Who gave Quique a nudge ahead of the FA Cup semi-final?

Heurelho Gomes 6.5
Watford’s player of the season elect was unable to repeat his penalty saving heroics of the weekend and stood no chance with either spot kick, both confidently tucked away by the West Ham captain Mark Noble. However, the Brazilian was caught in two minds for the hosts’ opener, eventually coming out to meet Andy Carroll as the striker stabbed into the corner of the net. There was the usual array of fine stops between the goals, the best of which came when he displayed strong palms to repel Victor Moses’ blast toward the near post late in the second half.


Juan Carlos Paredes 4
After a strong showing against Everton at Vicarage Road a fortnight ago the right-back did little to enhance his claim for a place in the starting XI on Sunday. He linked up well with Adlene Guedioura down the right but was penned in and failed to get forward – his biggest strength. He struggled to deal with player of the season nominee Dimitri Payet and was almost left red-faced when the Frenchman, entirely predictably, stepped inside and dipped a curling effort narrowly over Gomes’ crossbar. A poor back pass early in the second half was seized upon by Diafra Sakho but the striker, mercifully, dinked wide. He will be starting from the bench at best at Wembley.


Craig Cathcart 5
The Ulsterman’s last appearance alongside Sebastian Prodl was the 4-0 demolition at Arsenal. He was again all at sea here along the Austrian here as West Ham United’s forward players caused the Hornets untold problems. Perhaps rusty over a week out injured, Cathcart’s miserable evening started when he let Carroll peel off the back of him to prod home the opener and it got little better. He was thankful when, moments later, Sakho narrowly failed to latch onto another ball in behind when he was caught snoozing. He then lost possession moments before half-time, starting a sequence which should have ended with Manuel Lanzini sweeping in the third before the break. He did improve in the second period and will start on Sunday.


Sebastian Prodl 6.5
When the giant Austrian took a booking for bringing down Sakho after 22 minutes you feared for his chances of completing the game as West Ham threatened to run riot. However, the former Werder Bremen man showed great restraint from there on and was the pick of Watford’s defensive quartet. He made a fine block to deny Payet a shot after Frenchman had glided beyond Craig Cathcart and sat the Ulsterman down on and was always on hand to mop up for the frequently overrun visitors. In the second half he benefited from lax West Ham defending to snatch consolation goal – becoming just Watford’s eighth scorer in a league game this season – but it was all he could do to stem the tide.


Jose Holebas 5
Always prepared to offer an attacking outlet, the Greek international linked up well with Almen Abdi but was unimpressed when the man in front of him failed to find him with a return pass early on. He was, however, guilty of trying to overplay on more than one occasion. In the first half he was fortunate not to be punished when he controlled a ball on the touchline which he could easily have left run out of play. He instead brought pressure on himself and was fortunate to buy a throw. Holebas’ evening was compounded by conceding the first penalty by climbing on Cheikhou Kouyate and, despite his protestations, he could have no complaints about the award. He made a similar mistake at the start of the second.


Valon Behrami 6.5
Welcomed back to Upton Park with a warm reception prior to kick-off, the midfield enforcer struggled to get close to the Hammers’ midfield in the first half-hour as the man designated to break out of the rigid line of four and press the ball. By that stage he had attempted one tackle and been unsuccessful. But he improved thereafter and was his usual tenacious self on his old stomping ground, finishing as the game’s best tackler with four completed from eight attempts.


Mario Suarez 7
On a dismal night for Watford the performance of the former Atletico Madrid man could easily have gone under the radar as he enjoyed one of his best displays since his January move. He completed 22 out of 26 passes at one stage, the best on the field. Suarez conducted everything in the opening half-hour for Watford with an excellent range of passing and when not in possession he was, more often than not, the man putting out fires for the Hornets in front of the back four. Whether or not he did enough to convince Quique Sanchez Flores he is worth a starting berth against Crystal Palace on Sunday remains to be seen.


Adlene Guedioura 4.5
Unlike on Saturday there were no complaints when the Algerian was hooked ten minutes into the second half with Watford trailing 3-0. Handed consecutive Premier League starts, Guedioura failed to make the most of the opportunity and was largely a passenger. There is no doubting his willingness to scurry about – winning all four of the tackles he attempted – but he frequently ran into cul de sacs and failed to close down Dimitri Payet before he crossed for Carroll’s opener.


Almen Abdi 5
The man for the big occasion having been selected for fixtures at Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United. This was not the Swiss playmaker’s night, though. He endured a nightmare 60 seconds in the second half: missing the Hornets’ best opportunity of the night before conceding the second penalty with clumsy, ill-advised challenge on Michail Antonio as he attempted to atone for his miss. Destined for the bench on Sunday.


Jose Manuel Jurado 7
The playmaker could count himself unfortunate to be one of the two hooked ten minutes into the second half having been Watford’s brightest spark. However, with an FA Cup semi-final date at Wembley on Sunday, the Spaniard was, you suspect, being rested for the Hornets’ biggest game of the season. His influence was felt right up until he was withdrawn when he created the Hornets’ best chance early in the second half. Jurado darted past the Hammers right-back, Winston Reid, before cutting back for Abdi to stab over from six yards. He had the Golden Boys’ first attempt of the game, too, gliding into space before forcing a good low stop from Adrian after 18 minutes. He might, though, have looked up and seen two yellow shirts in space to his left. A certain starter at Wembley.

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Nordin Amrabat 6
This was the Moroccan livewire’s first game as an out-and-out striker in the Premier League and it ended in ignominy as he was sent off for a second booking in stoppage time for a pointless challenge on Reid which will rule him out of Sunday. Amrabat started well and hurtled around with his usual zest but struggled to make an impact in the final third. That was until he escaped down the right only to fail to pick out a Watford shirt with his cut-back. Despite the miserable end to his evening the former Malaga man added the nuisance value missing from Odion Ighalo’s play in recent months and gave the Hammers’ defence an uncomfortable time.



Steven Berghuis 7
Afforded his longest Premier League cameo of the season, the forgotten Dutchman was soon into the action, providing the assist for Sebastian Prodl’s consolation with a free-kick from the left. The former PSV Eindhoven target is still adapting to the pace of the Premier League and that was never clearer than when he was caught waiting for a pass from Mario Suarez. A willing runner at the West Ham backline. Cut inside and lashed one effort in to the side netting, giving Watford a directness they had lacked.

Ikechi Anya 5
The Scotland international was greeted by a cry of “Who?” from the home supporters and failed to underline what he was about during his 33 minutes on the pitch. His best opportunity to do so came when he raced onto a pass into the penalty area, but a poor first touch took him away from goal and his subsequent cross bounced out of play.

Troy Deeney 5
A surprise introduction with 14 minutes remaining given the Hornets were 3-1 down and the game over as a contest. Fortunately, Sanchez Flores’ gamble did not backfire in as much as the skipper finished the match unscathed. However, his penalty miss late on would have been most unwelcome with his name set in stone on the teamsheet for Wembley alongside Odion Ighalo’s.

Head coach

Quique Sanchez Flores 5
The Spaniard will undoubtedly take a lot of heat for this defeat, not least because of his strange decision to risk Deeney and the selection of a side which included seven changes from Saturday’s win against West Bromwich Albion. He did at least respond early with a double change ten minutes into the second half with one of those changes, Steven Berghuis, assisting Watford’s goal. That said, Sanchez Flores wasn’t wholly responsible. Those selected were given a final chance to audition for a place in his FA Cup semi-final side and few put their hand up.