Gianluca Vialli’s men were torn apart as Millwall claimed all three points in clinical fashion. Watford hit the post through Tommy Smith after 23 minutes but otherwise were rarely a threat until Heidar Helguson scored a consolation nine minutes from time.
Gianluca Vialli said in his match programme notes that he didn’t want “to take stock” until the end of the season. However, only 45 minutes into Watford’s first 2002 commitment the Vicarage Road fans were voicing their concern.
One of these teams is indeed well-equipped for a Division One charge (if not, you feel, for Premiership survival). The other has its head in the clouds. One was hungry, sharp, well-organised, strongly bonded…and, crucially, aware of its limitations and prepared to work hard to overcome them. Not so very different from the Watford side that passed swiftly through the First Division under Graham Taylor, in fact. The other was lazy, sloppy, weak, fragmented, and entirely deserving of a stuffing.