Not for the first time since August, it’s tempting to look at the stark contrasts between this season and last. Expectations dramatically lower, certainly. Sixth from bottom after this game, as opposed to sixth from top in May. By and large, playing our better stuff – and certainly picking up more points – at home; our away record was a proud thing last season, but merely loitered in the back of the mind of those who didn’t get to many away games.
Let’s get it out of the way, then: Tamas, you’re a blithering idiot. Just at the point where you’d started to think that, with Will Hoskins guiding the midfield into the opposition’s vulnerable areas quite brilliantly, we could really do some damage on the break as Cardiff pressed forward. Just at the point where you’ve scored a couple of goals and given your Watford career some desperately-needed momentum. Just at the point where your rival is returning from injury. You have blancmange for brains, sir.
Watford goalkeeper Richard Lee saved two penalties to ensure his side were comfortable winners at Southampton. Lee brought down David McGoldrick but made amends by saving the spot-kick and Tamas Priskin compounded the miss by stabbing the opener for Watford. Saints won their second penalty when Adrian Mariappa fouled Ryan Smith but Paul Wotton was also denied by Lee.
Form and a glance at the teamsheet suggested that a painfully young Southampton side might cause us a few problems going forward, but a back four with an average age of nineteen was there to be pressured and bullied.
A quite ridiculously open game of football that looked like delivering many more goals at each end. Due in no small part to our formation – going 4-4-2 without John Eustace in midfield was always going to be a high risk strategy. We had enough to make it pay off; all six of our “attacking” players had good afternoons.