Watford's unbeaten away run ends after Gianfranco Zola's decision backfires against Bristol City

Watford Observer: Picture: Action Images Picture: Action Images

Watford’s seven-match unbeaten run away from home came to a disappointing end as a much-changed Hornets side slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Bristol City.

Gianfranco Zola’s decision to make six changes seemingly backfired at Ashton Gate as Watford lacked a cutting edge and were deservedly beaten by the Championship’s bottom club.

A mistake by Manuel Almunia resulted in Greg Cunningham’s cross finding the top corner in the first half and Bristol added another from Paul Anderson in the second period.

Watford made a host of changes for tonight’s match; with Fitz Hall replaced Lloyd Doyley in the back three, Sean Murray came in for Marco Cassetti on the right of midfield and John Eustace and Jonathan Hogg joined Almen Abdi in midfield. The front two were also replaced, with the in-form duo of Matej Vydra and Troy Deeney making way for Alex Geijo and Fernando Forestieri.

There was nothing of note to report in the opening ten minutes. The first half chance saw Forestieri cut on to his right foot and have a shot deflected wide for a corner, which was cleared.

Watford were attempting to play their passing football but Bristol City were compact and kept their shape well. O’Driscoll’s men were content to let the Hornets have the ball and the Hertfordshire side became frustrated on occasions and attempted direct passes over the top, with little success.

Bristol had a very good chance midway through the half when Stephen Pearson’s corner was headed goalwards by Liam Fontaine and Almunia saved well low to his right.

Watford soon had a glorious chance of their own when Murray picked out the run of Hogg and his low cross found Geijo in the box. The striker’s first-time shot went comfortably over the bar though. His effort should have at least tested Tom Heaton, who was set to join the Hornets in the summer before the club pulled out of the deal.

The former Granada man was gifted another excellent chance a minute later when Forestieri showed nice skill as he reached the byline but his pull-back cross seemed to surprise Geijo slightly and he headed wide of the post from six yards out.

On the half-hour mark, Geijo was gifted another opening when Eustace picked out his run with a chip but the striker’s control let him down when through one-on-one and Fontaine recovered to nullify the threat.

Bristol City had played well defensively but didn’t carry much of a threat for much of the half.

The visitors suffered a minor scare when Almunia came for a cross from the right five minutes before half time and Sam Baldock almost made contact. Paul Anderson then flicked Liam Kelly’s in-swinging cross wide.

But the Hornets were punished almost immediately. Cunningham’s cross from the left was not dealt with by the defence and Almunia was deceived by the flight of the ball, and the conditions, as the ball skidded off the surface and into the top corner.

Watford’s first-half display was below par but the second was even worse. They were disjointed, struggled to create anything of real promise and never looked like finding a way back into the contest.

Watford were fortunate not to go 2-0 down before they did as Baldock got the wrong side of Hall but he could only shoot over the bar. Hall recovered enough to put the striker off but he suffered a yellow card in the process.

Zola sent for his in-form partnership of Vydra and Deeney on the hour mark, with Geijo and Murray making way, and Deeney almost made an immediate impact as Ekstrand’s goal-bound shot struck the chest of the striker and went narrowly over.

Bristol were good value for their lead though, in terms of defensive shape and organisation, and they extended their lead on 65 minutes. Pearson’s corner was headed down by Louis Carey and Anderson applied the finish from close range.

Watford were livelier in the attacking third as the game wore on but were unable to create anything significant.

It was Bristol who went closest as the teams headed towards injury time, with substitute Jon Stead striking a shot over the bar.

Bristol: Heaton; Moloney, Carey, Fontaine, Cunningham (Nyatanga 90); Anderson, Kelly, Skuse (Elliott 28), Pearson; Baldock, Davies (Stead 73).

Subs: Gerken, Foster, Wilson, Burns.

Watford: Almunia; Nosworthy, Hall, Ekstrand; Murray (Deeney 61), Eustace (Chalobah 74), Hogg, Abdi, Pudil; Forestieri, Geijo (Vydra 61).

Subs: Bond, Yeates, Cassetti, Battocchio.

Referee: Carl Berry.

Attendance: 13,585 (1,079).

Comments (40)

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10:31pm Tue 29 Jan 13

tristiang says...

So happy with what Zola is doing at Watford and really do believe he is taking us places but cannot believe he made 6 changes which included dropping the 2 inform strikers of the championship. Got every faith in Zola but I do hope after the Charlton and tonight’s game, he now knows it does not matter what team we are playing if Watford have any chance of going up he has to stick with the strongest team.
So happy with what Zola is doing at Watford and really do believe he is taking us places but cannot believe he made 6 changes which included dropping the 2 inform strikers of the championship. Got every faith in Zola but I do hope after the Charlton and tonight’s game, he now knows it does not matter what team we are playing if Watford have any chance of going up he has to stick with the strongest team. tristiang

10:36pm Tue 29 Jan 13

onlyonerodthomas says...

didnt blackpool get fined for fielding a weakened team against villa a couple of seasons ago?.i feel for the teams around the bottom with bristol city and all the mugs that bet on us tonight.por showing,well peed off.
didnt blackpool get fined for fielding a weakened team against villa a couple of seasons ago?.i feel for the teams around the bottom with bristol city and all the mugs that bet on us tonight.por showing,well peed off. onlyonerodthomas

10:38pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Stoney77 says...

