Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Watford Have Success, But Not Middlesbrough: 3 Talking Points From The Game

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Middlesbrough were condemned to their third consecutive loss at home as Watford won 1-0 at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday. Walter Mazzarri’s men ended their rough patch with a crucial win in a game which churned out some interesting observations from both team’s point of view. For most of the game, it remained dull and entirely frustrating in terms of quality in the attacking third.

Watford did manage to get some menacing moves executed but there were nothing to be seen from the home side in terms of their attacking moves. In a frustrating afternoon for the home fans Karanka’s men put themselves under pressure with another bad result and are now 17th in the league table. Let’s take a look at the main talking points from the game

Success Slowly Becoming The Main Man

Isaac Success made his first start in the Premier League at the expense of Odion Ighalo today and he impressed once again with his pace and off the ball movement. Boro right back Antonio Barragan had a real hard time coping with the forward and was totally exposed on several occasions as the forward created confusion with his direct running.

The system at which Mazzarri plays, a flexible and pacey forward is much better suited and Ighalo has certainly lost his indispensable status which was proven today. If he can improve his passing then Success can find himself replacing Ighalo as the main man upfront in the upcoming games for his club.

Roger East Made It More Confusing

In a game were there were a lot of silly fouls, Referee Roger East failed to control the situation and with his inconsistency made it all the more confusing. The home side made 15 fouls to the visitors 10 and the referee brandished 5 yellow cards only to be fair. In particular, Antonio Barragan, who was liable to be shown 3 yellows in total for his challenges ridiculously managed to stay on the field for 69 minutes despite making continuous fouls while being on a yellow before he was substituted.

In one particular incident, after Barragan got away with his foul on Isaac Success, Cristhian Stuani was booked minutes later for a very similar looking foul to show the glaring discrepancy of the decisions by the referee.

Middlesbrough's Spanish manager Aitor Karanka (C) speaks to the fourth official during the English Premier League football match between Middlesbrough and Watford at Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, north east England on October 16, 2016. / AFP / Lindsey PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Middlesbrough Lacks Attacking Threat

It was very frustrating to watch Karanka’s men being so disappointing in their attacking third against Watford. Statistics will tell that the home team had 10 shots with three on target and created 7 chances but in reality, they never looked threatening at any point of the game or being likely to score a goal.

With 7 goals scored in their 8 games (only Burnley and Sunderland have scored fewer) there is a real need of getting some attacking tactics refined in the upcoming matches. Alvaro Negredo has scored only once and has frankly been devoid of quality service which might well be the calling card for the use of the dynamic Adama Traore in the next games to try and get some decent deliveries into the box for the forward to work upon.

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