I’d be interested to hear others’ opinions on yesterday after a night’s sleep.
I came to the game at about 35 mins in and, scanning the blog, saw lots of comments about how we were spreading the ball about well, nice flow etc etc. The first half seemed to peter out a little and if anything Watford looked to be gaining a little energy.
Out we came for the second and, although predominantly on top, we didn’t really look like we were in full control…and this appeared to get even worse after we scored. Watford played a great spoiling game, scrapping for (and winning) everything. Suddenly we looked soft as a freshly laid turd. Our defending at the set pieces was unforgivable. Deeney unmarked for the first. No clear call for the second. Not good enough. Not by a long chalk.
Well before this game, the idea of Dembele as a solitary DM with a Back 3 had been discussed on this blog. The idea was that it could make us that bit more expansive or creative (Taff disagrees as we’re all aware) Dier does what he does so well but it’s often so completely unfussy that I find it a touch stifling. All the more so when it’s him and Dembele/Sissoko (!) next to each other. Seems it worked for 30 mins but then he dropped off and we lost control and bite in the middle there. It’s pretty clear now that Dembele can function at a great level for <30 mins to add control. He’s a bench player now.
So Poch didn’t rectify that developing deteriorating situation and it cost us.
On the other hand, too many others didn’t show up either. Watford fought hard to defend, but we should have scored 2 more and definitely not conceded more than 1.
We move on, but will we learn? It’s rather early in the season to have used up the ‘It was just an off-day’ card. Doesn’t leave us much room for manoeuvre when tired legs kick in after a big CL night.
On the plus side, nice to see Winks back and looking sharp, confident and like he wanted to play. I hope as he believes in his ankle more, he’ll begin to risk the 20-40 yard forward balls that made him look like he could be a starter for us. We all lose when he plays safe.
Finally, 2 points better off than at this point last season. So shoot me.