Reading’s aggressive approach did at least dispel any illusions Alexander Merkel may have had regarding the sort of football games he’s going to be involved in. Nominally an attacking player he sat deep in the midfield in this one, Iriney’s decent run-out at Ashton Gate obviously not pushing him back up the pecking order. The German took a while to settle, twice giving the ball away in circumstances that suggested he’d have preferred rather more thinking time. As the game went on, particularly as we got onto the front foot on the second half, he became increasingly influential… comfortable in possession, happy to receive the ball in tight corners and find space, find the pass and as he stepped forwards Reading, looking leggy after their first-half efforts, began to creak. Slight of frame, he nonetheless demonstrated early and with some gusto that he likes a tackle… already on a yellow, his silly, reckless challenge on Nick Blackman late on was always going to see him departing early – a straight red, it turned out. Irritating. As was the smattering of applause he received. Quite what was to applaud about a needless high tackle in the centre circle was beyond me.
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.
The first game since Al Bangura won his appeal to be allowed to remain in the UK.
After 19 games record signing Nathan Ellington finally scored his first goal for the Hornets.
At the end of a busy week Aidy Boothroyd could reflect that more by luck than design his team had squeezed back into the automatic promotion places on goal difference but the Watford manager cannot wait for the month to end so he can get back to the business of priming his squad for the run-in.
I don’t know if it is football in general – the continuing failure of the National team, the increasingly hard to stomach Sky TV hype and equally nauseating commentary, Andy Gray (both of them), the wonky kick off times etc. – but (whisper it) I think I am losing interest a bit.