Three talking points as Watford’s new boys come up trumps against Swansea
Watford bounced back from their heavy defeat against Manchester City last weekend as Richarlison’s dramatic late winner secured all three points against Swansea City on Saturday.
Marco Silva’s side arrived in Wales on the back of a 6-0 drubbing but they showed little sign of a hangover from that defeat, with club-record signing Andre Gray putting the visitors ahead early on.
The introduction of Tammy Abraham at half-time turned the tides though, and it was the England Under-21 international who tapped home an equaliser after Wilfried Bony’s initial shot was parried.
It seemed like Paul Clement’s side had done enough to earn a sixth point of the season but the visitors had other ideas, and Richarlison’s thumping effort at the death earnt the Hornets a late win.
Watford move up to fifth in the Premier League table following their third victory of the season, whilst Swansea drop a place to 14th, sitting just a point above West Ham and the relegation places.
Silva’s summer signings steal the limelight
It’s arguably been a long-time overdue this season but, at the sixth time of asking, club-record signing Andre Gray opened his account for Watford following his £18.5million switch this summer.
It had been 510 minutes of Premier League action without a goal when he emphatically found the top corner and you could almost hear his – and Marco Silva’s – sigh of relief after breaking his duck.
The match certainly transpired into a tale of two new additions as Richarlison smashed into the net off the underside of the crossbar to steal a win, cementing his great start to the season with a second goal.
However, it wasn’t just the goal-scorers who made an impact on the match, with on-loan Benfica winger Andre Carrillo settling down into Watford life excellently in recent weeks, and he was arguably the visitor’s most potent threat all afternoon, putting in a determined run in the build-up to Gray’s goal.
Whatever way you look at it it’s clear to see that Silva used his summer wisely to make remarkable improvements to a Watford squad full of deadwood, and it’s proved a catalyst for their superb start.
Swansea face late defeat once again
There’s a worrying pattern developing over in Wales as Watford’s late winner means that five of the seven Premier League goals the Swans have conceded this season have come in the final 15 minutes.
Against Manchester United they were firmly in the game until a three-goal blitz at the death, whilst defeat against Newcastle United came courtesy of a late goal and cost them a much-deserved point.
With yet another side snatching the spoils late on question marks have to be raised over the ability of Paul Clement’s side to see a game out and keep disciplined, and he needs to address these all-too frequent lapses in concentration before they lose any more points in their battle to avoid the drop.
The worst thing on Saturday was that Swansea were their own worst enemy, with both of Watford’s goals coming courtesy of mistakes from the hosts, and the over-riding feeling will be frustration right now.
Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that these results have been coming in front of a home crowd at the Liberty Stadium, and Clement will want to stop the rot when Huddersfield come calling.
Clement’s side lack a creative spark in attack
Whilst Swansea’s defensive record hasn’t been too shabby in recent weeks, keeping successive away clean sheets at Southampton, Crystal Palace and Tottenham, their attacking intent has been woeful.
Wilfried Bony was awarded his first Premier League start since returning over the summer as the Swans looked for a bit of inspiration in attack but it made little difference, with the hosts misfiring.
Tammy Abraham’s introduction at half-time, as well as Roque Mesa in the midfield, did eventually reap rewards but despite their perceived dominance of Watford they simply couldn’t make it count.
The void left by Gylfi Sigurdsson’s exit was always going to be heavily noticeable but the lack of innovative play and a genuine spark in the opposition third is becoming an increasing area of concern, and Swansea fans will hope and pray that Renato Sanches can quickly turn his underwhelming start around.
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