BHappy: We deserve promotion this season. We haven’t gotten away with anything, if and when it’s confirmed we’ll have earned it (hellooooo again Spurs). At the start of the season we were solid… less than the sum of our parts, perhaps, frustrating at times but often effective despite that, and effective enough to hang around at the top of the table. To be in position to capitalise if and when we found some form. When we did find that form we looked occasionally flamboyant, often cruelly, mercilessly irresistible – twenty clean sheets before today.
Gerard Deulofeu’s double earned Watford victory at Huddersfield, who slumped to a record-equalling Premier League defeat. Deulofeu produced a finish similar to his stunning effort at Wembley earlier this month in Watford’s FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves to give his side an early lead.
I will really miss going to Huddersfield. It is a lovely ground and the pre-match pub is excellent, with good beer, good food and plenty of friendly, efficient bar staff. I hope that they return to the Premier League very soon.
It didn’t take long for Watford to get the first goal. Five minutes on his return from injury Deulofeu attempted the same skill that saw him score his first goal at Wembley. It didn’t quite have the elevation like the first time, but it had the same outcome.
They say it’s cold up north, but it was a sunny sunny day on Saturday. Jon, Mike, Jason and Kieran headed up to the John Smiths stadium – which doesn’t sell John Smiths – for the sort of game you have to win, even if it isn’t done in the way you wish.
Hull remain favourites for second place, but Watford’s much superior goal difference means the Tigers will need to win at least one of their remaining fixtures to prevent a late charge from the Vicarage Road club, who have now mathematically secured at least a play-off spot.
Troy Deeney scored twice for the Championship’s third-placed team and if their hopes of hauling in Hull’s four-point cushion with two matches remaining seem far-fetched, the form of the club’s strikeforce bodes well with playoffs on the agenda. Zola left the Championship player of the year, Matej Vydra, on the bench and the 20-goal striker was hardly missed as his replacement, Fernando Forestieri, set up the first three goals.
The scoreline tells one story. The narrative of the match itself, however, is not (merely) one of us putting inadequate opponents to the sword. In fact it followed the template of several of our big wins this season; against Huddersfield in the snow in January we laboured for a bit against a side hellbent on stopping us from playing – and once we had gotten that first goal we were gone, galloping off into the sunset with the points and never looking back.
More games from 20th April at https://oldwatford.com/tag/apr20
“We threw everything we had at them in the second half,” was the manager Malky MacKay’s verdict afterwards, but on this evidence that doesn’t amount to a great deal. Watford are now two points above the relegation places and without an away win in 16 matches.
The most important local derby for years and, perhaps inevitably, it ends in massive anticlimax. We may be able to take some consolation from the fact that Luton’s season has been as bad as ours but the knowledge that we’ll have to visit this hellhole of an away end (where there’s so little legroom you can’t even sit in the seat you’ve paid stlg 12.50 for) next season doesn’t exactly fill my heart with joy.