Aston Villa remains in deep trouble after a 3-0 thrashing by Watford at Vicarage Road.
As he always does, Troy Deeney was a big threat as he netted twice. Ismaila Sarr scored the third as Watford inflicted a fifth defeat from six in the Premier League for Dean Smiths men.
Smith made a few changes in an attempt to freshen things up following the 1-0 win over Norwich on Boxing day. Henri Lansbury, Jota and Conor Hourihane come in as Marvelous Nakamba, Trezeguet and Anwar El-Ghazi dropped to the bench. Despite a Man of the match performance against Norwich in the number 10 position, Jack Grealish was moved back out wide.
Watford better equipped
Based on this performance, despite starting the day on the foot of the table, Watford looks better equipped for survival. Villa didn’t look like a team. They looked like eleven players who had never played with each other before.
Both experience keepers, Tom Heaton and Ben Foster were forced into saves early on.
First, Heaton prevented Villa from conceeding a very early goal when he saved close range from Christian Kabasele in the first minute. Foster then showed what he was capable of on 24 minutes when he prevented Wesley from heading home from close range. A chance, Villa come to regret later on.
The home side took the lead just before the half-time break. Heaton palmed away Abdoulaye Doucoure’s shot following a mistake by Ezri Konsa and captain Deeney reacted first to make it 1-0.
It is clear to see that Watford’s second management change of the season is paying dividends. They looked doomed for the Championship but not anymore.
Nigel Pearson’s men played with 10 men for just over half-hour when defender Adrian Mariappa was sent off for two silly yellow cards in the space of six minutes.
It wasn’t to deter Watford though as they doubled their lead 10 minutes later. Douglas Luiz was adjudged to have bought down Deeney in the box for them to win a penalty. Villa manager Smith was furious with the decision saying it was nothing more than shoulders. Deeney stepped up to slot home from the spot.
Smith was further upset when the third goal went in. He felt that Grealish was fouled by Capoue in the build-up. But VAR ruled that Sarr’s goal would count.
Villa in trouble
Smith was awarded a new four-year deal recently and it may now be seen as a premature decision. The former Brentford fan doesn’t believe his job is on the line but many fans are now beginning to question the 48-year-old.
I have said this time and time again this season, it wasn’t the defeat that hurts. Its the manor of the defeat. Once again Villa was outplayed by a side in and around us. We continue to make the same mistakes while some players continue to be passengers. Progression will never be made unless you can learn from your mistakes – something Villa has failed to do in 19 games so far this season.
Villa have picked up just four points on the road this season and it doesn’t get any easier as they make the trip up North to take on Burnley on New Years Day.