Watford 0-1 Swansea City
Regrettably, work commitments make midweek games at the Vic` impossible for me to get to which usually leads to me writing a match report based on the minute or so of 'highlights` from Watford games posted on the BBC Football website. As a reader, I`d find it offensive to have seen the game yet be told about it by someone who hadn`t, so I thought today I`d take a different approach.
Twenty-four hours on a from a 1-0 defeat by Swansea City at the Vic` (Shefki Kuqi scoring in the 18th minute), and there`s a number of things to consider in the cold light of day, or night as I write this.
Firstly, Reading have beaten Derby County 1-0 tonight to leapfrog us which shows exactly what a poor run we have been on to get dragged below a side that a few weeks ago were in the relegation zone and unable to buy a win, something which now applies to us. Consequently, we have well and truly managed to get sucked into yet another relegation battle. Two points and three places off the relegation zone with thirteen to play - only Reading have that many left to play too, but with their current form it seems unlikely they will stick around at the foot of the table for too much longer.
A crucial game against Peterborough on Saturday followed by a crucial visit from Ipswich Town have just become even more crucial; ideal world, 6 points, a few goals, clean sheets and a goal or two for the struggling Danny Graham, and possibly Heidar Helguson.
What was evident from the last game I attended (Newcastle at home), was just how much we miss Tom Cleverley. Don Cowie has not been anywhere near as influential on an attacking front as last season, Jon Harley is not a winger, John Eustace is not in midfield to create and Henri Lansbury blows hot and cold. In essence without Cleverley there is sod all for Helguson and Graham to feed of off. And if ever those two needed something to feed off of, it`s now. Two goals in twenty-odd starts from Graham is soul-destroying form and his partnership with Helguson has stagnated of late for whatever reason. If there is any money left in the coffers, another Cleverley-esque player is required on loan, or a goalscorer (of course they don`t come for much less than £20m so scrap that), just to take the pressure off Cleverley`s young shoulders. It`s not the long-term solution but the critical thing is staying up right now. Fingers crossed Will Buckley will be fit sooner rather than later and although it`s not fair to expect the young man to make an immediate step up by two levels, we could really use something of the sort.
With regards to the Swansea match in particular, it seems we played quite well, talkSPORT reporter Ian Abraham`s suggested that Sousa`s side got their goal and then did a fair amount of defending, clearing off their own line twice. Ultimately we appear to have been the better side, but Swansea are a solid side if nothing else and they simply do not concede goals. Something like 22 in the league all season. With all that in mind it baffles me that there is such negativity surrounding Malky Mackays` future with the club. On www.wfcforums.com there are at least 3 or 4 threads calling for his head, reasons such as 'poor football`, 'tactical ineptitude` and 'terrible form` all cited as reasons for the Scot`s departure.
Some people as far as I`m concerned really need to take stock of the situation. The season is still way within our hands with a whole quarter to go. Throw in the fact we have a rookie manager, a small, youthful, inexperienced squad and all the off-field financial issues and I think we are well on target to stay up this season, which let`s face it, is what we all hoped for last Summer when Brendan hopped it along with our most senior playing staff. That we were buzzing around the Play Offs earlier in the season was a massive, massive, massive over-achievement.
Those calling for Malky`s head really need to get behind the lads as we enter a crucial period of the season else they really will have something to complain about.