30. Jonathan Bond – 6
A score that had started at five but was eventually upped to a six because ultimately, he did enough to keep a clean sheet, however unconvincing it was at times.
The kind of mistakes he makes – flapping at or dropping crosses mainly – aren’t down to technique, they’re simply down to a lack of games and that can be rectified with ease.
At 20 years old, Bond is already a talented goalkeeper, but he’s ring-rusty from only playing when Manuel Almunia is injured or rested. He needs games and whilst Almunia is first-choice, he would be best served getting game elsewhere on loan.
12. Lloyd Doyley – 6 (Tommie Hoban HT)
Just as Beppe Sannino edges closer to a full squad to choose from for the first time since taking over, the curse of the central defender strikes again.
In just a fortnight, Fitz Hall, Joel Ekstrand and now Doyley have all picked up injuries.
A few days after impressively replacing Ekstrand against Birmingham, it was Doyley’s turn to be impressively replaced due to injury after a steady 45 minutes.
27. Marco Cassetti – 8
For all of Gianfranco Zola’s faults, he was right when he said Cassetti’s future was at centre-half. Is it a coincidence that Watford’s recent upturn in form has coincided with Cassetti playing at centre-back again? I think not.
A superb reader of the game and composed on the ball; excellent once more.
4. Gabriele Angella – 8
Moved to the left-hand side of the back three, but impressive again. Won virtually every arial duel – as ever – whilst also having time to go on a forward rampage at least once.
19. Davide Faraoni – 6 (Ikechi Anya 64′)
A frustrating player. He’s had his good games and he’s also had his bad games similarly often. Saturday was not on of his best.
Lacks a bit of courage sometimes, in both an attacking and defensive sense. Still searching for consistency.
16. Sean Murray – 8
A tireless display from the midfielder, who worked hard to press the ball when Middlesbrough were in possession.
An all-action dislay.
28. Daniel Tozser – 7.5
Tozser has that great Almen Abdi-like quality of blending into the background even when he’s playing well. So effective, so minimal fuss is the Hungarian, that it’s hard to pick out one particular moment to illustrate his excellence.
Always composed on the ball and even broke into a sweat briefly to gallop forward in the second half.
23. Samba Diakite – 3
Fair enough, Diakite has not started a match since August and is yet to complete 90 minutes this season, but nor has Tommie Hoban and the centre-half is less experienced than the Senegal international.
Bearing that in mind, it’s pretty much inexcusable to get sent-off for a ridiculous two-footed lunge, just two minutes after taking the lead. You have to go some for your own fans to be unanimous in agreeing that you should have been sent-off, but Diakite managed it.
Ponderous on the ball and careless in offloading it – when he managed not to lose it first – a debut to forget.
18. Daniel Pudil – 7
Always works hard, even if things aren’t going his way. Got forward well to support forwards.
11. Fernando Forestieri – 9 (Cristian Battocchio – 71′)
If the Player of the Season voting were tomorrow, I fancy that the Argentine forward would clean up.
Another excellent display, contributing to all phases of play and linking up well with Troy Deeney.
Rightly lauded by Sannino in his post-match press conference, the diminutive forward moved back into midfield after Diakite’s mindless red card and excelled there too.
9.Troy Deeney (c) – 9
I’ve been quick to criticise Troy this season, but I’ll be equally quick to praise the big man. He’s been excellent in recent weeks and as well as forging an ever-improving partnership with Forestieri, his work-rate has gone through the roof.
Clearly knackered towards the end, but still led the line admirably, working hard throughout to hassle and harry Middlesbrough’s defenders when in possession.
Won the ball back and then held onto it in non-existent spaces on more than one occasion to run the clock down.
A real trooper.
31. Tommie Hoban – 7.5
Excellent on his return to competitive action after nearly a year out. One or two slightly rusty moments, but otherwise dealt well with the threat of Albert Adomah.
21. Ikechia Anya – 7
Had the beating of Friend and was extremely unlucky not to score following a Barnsley-esque breakaway.
7. Cristian Battocchio – 6.5
Added an injection of urgency into the midfield three and worked tirelessly in his 19 minutes to deny Middlesbrough space in the middle.
Player Ratings: Watford v Middlesbrough
30. Jonathan Bond – 6