It’s been a tense opening 45 minutes at Vicarage Road, and while we’ve had our fair share of chances, we could quite easily be behind. Watford have made it difficult to dominate the midfield, and have pounced on any chance they’ve had when mistakes have been made by our boys.
Per Mertesacker has been particularly exposed, and his lack of pace has been very evident. Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney have really exploited the tank-like German defender, and we look far weaker with Gabriel Paulista absent.
We’ve been playing a high line as usual, but also attempting to play offside. There were several occasions where this didn’t work, and Mertesacker just doesn’t have the pace to recover when that happens.
He also had a shocking mix-up with Petr Cech, heading the ball into the keeper as he rushed out to clear. Watford wanted a free kick for the Czech international’s clearly accidental handling of the ball, but thankfully the referee saw sense.
Check out the incident below:
Down the other end we’ve had a number of half chances, with Alexis Sanchez seeing a great shot palmed away by Heurelho Gomes, Aaron Ramsey blasting a shot high over the bar when it seemed easier to score, and Hector Bellerin very unluckily seeing his square pass across goal to Nacho Monreal cut out at the last moment.
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Hopefully we have better luck in the second 45, and are able to make a quick start to the half.