Watford 2 - West Bromwich Albion 2

Date: Wednesday 20th September 2023 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(4-3-3) Bachmann, Ngakia (Andrews, 57), Porteous (Pollock, 68), Hoedt, Morris (Lewis, 57), Louza, Sierralta, Koné, Ince (Asprilla, 57), Rajovic, Martins (Bayo, 76)
Unused subs: Hamer, Livermore, Chakvetadze, Dele-Bashiru
(3-4-3) Palmer 8.0, Ajayi 5.2, Kipré 5.2, Pieters 4.7, Furlong 4.0, Yokuslu 4.3, Molumby 4.5 (Mowatt, 58 5.0), Phillips 4.7 (Townsend, 58 5.3), Wallace 5.5 (Chalobah, 74 3.7), Thomas-Asante 6.3, Swift 6.5 (Sarmiento, 58 5.5)
Unused subs: Griffiths, Bartley, Diangana, Ávila Gordón, Fellows
Manager: Carlos Corberán  3.6
Scorers: Martins (23), Ince (3); Swift (14), Wallace (17)
Referee: Leigh Doughty 6.0
Attendance: 16,742   Home Fans 3.2
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 6

Brendan Clegg:

Probably a bit greedy to say that this was another away game that feels like an opportunity lost for 3 points.

Eyebrows raised at the same starting 11 as Bristol however it was probably Maja most pushing for a start before the crushing blow that he’d be out for at least a couple of months.

Rapid summary of the game. Poor start, getting caught diving in way up the pitch resulting in a cheap goal conceded after 3 mins. Just basic stuff, with Ince spare to have a free swing on goal from the edge of the box.

Then we scored 2 really good goals, turning the game on its head and showing up something we failed to capitalise on thereafter - Watford really couldn’t defend for toffee and were panicked under pressure.

But we couldn’t even manage the game to hold the lead… way too soft through the centre of midfield and defence to allow their equaliser, as good a finish as it was.

I really can’t see the point of our 3-4-3 with the players we have. It’s not benefiting any of the players, it often ends up being a 5-4-1 against teams who aren’t very good but against whom we totally surrender territory and yet we leak goals for fun.

It did seem like CC tweaked it to a more 4-5-1 ish approach after and we were a bit more solid but we’re never in control of games or comfortable.

It proved in this one… the rest of the game was pretty much ding dong with both teams creating chances. Watford were not as direct as I expected but we relied on Palmer to make some big stops.

At the other end we created enough to win it with BTA, Furlong and Townsend missing big chances or situations and a possible penalty shout on Ajayi.

I think the timing of our chances, especially the last golden BTA one where he had to score or return it to Sarmiento for a tap-in, will make us feel like we should’ve edged it.

The subs underlined our squad’s lack of depth but given the conditions I could understand them - Okay and BTA played the whole game and Chalobah played right wing.

These draws away put big pressure on home results. We need a win.

  • Palmer - 7 A couple of big saves. We’d be several points worse off without him already.
  • Semi - 6 Got better but awol for the first and weak for the 2nd.
  • Kipre - 6 As above. Got away with poor passes too. Teams he plays in leak goals.
  • Pieters - 6 Okay but we concede a lot of goals from the zone just in front of him because he can’t get there and his winger has to try and cover.
  • Furlong - 6 Rinsed for the opener but then did okay, great assist which was made by us actually getting bodies into the box earlier. How did he miss that chance?
  • Okay - 5 Lots of sloppy passes but strength was useful.
  • Molumby - 5 Too slow in thought and body tonight
  • Phillips - 5 the odd flash moment. Solid enough.
  • Swift - 6 Good goal but not quick, urgent or aggressive enough
  • BTA - 7 So much was so good and yet he’s not scored when he might’ve had a hat trick or a couple of assists. So close to being an outstanding player, but not there.
  • Wallace - 6 Good goal and tried to get forward.
  • Sarmiento- 6 Even in crap weather on a Weds night he made things happen and created a 1v1 for BTA. Would like to see more shots.
  • Townsend- 5 Did well enough. Probably should start next game.
  • Mowatt - 6 Hit and miss in tricky conditions, but got stronger.
  • Chalobah - 5 At least had a bit of a go and tried to get us up the pitch.

Ancient Baggie:

With the current state of affairs at the club and the players available I think that was a reasonable point. It's either brave or foolish to try to play possession football in those conditions with the players we have but we gave it a go. Our defence gives me nightmares, no closing down and trying to play in all the wrong areas and the midfield looked leggy. Mowatt did OK when he came on but for a big chap Chalobah is too easily knocked off the ball. On the plus side I thought BTA ran his legs off and yes perhaps he should have done better with his chances late on but he's doing so much work to get us up the pitch, in those conditions he was bound to tire.

My worries going forward are firstly I don't think we've got the players in the squad to play with wingbacks, and secondly we can't go a whole season with only one striker, an injury BTA now and we're looking very exposed. Until the off field situation is sorted I can't see things improving much, we're nowhere near good enough as a squad to be challenging at the top of the table but as a long standing fan there's nothing new there and as I said at the start considering where we are it's not a bad point.