Uh oh I feel a big rant coming on from Big Thunder. Lots of capital letters and lots of anger!!
Oh well, some perspective, we are 4th in the league and playing beautiful football, thank you GFZ. S&&t happens, let's move on.
Uh oh I feel a big rant coming on from Big Thunder. Lots of capital letters and lots of anger!! Oh well, some perspective, we are 4th in the league and playing beautiful football, thank you GFZ. S&&t happens, let's move on. Stoney77

10:39pm Tue 29 Jan 13

QUINNPT says...

Why make changes to an inform team. Not happy. However we must move on and hope Zola learns from the mistakes.
Why make changes to an inform team. Not happy. However we must move on and hope Zola learns from the mistakes. QUINNPT

10:40pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Wotfud says...

Zola still says it was nothing to do with the changes he made. I'm afraid he is just wrong. You get more than the sum of the parts with a settled team. I fear this will happen again.
Zola still says it was nothing to do with the changes he made. I'm afraid he is just wrong. You get more than the sum of the parts with a settled team. I fear this will happen again. Wotfud

10:40pm Tue 29 Jan 13

DouglasRinaldi the better Brazilian says...

Obvious thing to say, but I can't understand why six changes were made to a side in form. I accept that changes need to be made every now and then, but one or two would have sufficed. Changing our in form strike pairing was also a strange decision. You would have thought that after the Charlton game Zola would have realised that making too many changes disrupts the rhythm of an in form team. Hopefully he won't make the same mistake again.
This was a key opportunity to put pressure on those teams around us, but these kind of slip ups are the kind of thing that could cost us come the end of the season.
Having said that, the future is still positive, one bad result does not by any means mean we are going to go on a run of dropped points and I believe we are still the strongest side in the league. Let's just hope Zola has learnt his lesson this time and won't do something similar next time. I don't want to moan too much, but games like this are always frustrating.
#ReinstateVialli - I'm sure much banter would have taken place had he been eligible to comment.
Obvious thing to say, but I can't understand why six changes were made to a side in form. I accept that changes need to be made every now and then, but one or two would have sufficed. Changing our in form strike pairing was also a strange decision. You would have thought that after the Charlton game Zola would have realised that making too many changes disrupts the rhythm of an in form team. Hopefully he won't make the same mistake again. This was a key opportunity to put pressure on those teams around us, but these kind of slip ups are the kind of thing that could cost us come the end of the season. Having said that, the future is still positive, one bad result does not by any means mean we are going to go on a run of dropped points and I believe we are still the strongest side in the league. Let's just hope Zola has learnt his lesson this time and won't do something similar next time. I don't want to moan too much, but games like this are always frustrating. #ReinstateVialli - I'm sure much banter would have taken place had he been eligible to comment. DouglasRinaldi the better Brazilian

10:41pm Tue 29 Jan 13

londomollari says...

O.K., perhaps its 50 years of following Watford---but that was the most predictable result of the season.
Watford, in top form,scoring at will, won three in a row, pushing for automatic promotion, the most potent forward line in the Champiuonship. Bristol, rock bottom, defence leaking like a sieve, just lost three players thru' injury, et. al.. But have a new manager, and have just won a game just three days ago.
Then, the Watford manager drops six players. i saw the team, half an hour before the match, turned to the wife and told her we would lose by two clear goals.
Zola has to learn the most basic tenet of management. NEVER CHANGE A WINNING SIDE. No matter how large the squad. If you do want to rest players, then at most two at a time, keep some momentum.
A lot of postings on this site before the game made the same point.
I feel sorry for the supporters that made the trip. I was the lucky one---I had to work, and couldn't find anyone to cover, otherwise I would have travelled---and felt cheated.
Watford and Zola will recover---but I hope the lesson from Charlton and Bristol has now been learnt.
O.K., perhaps its 50 years of following Watford---but that was the most predictable result of the season. Watford, in top form,scoring at will, won three in a row, pushing for automatic promotion, the most potent forward line in the Champiuonship. Bristol, rock bottom, defence leaking like a sieve, just lost three players thru' injury, et. al.. But have a new manager, and have just won a game just three days ago. Then, the Watford manager drops six players. i saw the team, half an hour before the match, turned to the wife and told her we would lose by two clear goals. Zola has to learn the most basic tenet of management. NEVER CHANGE A WINNING SIDE. No matter how large the squad. If you do want to rest players, then at most two at a time, keep some momentum. A lot of postings on this site before the game made the same point. I feel sorry for the supporters that made the trip. I was the lucky one---I had to work, and couldn't find anyone to cover, otherwise I would have travelled---and felt cheated. Watford and Zola will recover---but I hope the lesson from Charlton and Bristol has now been learnt. londomollari

10:45pm Tue 29 Jan 13

stevyweavy says...

