ZOLA PREDICTS ‘CRAZY’ FINISH
WATFORD ........4 BLACKBURN ....0
IT MAY end up being too little, too late but Watford were back to their flamboyant and emphatic best against desperate Blackburn.
Just five points from a possible 21 in the seven matches prior to yesterday’s game, meant the Hornets’ automatic promotion hopes now largely lay in the hands of Hull City, who are four points ahead of Gianfranco Zola’s side with two games remaining.
Watford’s promotion challenge has been built on their firepower going forward; they have scored 82 goals already this season – 13 more than any other team in the division.
But it looked like another frustrating afternoon for Watford at half-time against Rovers, with the score goalless. But the multi-national Hornets, led by English powerhouse Troy Deeney and Argentine forward Fernando Forestieri, ripped apart a Blackburn side whose survival hopes had been boosted by back-to-back victories in the previous week.
And Zola said: “No doubt about it, we are going for it (automatic promotion). I am really hoping for some help from this crazy Championship – I think I will sleep for 15 days after this season.
“It really is a crazy Championship and it looks like it will go down to the end; I am expecting plenty of change.”
Blackburn have not won on the road this calendar year and you could see why in the first half as they mustered just two wayward strikes from David Dunn and Scott Dann.
A second-half Jordon Rhodes header was their only clear-cut opportunity during the whole 90 minutes.
Forestieri was lively from the first minute to the last and while he may not have scored, he arguably had the greatest impact on the match, creating hree goals.
The opener came seven minutes after the restart as Deeney’s low drive nestled in the bottom corner from 20 yards and it was also Forestieri’s exquisite throughball which created the second, as the same player finished.
Another incisive pass from the Argentine found Almen Abdi in the area and he created room before firing past Grzegorz Sandomierski and the win was rounded off by Matthew Briggs following a goal-mouth scramble.
Zola added “This result has been coming. The performances recently have been better than results suggest.
“I am delighted this performance came in the right moment with us playing the right way. What can I say, everything went perfect.” Blackburn’s miserable afternoon was rounded off in injury-time when Leon Best was sent off for an alleged head-butt on Marco Cassetti, who Rovers caretaker boss Gary Bowyer believes kicked out at the striker beforehand.
Rovers are two points above the relegation zone with a game in hand on their rivals.
And Bowyer said: “I think we did well in the first half and the first goal is always important.To be fair, their lad has taken his goal very well and then the game changes.
“We need to regroup quickly and remain positive. It is of course frustrating. No one likes to lose let alone losing by four goals.
“The positives are that the players are now in the dressing room extremely disappointed and they want to make up for it on Tuesday night against Millwall.
“We want to stay strong and stay positive. We have known for a while that we would have a game in hand, so we want a win on Tuesday.”
EYES WIDE SHUT: Blackburn’s Lee Williamson and Watford’s Daniel Pudil challenge in the air