“The changes took effect from the start, with Watford tearing forward at every opportunity. Throughout the game, Anya in particular was regularly found with diagonal passes, giving him the opportunity to get the ball in the area. Paredes too repeatedly made probing runs, while the interplay between Deeney, Vydra and Adbi was, at times, reminiscent of the best moments of Zola’s season in charge.
“As for Cardiff, they were on the back foot for most of the match, and restricted to just a handful of attempts on goal…”
Of course, this imaginary match report on yesterday’s proceedings omits two crucial details: that Cardiff scored in the first quarter of an hour, and that Watford failed to score at all. But my intention (apart from to confuse future readers of this blog) is to demonstrate that, in most respects, this was a dominant Watford performance that, on another day, might well have resulted in a comfortable victory.
It is, of course, the fact that this is the fourth defeat in a row that is causing all the angst on social media, websites, local radio and all the other channels where the only reaction that is valued is a knee-jerk one. If this had been the game after the 3-1 win over Millwall, no one would be complaining too much. Sure, we should have won, but these things happen: a silly defensive error gives the opposition the chance to shut up shop, and when they’ve got one of the best goalkeepers in the country, there’s always a chance they’ll get away with it.
So, a bit of perspective. Jokanovic played what many Watford fans would regard as the best team available to him (though I can’t help feeling sorry for Fernando Forestieri, a rare light in the darkness against Derby and then dropped to the bench against Cardiff), they played pretty well overall and lost 1-0. It happens. It’s not a sacking offence – particularly for a man who’s been in charge for about five minutes. So let’s all take a deep breath and look forward to Craven Cottage on Friday (the only Championship fixture I can walk to from my house).