Watford achieved their second home victory of the season on Saturday with an efficient, high scoring performance against nine-man Leeds United.
Fernando Forestieri opened the scoring early on for the Hornets, nodding over Leeds goalkeeper Silvestri at the second time of asking. Leeds rarely threatened the Watford goal in the first half, but around the half hour mark Gabriel Tamas deflected Billy Sharp’s low cross into his own net, and the teams went in one apiece at half time.
The moment that defined the game arrived in the 58th minute as poor Leeds defending left Forestieri clean through on goal. Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci made an attempt to cover but only succeeded in taking down the Watford striker in the penalty area and referee James Linington awarded a penalty to Watford and a red card to Bellusci. Troy Deeney slotted home from the spot, and with ten men, Leeds had a mountain to climb.
Watford sealed the win
with a moment of brilliance from Forestieri, as the Argeninian danced past three Leeds defenders and sent a bobbling shot, from an impossible angle, past the Yorkshire club’s keeper. Daniel Tozser capped off a strong Watford display with a powerful free kick from thirty yards to make it 4-1, and minutes later Sam Byram summed up Leeds’ frustration as he received a red card for an off-the-ball incident.
Two clubs with Italian owners found differing fortunes in this game, and they may well find themselves at opposite ends of the table in May. Leeds didn’t manage one shot on target at Vicarage Road, as reports circulate that time might already be up for manager David Hockaday. It seems that Hockaday, a former Watford coach, may have been dealt a fatal blow by his former employers.
|Gomes – With no shots on target from Leeds, the Brazilian had very, very little to do. Kicking still a little worrying. Almost unfair to give a rating to a keeper so untested in the match.||6.0|
|Paredes – Made a couple of good forward runs but not enough to change the game. Was reasonably tidy defensively.||6.5|
|Tamas – Slightly unlucky to score an own goal. Aside from that, a good presence at the back and played some nice passes.||6.5|
|Hoban – Looked at home as Ekstrand’s replacement. Comfortable performance with the ball, and dealt with the meagre threat Leeds offered.||7.0|
|Angella – Always looked to get the wing-backs involved. Assured on the ball, with little to do at the back.||6.5|
|Pudil – Strong defensively but sometimes wasteful going forward. Did well to get into attacking positions but final ball needs work.||6.5|
|Tozser – Showcased his ability to change the game with long passes from deep in midfield. Fantastic free kick from well outside the box.||7.5|
|Munari – Worked very hard in a box-to-box midfield role. Showed technique and strength to win the ball in midfield and then play in Forestieri for the third Watford goal.||8.0|
|Abdi – Kept the midfield tidy, playing intelligent passes throughout. Always an option on the edge of the box.||7.0|
|Deeney – A real presence up-front when Watford chose to go direct. Showed some great moments of power and determination when isolated. Worked back when needed and converted Watford’s spot-kick.||7.5|
|Forestieri – Scored two and set up another in a fantastic performance. A constant thorn in the side of Leeds’ defence, and changed the game with his skill and work-rate.||9.5|
|Anya – Offered an injection of pace on the wing. Linked well with Deeney and midfield.||7.0|
|Ighalo – Industrious. Willing to work hard for the team but lacking in technique at times.||6.0|
|Andrews – Sured up the midfield to kill the game but not enough time to make an impact.||N/A|
|Silvestri – Couldn’t do much about the Watford goals. Needed more help from back four.||6.5|
|Byram – One of Leeds’ better players in the first half, offering width down the right hand side and looking to go forward. Complete loss of discipline to be sent off so late in the game though.||6.5|
|Bellusci – Run ragged by Forestieri, and his day was summed up when he upended the Watford striker in the box. Cost his team the game with red card. A baptism of fire for the debutant.||4.0|
|Pearce – Did a good job keeping Deeney quiet in the first half. Part of a poor Leeds’ defence in the second, though red card didn’t help.||5.5|
|Warnock – Again, looked assured in the first half but struggled to keep pace with Anya late on. Tried to hold the back four together after sending off.||6.0|
|Austin – Chased shadows in central midfield area as Leeds’ midfield became overrun.||5.5|
|Murphy – Looked to get Leeds moving forward in the first half. Became lost later in the game.||6.0|
|Bianchi – Spent much of the game chasing back towards his own goal, and could not utilise his abilities going forward.||5.5|
|Tonge – Creative for periods in the first half, but sending off ended any further opportunities.||6.5|
|Antenucci – Rarely saw the ball and offered very little help to his strike partner.||5.0|
|Sharp – A lonely, isolated and frustrated figure up front. Created cross for Leeds’ goal but was provided with little else. Leeds’ fans vented their frustration when he was withdrawn for a defender after Bellusci’s sending off.||6.5|
|Cooper – Powerless to prevent ten-man Leeds crumbling||5.5|
|Poleon – Offered next to nothing. Lost the ball on numerous occasions in the short time he was on the field.||4.5|
|Smith – Too little time to make an impact. Perhaps should have made an appearance earlier as his height made Watford think twice.||N/A|
Man of the Match
|Forestieri – A deserved man of the match, not only for his two goals but for his general work rate. The Argentinian forward worked as hard in defence as he did in attack and his ability changed the game. Beautiful footwork for his second goal. A mercurial player in bloom.||9.5|