Watford v Southampton
Vicarage Road - Saturday, 4th March 2017
> Two goals from the excellent Redmond
> Another goal from Gabbiadini - that's six in four games
> Also a goal for the influential Tadić
IBO Reporter : channonite
Seven goals? You don't know whether to laugh or cry. At least Saints came our on top and got the three points. After seemingly having a watertight defence earlier in the season, it now looks as if every time an opponent attacks, it looks like a goal will be scored. The only reassuring thing is, since Gabbiadini's arrival, every time Saints attack, it looks as if they will score. Great for the neutral but not so wonderful for my blood pressure.
An amazing thing happened here, Puel named an unchanged side again. He kept the faith with the same players that started the EFLCup Final last Sunday.
The match didn't start too well, as within four minutes Saints were 1-0 down. From a throw-in the ball found it's way to Deeney, who flicked the ball to Okaka in the centre of the penalty area, but he had Stephens all over him. Davis tried to clear the ball, but succeeded in only returning the ball to Deeney, who promptly volleyed it into the far corner of the net.
From the re-start Saints were all over a static Watford defence and Ward-Prowse hit the side netting after finding space on the right. You just felt that as Saints ratcheted up the pressure, that the equaliser was coming, but we had to wait until the 28th minute for that. Again it came from a mistake in the defence. After some nice build up play from Stephens, Ward-Prowse, Redmond and Tadić, Tadić's attempt to find Redmond was blocked by Kaboul, but the ball came straight out to Tadić again who thumped a shot straight past Gomes in the Watford goal. 1-1.
We had to wait until time added on at the end of the first half for the next goal and it fell to Saints in probably the move of the match. Redmond took the ball just inside his own half and advancing, slid the ball to Ward-Prowse in a central position, who spun and found Tadić out on the right. The Watford players were expecting him to square it into the penalty area, but he instead passed it back to the advancing Redmond, who hammered a great shot past Gomes. A peach of a goal. Certainly the sight of Puel going mental on the sidelines, showed what it meant to them. 1-2.
That must have been a deflating moment for the Watford team, coming absolutely right on the stroke of half-time, but they continued to fight, mostly using the long ball.
Saints had a chance to go 1-3 up when Tadić took a free kick from some way out on the left and flighted a perfect cross into the right side of goal, which was met by a flying Yoshida from point blank range. Somehow Gomes managed to deflect the ball harmlessly away.
You just thought that Saints would score again, but in the blink of an eye, that all changed in the 70th minute. Redmond lost the ball inside the Watford half. The ball was worked forward in a couple of moves, finding Okaka in the penalty area at the same time as Stephens lost his footing in front of him. The end result was the ball nestling in the back of Saints goal. 2-2.
There then followed a passage of play when Saints inexplicably backed off, typified by Davis casual play in the centre, ending up with him losing the ball to Okaka. It was worked forward quickly by the big man, but Stephens was quickly over to tidy up. Perhaps Watford should have made more of that particular chance.
Boufal had replaced the excellent Ward-Prowse and now had a key role in the next goal on 83 minutes. The excellent Redmond was marauding down the left wing and squared it to Boufal who hit a fairly tame shot directly at Gomes from distance. Somehow Gomes fumbled a routine catch and who should be on hand to tap the ball into the net? Yes, it's that man Gabbiadini again. Cue the Saints fans chanting his name again! 2-3.
Almost from the re-start Saints scored again. Tadić played the ball out left to Redmond who simply ran straight at the Watford defence, shot and scored. Simples.2-4.
This was the signal for the Watford fans to leave in droves and the final act was witnessed by the Saints fans and very few others.
With just four minutes of normal time remaining you would have thought that was it, but no, this is Saints we are talking about. Deep into time added on Saints sloppy defending saw a simple tap-in for Doucouré, who had only been on the pitch for about five minutes. 3-4.
Whatever my views of the defending and that includes the midfield and forwards, you can't argue with the fightback from the disappointment of the Cup Final. Three points and back up to 10th in the league, ironically swapping places with Watford. We now have a long two week wait until the next game, which is Spurs away.
Oh yes, MoM. There is only one real candidate, the superb Nathan Redmond. Two goals and involved in everything. Watford just didn't know what to do about him.
5 Prödl - Booked 73'
29 Capoue (Success 70')
9 Deeney - Booked 82'
33 Okaka - Booked 44' (Doucouré 89')
2 Cédric - Booked 14'
16 Ward-Prowse (Boufal 78')
11 Tadić (Clasie 87')
20 Gabbiadini - Booked 33' (Long 85')
Sat, 04 Mar 2017
- Deeney 4'
- Okaka 79'
- Doucouré 90'+4
- Tadic 28'
- Redmond 45'+2, 86'
- Gabbiadini 83'
Referee : Jonathan Moss
Attendance : 20,670
Shots on Target