Heurelho Gomes 7.5
There was much relief when he was declared fit enough to start. He was eased back in during a quiet first half but showed his reactions and alertness had not been affected by that heavy collision with Craig Cathcart last week. He came out bravely to punch away two threatening free-kicks, including one off the head of Miguel Britos, and judged a dipping, swirling shot well from Graham Dorrans to palm it away for a corner. Got an unintentional whack in the face from Cameron Jerome for his troubles but, after treatment, shrugged it off.
Allan Nyom 7
Nyom and Nathan Ake were pushed high and wide when Watford were in possession and this suited him down to the ground. He made good use of his freedom, putting a number of balls in the box, including the header for the disallowed Odion Ighalo goal. The problem, which first appeared in pre-season, of allowing his opponent to run off his shoulder reared its head again, the Cameroon international twice allowing Robbie Brady to get in behind him from long clearances. Quique Sanchez Flores, who knows a thing or two about the art of right-back play, will have a word or two with him.
Craig Cathcart 7
The swirling winds inside Vicarage Road were always going to make it a difficult day for defenders, but Cathcart’s judgement was sound, for the most part. However, he did misjudge one long ball and was grateful to Gomes for averting the danger. He, along with Ben Watson, allowed a free-kick from Robbie Brady to reach Mbokani Bezua at the far post and will be disappointed at the way Sebastian Bassong, a former teammate, shrugged him off to head over the bar from a set-piece.
Miguel Britos 8
A near-faultless performance from the Uruguayan. Laid down a marker by winning successive early aerial duels with Lewis Grabban and finished the match with an acrobatic clearance. He was calm and composed when he needed to be and did the dirty, agricultural side of things well, too. The way he was summoned to the touchline to speak the head coach while Troy Deeney was preparing to take the penalty showed his growing influence. This was probably his best performance in a Watford shirt.
Nathan Ake 7
Quite how he carried on after a sickening fall that tested the true flexibility of his neck is astonishing. Minutes after extensive checks by the doctor and head of medical he was on the left wing putting in a cross for Ighalo. Did his defensive job so well that Nathan Redmond was substituted just after half-time. Looked like he enjoyed being asked to play high and wide when Watford had possession. Had a couple of efforts at goal, one of which was blocked while the other probably landed in the cemetery down the road.
Ben Watson 7
It can be very easy to forget that Watson is playing sometimes, but that is testament to the way he quietly goes about his business. You feared what would happen if Valon Behrami was injured or suspended but Watson has played so well that the Swiss terrier has barely been missed. Whereas Etienne Capoue dominates the highlights reel with his nutmegs and pieces of skill, Watson efficiently breaks up play and recycles possession. He gets forward surprisingly often and saw a shot deflected wide in the first half. Booked for the third successive game when he mis-timed a challenge on Martin Olsson.
Etienne Capoue 8.5
France must have some midfield talent if he can’t get in their squad. Often looks like he strolls around but that’s just his gait. Compliments perspiration (see the way he harried Alex Tettey into giving away possession for the opening goal) with inspiration (see yet another nutmeg he pulled off in the second half). Reserving his best performances for Vicarage Road, he is starting to look a snip at £6m from Tottenham Hotspur. Imagine how much he’d be worth if he added goals to his game?
Ikechi Anya 5.5
High on energy but low on quality. Used his athleticism well to help Nyom keep tabs on Brady down the Hornets’ right side but his final ball again left a lot to be desired. On one occasion, the winger was played in by Nyom and only had to pick out an unmarked Ighalo in the penalty area, but sent his low cross straight at the Norwich goalkeeper Declan Rudd. Later in the game he picked up the ball and carried it forward with real purpose to launch a counterattack, only to undo his fine work with a poor pass, rather than picking out Ighalo or Troy Deeney, who were both in space. You can see why Sanchez Flores wanted Joaquin in the summer.
Jose Manuel Jurado 7
Too many arrive at Vicarage Road on a matchday with preconceived ideas of this guy and are bandwagon jumping. If Capoue had pulled off the same bit of fleet-footed bit skill in front of the Graham Taylor Stand as Jurado did in the second half fans would have been purring. You are not going to get him rattling into tackles. End of. He was inventive around the edge of the Norwich box, producing a lovely turn from a Watson pass to fool Andre Wisdom and force the right-back to cynically block him. Sanchez Flores has not put a foot wrong since he walked in the door so why not back him over this signing? Watford are ninth and Jurado is yet to fully to hit his straps. There is more to come.
Troy Deeney 8
Loves the big occasion and has nerves of steel judging by the way he rammed in penalties against Manchester United and now Norwich. Given how Sanchez Flores loves getting his nose in front and then shutting the game down, Deeney’s penalty was vital to how the game panned out. He never looked like missing. Worked his socks off yet again and rightly milked the applause for longer than usual at the final whistle, throwing his boots and his shirt into the stand.
Odion Ighalo 8.5
We are running out of superlatives to describe the forward. He has 25 goals this calendar year and still manages to get them despite teams now playing closer attention to him. He gave Bassong a torrid afternoon and could easily have had a hat-trick. Has that uncanny, uncoachable habit of being in the right place, at the right time and the way he sprinted to take a quick throw to release the overlapping Anya summed up the alertness he played with.
Juan Carlos Paredes
Probably better suited to being an impact sub. He replaced Anya when Sanchez Flores decided to close the game down but he almost helped extend Watford’s lead with a low cross which resulted in Ighalo forcing Rudd into making a smart save. Also hoofed clear a bouncing ball late on to clear the danger. No longer takes risks.
Brought on for Jurado to help retain possession but did most of his work tracking back and doing the unfashionable side of things. Helped Ake snuff out Wisdom, read the game well to block an effort from Brady and then showed he is not just a fancy dan, picking a fight with the same player after he get the better of him.
The roof would have come off, and not just because of the wind, had he found an unguarded net with an instinctive, long-range effort in the dying minutes. He would have started had he been fully fit.