Heurelho Gomes 6
We would have played Costel Pantilimon, to give him some game time ahead of the Euros, but that’s by the by. The selection of the Romanian probably wouldn’t have made any difference to the scoreline but it would have given Gomes’ 35-year-old legs a rest and been a nice gesture from Quique Sanchez Flores. There was a debate whether Gomes was at fault for Liverpool’s second on Sunday but there was no doubt he should have done better for Nathan Redmond’s opener here. Gomes atoned for this error with a string of high-class saves to prevent a rout, most notably when diving across his six-yard box to tip Martin Olsson’s fierce long-range effort over the bar. He knew it wasn’t going to be his night when Craig Cathcart’s clearance flew past him for Norwich’s third and then Mbokani chipped him for the fourth. He dipped below the exalted standard he has set but he’s earned an off night.
Allan Nyom 2
Dreadful, just dreadful. We hope the club have already called Daryl Janmaat’s agent after Newcastle’s relegation as, unless there is a stark turnaround in the summer, Nyom cannot be Watford’s right-back next season. The contrast between his first away performance of the season and his last couldn’t be more stark. He should have got better working under a former right-back – not alarmingly worse. With his confidence shot to pieces, he was caught sleeping on numerous occasions and Norwich’s pace and direct forward play were just too much for him, which is hard to fathom given he played against Messi, Neymar and Suarez while at Granada. Sanchez Flores was forever pacing up and down his technical area, barking orders at Nyom, who continued to make mistake after mistake throughout the first half. He hooked the right-back at half-time. He could have done it sooner.
Craig Cathcart 4
Cathcart is one of Sanchez Flores’ most trusted generals and has gained a reputation as the defensive organiser. He was all over the shop here. Moving from centre-half to right-back and back to centre-half again hasn’t helped. Cathcart struggled to stamp any sort of authority on the game and his own goal summed up how out of sorts he was. He was then caught 20 yards up the field, when a quick free-kick released Steven Naismith through on goal. He will hope Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill wasn’t watching this one, otherwise Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley are certain to start against Poland on June 12.
Miguel Britos 5
Again, should have been given the night off and Sebastian Prodl, with the Euros in mind, should have started. A first Premier League season has taken its toll on the 30-year-old’s weary legs. He had the task of man-marking Mbokani who, after only scoring five league goals this season, was on a hat-trick with half an hour to go. Redmond made hay in the alarming space between Britos and Ikechi Anya in the first half to drive into the box and cause Watford untold problems. When Watford looked to have finally steadied the ship at 3-2, Britos’ concentration and awareness let him down again; the centre back got sucked into challenging Redmond and left a huge gap in behind for Mbokani, who was played onside by Ake, to go through and lift the ball over Gomes, just as he had allowed Joe Allen to run off the back of him at Anfield.
Ikechi Anya 5
With high class full-backs Nathan Ake and Jose Holebas on the books, why not play Anya at right-back to solve the chronic problem there and one of the others at left-back? Anya said beforehand Watford had professional pride to play for, but that was severely lacking here. In the side for his ability to raid down the left, Anya was given a working over defensively as Redmond tore him to shreds in the first half. All the problems came down that side. He was also at fault for Norwich’s second goal, playing Mbokani onside and allowing the forward to convert into an empty net from close range. Never gave up or threw the towel in. He never does.
Jose Manuel Jurado 4
Another poor, poor night for the Spanish midfielder. He failed to offer Watford anything going forward and didn’t give Anya any protection. His lack of impact could be down to him playing out of his favoured position but has the attacking midfielder done enough to be given the responsibility of being Watford’s central attacking threat this season? His performances have been unacceptable in recent weeks. He surely won’t be around next season once the man who brought him here heads for the hills.
Ben Watson 5
Watford’s midfield general is feeling the effects of a long season. He failed to provide an adequate defensive screen at Carrow Road and failed to help stem the tide. He couldn’t get to grips with the movement of Wes Hoolahan, the Irishman finding space in behind the Watford midfield to link the play. Mario Suarez just hasn’t got the legs to help him out. How Watson missed the energy of Valon Behrami and Etienne Capoue alongside him.
Mario Suarez 3
How do you solve a problem like Mario? A performance like this showed why Fiorentina were happy to ship the midfielder away after only six months and why Paulo Sousa didn’t fancy him. He came over on a private jet but plenty of Watford fans would probably be willing to drive him back there. He is a decent technician when he has time and space but you don’t get that in the rarified world of the Premier League. Suarez just doesn’t seem to have the legs to cope with the demands of English football. Steven Naismith and Gary O’Neil, who are no spring chickens themselves, pickpocketed a ponderous Suarez on numerous occasions in the first half. Without the ball Suarez was chasing shadows and struggled to track the runs of Norwich’s midfield.
Almen Abdi 6
Abdi is not a wide man – we know it, you know it, pretty much everyone knows except Sanchez Flores. You’ll never see the best of Abdi, who should be at the peak of his powers, when he’s shoved out wide. He’ll never complain, he never does. He’s not that sort. He just gets on with it. He naturally drifts inside to get on the ball and that congests Watford’s midfield. His superb lofted diagonal pass through to Deeney in the second half proved his quality is still there. He just needs the platform to show it.
Troy Deeney 8
The only Watford player to come out of this game with any credit whatsoever. When you watch Deeney off the ball, he spends most of the time throwing his arms up in the air or complaining to his teammates about something. He should tone it down a bit but it’s because he cares and expects the same levels of desire from his teammates that he puts in week in week out. Deeney should be shattered at this stage of the season, given the amount of running he’s done, but he seems to be getting strong and fitter, which is testament to the extra training he does. He was Watford’s chief attacking threat last night, scoring Watford’s first goal and setting up Ighalo for the Hornets’ second. He barely lost a header all night.
Odion Ighalo 5
Finally back on the scoresheet after 12 league games without a goal, yet his link-up play remains sub-standard. His attempt to play Deeney in during the second half was so wayward that the Watford captain ended up nearer the corner flag than John Ruddy’s goal. He took his goal well but it probably would’ve been harder to miss from eight yards out. Interesting that he ran straight back to the centre circle and didn’t thank Deeney, who did all the donkey work and laid it on a plate.
Nathan Ake 6
Sanchez Flores hasn’t started Ake in five of the last seven games and it’s difficult to fathom why. It’s not as if the head coach is looking at left-back options ahead of next season. Ake made an immediate impact going forward after he came on, but he got caught square for Mbokani’s second goal. Probably Watford’s best defender on the night, but that’s hardly a ringing endorsement.
Steven Berghuis 6
With Abdi and Jurado failing to provide anything of any substance on the wings, you thought this game, on a firm track on a warm night, would’ve been the perfect opportunity to give Berghuis a start. However, Sanchez Flores stubbornly decided against it again and Berghuis was again given limited time to show what he can do. We are not saying he’s a world-beater or even the answer, but he freshens things up and is a livewire. He gets people out of their seats. Produced some neat flicks and touches, but failed to make a real impact.
Watford were overrun in midfield and Guedioura used his athleticism to restore some order. Only had ten minutes on the pitch, so he it would be unfair to rate him, but was tidy in possession and hardly put a foot wrong.
Quique Sanchez Flores 3
His worst 90 minutes in his one season in charge of this team. Picked the wrong side, failed to change it early or decisively enough and, we are told, said very little in the dressing room afterwards. His decision to leave Nordin Amrabat on the bench, as a result of not following orders at Anfield, was just plain stubborn. He’s in danger of not getting the send-off he deserves on Sunday.