Another avoidable defeat for us today, with Watford’s total dominance in the first half proving costly despite our late push for a point.
We eventually woke up in the second half and could’ve easily come away with a draw in the end, but the damage was well and truly done after our embarrassing first-half ‘effort’.
Watford, who hadn’t won in 9, could and should have be 4-0 up at the break – and we hadn’t even had a shot on target at that point either. We know we lack quality, but defensive mistakes, Dummett giving away a penalty, several sloppy passes and a lack of intensity in all areas just wasn’t good enough when over 2,000 Geordies have made the long trip South today.
Rafa clearly gave them a rollocking at half-time and we responded positively in the second half as a result, but it was a bit too little too late really.
We ended up dominating possession (which is a first, with 61% of the ball) and had them well and truly on the back foot in the final stages, but it was another advert to Mike Ashley of why Benitez needs to be given money to spend this summer.
Performance wise, Dubravka kept us in it with a crucial penalty save and some big one on one stops, while Shelvey was one of the few players who showed genuine quality on the ball. Perez had his moments and finished superbly, but some of his final balls as a creative force have been absolutely woeful. Manquillo looked ok on the ball and quite comfortable going forward, but he doesn’t look much of a defender. Kenedy was quiet and Gayle was frustrating – as was Murphy who was hauled off on the 52 minute mark after making no impact whatsoever. Dummet was uncharacteristically poor for the second game in a row, giving away a needless penalty and failing to clear his lines for their opener.
With West Ham, Watford, Bournemouth and Palace all winning today, we’re actually only 3 points clear of 15th and holding onto our place in the top half on goal difference (Palace, Bournemouth and Watford all level on 41 now), so today’s defeat could prove costly as far as our 10th place finish is concerned.
We were away with the fairies in the first half, but did respond well in the second. Still, not good enough really, but let’s hope we can take that second half display into next Wednesday’s trip to Wembley.
Time to wake up if we want to finish in the top 10.