The suspension was extended until 30th April.
In the week after our game with Crystal Palace the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak that had started in January and had rapidly spread around the world started to effect football in England. Nottingham Forest’s owner tested positive followed two days later by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. Three Leicester players reported symptoms and at a meeting of the Premier League on 13th March it was agreed to postpone all remaining games until April. It was the first time football had been suspended since the Second World War.
Before the decision was announced Nigel Pearson gave his usual pre-match press conference ahead of our planned game with Leicester which was due to be played on 15th March.
In a bitty and niggly encounter with eight yellow cards, including one for Wilfried Zaha who was in the thick of things not for the first time against Watford, Jordan Ayew’s stunning first-half goal (28) separated the teams.
The match had begun in the style of two zealously polite individuals standing in a doorway; after you, sir; no, please, after you. With both teams preferring to counterattack, neither really wanted the ball. For a while this suited Watford better as they created the early chances. But the clarity they showed in driving forward was not matched by decisiveness in front of goal.
So, after the euphoria of last week, this was an unwelcome return to what has been the reality of most of this season. It was a very disappointing game. The Hornets had been the better team for most of the first half but, as so often this season, did not make the most of their chances and the home side scored after a counterattack. Once they were ahead, Palace defended well and, apart from a brief spell in the second half, Watford never really looked like winning the point that their performance deserved. Thankfully results elsewhere meant that we stayed out of the relegation zone on goal difference, but it felt like a wasted opportunity and, again, I worry that we won’t get the points that we need from the upcoming “winnable” games.
The morning after Watford visited Selhurst, Jon, Mike and Colin (via Skype on a train) discuss the inclusion of Roberto Pererya on the left, how the team could break down teams better and if there is much need for tinkering… Oh and corners. Plus they share their thoughts and worries about a potential new stadium for the Hornets, as reported by Adam Leventhal on the Athletic this week.