After Monday nights flat performance at Upton Park this game now becomes an early season ‘must win’ with tough fixtures round the corner. Given the optimism leading up to the game where plenty of fans myself included were expecting this to be the game we kicked on and switched the promising early performances into points on the board, this all went horribly wrong. McClaren has my full support but I must admit he got all of the big decisions wrong on Monday night, Cisse should never have started and his performance showed that; there seems to be little secret made of the clubs desire to get shot of him and he looks like a man who needs a new challenge in one of the money spinning/semi-retirement leagues.
Much has been made of the teams lack of goals and indeed lack of chances created, with Janmaats opportunity in the first half the only one of note the other night. The focus in training this week has to be on this side of our game, we hear a lot of talk from coaches and pundits alike about defensive shape but there is such a thing as attacking shape and ours has been poor for a number of years now. There is no relationship or chemistry developing between the players in the attacking positions and this has made us really easy to defend against for teams who like to sit back and spring counter attacks. Ayoze and de Jong looked as though they offered something different in this respect in their cameos the other night and for me it’s a no brainer that they both start, indeed quotes have been attributed to McClaren that the young Spaniard will be given an opportunity to make the shirt his own on Saturday. He’s certainly been unlucky to have been shunted out in the early part of the season given his impressive year last term, most likely due to the combination of expensive new signings and the fact that he’s easier to leave out than a Cisse or a Sissoko, but I like the kid and think he has a big future; he also offers us mobility upfront which none of our other strikers seem to.
Watford won’t be a pushover by any means, it’s the sort of game we need to win if we want to avoid a repeat of last season for sure but they have proven by picking up good results against both Swansea and Everton that they can go toe to toe with the divisions upper mid-table sides. Hopefully our supporters recognise the importance of getting the first win under our belts and create the sort of atmosphere we have experienced since the final day of last season at St. James’ Park, considerably more vocal and in the case of Arsenal after the Mitrovic sending off; radge.