A disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Barnsley today (Saturday, October 31) means Watford have failed to register a win in their last three Championship games.
Vladimir Ivic named a strong starting 11 against Watford’s 15th placed opponents, with in-form teenager João Pedro leading the line alongside Ismaila Sarr in front of a three-man midfield consisting of Étienne Capoue, Tom Cleverley and Nathaniel Chalobah.
The Hornets trailed after just six minutes thanks to a 25-yard rocket from the Tykes’ Alex Mowatt, which found its way into the top left corner almost as soon as it left the midfielder’s boot. It was a Halloween strike which is sure to haunt Ben Foster for some time.
Despite a very poor opening 10 minutes, Watford soon picked up the pace and their two front men began to ask questions of the home side’s defence. Sarr got in behind in the 14th minutes and looked to feed João Pedro, but ‘keeper Walton got out well to deny the Brazilian a tap in.
A chance for Barnsley followed in the 25th minute as Callum Brittain worked the ball inside to Conor Chaplin, but he couldn’t generate enough power on his shot to trouble Ben Foster.
Watford deservedly went into the second half trailing, as they failed to register a single shot on target in the first half.
The Hornets carried a greater threat in the second half though, with Sarr creating a great chance in the 58th minute for Cleverley. The Senegalese speedster did the hard work by driving into the opposition’s box and pulling it back to Cleverley, but the midfielder only managed to stab his effort over the bar.
Barnsley substitute George Miller almost had a huge instant impact for the home side in the 65th minute, getting in behind the Hornets defence with only Foster to beat, but he slotted the ball just wide.
The next opportunity came for Watford several minutes later when Ben Wilmot latched onto a brilliant cross from Ken Sema, but the centre-back headed over the bar.
Watford’s star striker Andre Gray was subbed on in the 76th minute after quite some time on the sidelines, but he was kept largely quiet by Barnsley’s defence on his brief return.
The loss leaves Watford in sixth place on 15 points; the same total as their next opponents, Stoke City, who sit in eighth.
Picture credit: Watford FC