Tuesday, December 05, 2006

City 0 Watford 0

The evening started well with a trip to the Christmas market in Albert Square prior to the game and very nice it was too. Well fed and watered from the various stalls dotted around the market we then preceeded to the ground, only to get stuck in traffic and then encounter a flat tyre en route.

Eventually getting to the ground around fifteen minutes late the fun for one evening was very much over as a 0-0 draw against a side who had won just one game previously this season was certainly not expected.

A surprise for me was the performance of Watford. Admittedly I've not seen a great deal of them this season but what I have caught they looked to have been a little unlucky in some games and was expecting a plucky side who knocked the ball around neatly.

However, they seem to have adhered to the mantra of 'percentage' football in a bid to escape the drop this season with an emphasis on powerful midfielders and long, direct balls into the opposing defence. Some credit must be given to them though as it was a tactic that unsettled our defence at times - and in particular Richard Dunne didn't have his most comfortable evening. Impressive for me though was the performance once again of Distin - who gave little away to the highly touted Ashley Young.

For much of the evening though it was a sense of frustration on our part, as the team (and midfield in particular) lacked a cutting edge and failed to convert posession and territory into too many quality chances. When we did carve out opportunities, the Watford keeper managed to pull off a couple of smart saves - from a Barton free-kick and Corradi snap shot being the pick, and he definitely improved through the course of the game after looking a little shaky on balls into the box early on.

I thought that until Hamman came on for the last ten minutes no-one was prepared to put their foot on the ball and actually seek out options . Too often, aimless balls were played more in hope than anything else and we conceded possession back to Watford far too often.

There was a late penalty shout when Corradi went down under a challenge when poised to shoot, but for me it was debatable if there was contact and it looked like he was looking for the penalty as opposed to hitting the target with any real conviction.

Although he may have got that decision correct, there were many that Mark Clattenberg got wrong during the game - Mahon of Watford was lucky to escape further punishment for a couple of poor challenges on Joey Barton, whilst too often he was quick to blow the whistle and was not helped by some inconsistent decision from his linesman.

One thing I pointed to in my preview was that I felt that Giorgios Samaras was due a big-game as for all the progress his partnership with Corradi had shown he needed goals, but it was a performance that offered little and too often he and Corradi appeared distant and uncohesive.

Watford will certainly be happier with the point they earned, and it was a hardly a result or performance to raise the confidence as we head into Saturday's derby at Old Trafford.


"We knew it was going to be tough, we did not
them to turn up and roll over.
"We knew we had a fight on our
hands and
credit to them, we have to give them a bit of credit because they
are making it
tough for teams to beat them and are playing to the best of
their ability."

- Joey Barton on Watford's tactical approach.

"I think the first half we attacked very, very
well, we
played what Watford play at, we have put a few things right I
second half, we had some defending to do, Man City were on
the up and we had to
make sure we defended and we did.
"I thought we
defended superbly well in
the second half. All in all, I think City are in
good form at the moment, so to
come here and get a point is good for

- Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd.

vote it up!

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