu. I’d stick with BTA up top and if Albrighton hasn’t got the legs and Grady can’t be trusted to look after the ball, give TGH a go on the left to do a job for us like Phillips was… the energy and pace will be there at least.

If we don’t make the playoffs doing this then so be it, but we’ve got to stop trying to be too clever now… the first half was a disaster.

  • Griffiths - 6 Some good some not so much but still better than Button.
  • Furlong - 5 Tough night and seems to go to pieces when we’re a goal down
  • Dara - 5 Over played a bit again
  • Pieters - 5 Unlucky night
  • Townsend - 5 at least he kept going
  • Okay - 6 got stronger after a poor opening
  • Chalobah - 4 Offered little
  • Albrighton - 4 1 good cross… not getting enough from him
  • Wallace - 6 Improved dramatically when moved out wide.
  • Swift - 5 Much better in the middle… was on course for a 4 on the left
  • BTA - 5 Needed to do better tonight
  • Molumby - 6 Gave is a bit of drive
  • Grady - 5 more energy but so cheap in the ball
  • Dike - 6 Had a bit of a go but no real threat
  • Grant - 5 Couldn’t get into it

Kev Buckley:

New signings start but don't make a difference: Watford 3 Albion 2

I actually enjoyed watching this match, other than the fact that Watford were clearly better at doing what they were doing than us throughout most of it.

Nice pace to the game early on, with balls played into feet through the middle along with a fair degree of switching the point of the attacks via longer crossfield balls.

If anything, the Albion were slighlty hampered by the fact that both Albrighton, the nominal right winger in the unchanged starting XI, and Wallace, both appeared to be playing down the right, which meant that we didn't offer much of a threat down the left.

Around the twenty minute mark, Albrighton delivered a great cross from the right but, not for the first time that evening, BTA wouldn't be able to add to our attempts on target tally, a deficiency which was put all the more into focus as Watford went straight back up the other end from the goalkick, played a ball into the box down their inside right channel, and, after the attacker spun inside his marker, Furlong's block of the shot wrongfooted Griffiths to the extent that he could only palm it on to another attacker who merely had to tap it in.

Good advantge played by the ref on 30 saw us pull back a ball from the right to the edge of the box were Swift was arriving late, but he was unable to get his shot on target, again a deficiency highlighted when O'Shea gave the ball away seven or so minutes later, although Griffiths saved his blushes.

The half-time subs, made to a much the second-best starting line up, even though it contained both of our "make us better" new signings Diangana for Albrighton and Moulmby for Cholabah, certainly had you thinking what Moulmby had done wrong in being left out for the second game in a row, and certainly offered to provide a little more threat down the left, although it was give away on the right that saw Wallace pull it back again for Swift, whose shot this time required a diving save, and from the resultant corner, Townsend popped up inside the six-yard-box to flick a loose ball into the net on 55.

Watford then seemed to put us under the cosh, although the inability to clear our lines didn't really help us all that much, and whilst Dike was introcued for BTA on the hour, his first real involvement seemed to be to get in the way of Yokuslu's attempt to head a corner goalwards: the ball going over.

Once again, Albion fail to get it on target and Watford go straight up the other end and score, albeit via another deflection which puts the ball on a plate for the shooter.

Watford then contrived to make a complete Horlicks of one of those goal kicks where the ball get passed around within, but never leaves, the penalty area and a nice backheel from Molumby teed up Wallace to slot home.

If there was a slight doubt about the latter being offside, and it wouldn't have been the first doubt on the night, Watford's getting the ball in the net almost direct from the restart was ruled out correctly, although the two players who invited the next Watford attacker to have the ball at his feet in our box to have a shot, were made to regret doing so as yet another defelction, this one off Pieters, saw the ball cross the line with Griffiths having no chance again.

With Diangana occupying the wide left role, it wasn't immediatley clear where Grant, brought on for Swift, shortly after we'd gone 3-2 down would end up playing.

Griffiths would pull off one more fine save after another Watford attack saw them get a shot off from inside the box, and, although there was a bit of end to end stuff after that, nothing much looked like altering the scoreline.

The full effects of this loss, to a team then in the mix with us, added to the draw with yet another in the previoous game, was brought into focus the following evening as Millwall drew their game in hand on us and so put a five point gap between us and sixth place, so we're now looking at two wins more than other sides to get back in there.

Ancient Baggie:

I pretty much agree with Brendan's post. We looked poor first half although we had good opportunities to score at least a couple. Second half the side looked much better balanced with Wallace right and Diangana wide left it created more space for the central players.

I think Corberan is a good coach but he will need time to get a squad and a team together capable of getting up and staying up so I think we're going to have to be patient. We still have a bit to sort out at the back, I'm not convinced by our fullbacks and it might be time to give TGH and Peters some minutes with Semi coming in to the centre.

However I'm not a manager and as I say I trust Carlos to get it right given the time. Just might not be this season.