I cannot believe it, Zola writes about humility and taking nothing for granted and then ignores his own words, shows Bristol City total disrespect and now all those fans that were in a state of euphorea are now in total disgust at the way Zola has approached this game. What a boost going into second spot would have been but now all that momentum has been lost. Total joke.
I cannot believe it, Zola writes about humility and taking nothing for granted and then ignores his own words, shows Bristol City total disrespect and now all those fans that were in a state of euphorea are now in total disgust at the way Zola has approached this game. What a boost going into second spot would have been but now all that momentum has been lost. Total joke. stevyweavy

10:46pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Mohandas says...

GPZ must have analysed the City stats and rung some changes in anticipation of a win. City are fighting for their lives and were not going to lie down and be taken to the cleaners. Doyley remains my good luck charm and shame he wasn’t there. No panic -we’re still there despite this rude wake up call. Talk of agents is distracting.
GPZ must have analysed the City stats and rung some changes in anticipation of a win. City are fighting for their lives and were not going to lie down and be taken to the cleaners. Doyley remains my good luck charm and shame he wasn’t there. No panic -we’re still there despite this rude wake up call. Talk of agents is distracting. Mohandas

10:47pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Bringe says...

Forestieri and Geijo was the right choice against the parked bus but we were too narrow and would have been better off pinging in low hard balls into the crowded box from the sides and feeding off any resulting corners, free kicks, seconds and who knows, maybe own goals.

Now you can bet even the good sides will mirror O'Driscolls home tactics and they will be much better on the break than Bristol. Our season has just got one hell a lot harder.
Forestieri and Geijo was the right choice against the parked bus but we were too narrow and would have been better off pinging in low hard balls into the crowded box from the sides and feeding off any resulting corners, free kicks, seconds and who knows, maybe own goals. Now you can bet even the good sides will mirror O'Driscolls home tactics and they will be much better on the break than Bristol. Our season has just got one hell a lot harder. Bringe

10:52pm Tue 29 Jan 13

KeithMercer says...

Some on here need to grow up and realize no one has a divine right to win every game whatever team we put out.
I am as fed up as everyone else tonight but lets just learn and move on. It was an awful night to try and play football and the pitch wasnt much better. Once they got the first goal it was always going to be difficult. GFZ will have learnt some valuable lessons and some players may have missed a chance to impress thats for sure.Anyone that thought we would not lose another game obviously has not been following football for long and needed a reality check ! you just got it now be thankful for the fantastic progress this club is making and stop behaving like spoiled children.
Some on here need to grow up and realize no one has a divine right to win every game whatever team we put out. I am as fed up as everyone else tonight but lets just learn and move on. It was an awful night to try and play football and the pitch wasnt much better. Once they got the first goal it was always going to be difficult. GFZ will have learnt some valuable lessons and some players may have missed a chance to impress thats for sure.Anyone that thought we would not lose another game obviously has not been following football for long and needed a reality check ! you just got it now be thankful for the fantastic progress this club is making and stop behaving like spoiled children. KeithMercer

10:56pm Tue 29 Jan 13

gazmondo says...

not a good decison to rest 6 players,2 or maybe 3 would have been ok,we needed at least 1 of troy or vydra to play from the start.to leave out a 30 goal partnership and replace with a 5 goal partnership was always going to be tough,but i still have faith with zola hope he learns not to make to many changes it dont work.
not a good decison to rest 6 players,2 or maybe 3 would have been ok,we needed at least 1 of troy or vydra to play from the start.to leave out a 30 goal partnership and replace with a 5 goal partnership was always going to be tough,but i still have faith with zola hope he learns not to make to many changes it dont work. gazmondo

10:59pm Tue 29 Jan 13

holtonian says...

I stand by Gianfrancos rotation choice. How small minded are those that insist on playing the same side.To progress in the long term rotation is essential. We fielded a strong side this evening and on another night might have got 3 points.Happy days ahead.
I stand by Gianfrancos rotation choice. How small minded are those that insist on playing the same side.To progress in the long term rotation is essential. We fielded a strong side this evening and on another night might have got 3 points.Happy days ahead. holtonian

11:00pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Guy Bov says...

Losing away is not the end of the world but feel tonight was a wasted pportunity to cement our position for a serious tilt at automatic promotion.
Do think Murray needs to go out on loan. He has had a few chances and failed to shine and lack of match sharpness is not helping.
Need to get back on track on Saturday but think Bolton could be a hard nut to crack.
Losing away is not the end of the world but feel tonight was a wasted pportunity to cement our position for a serious tilt at automatic promotion. Do think Murray needs to go out on loan. He has had a few chances and failed to shine and lack of match sharpness is not helping. Need to get back on track on Saturday but think Bolton could be a hard nut to crack. Guy Bov

11:04pm Tue 29 Jan 13

londomollari says...

KeithMercer wrote:
Some on here need to grow up and realize no one has a divine right to win every game whatever team we put out.
I am as fed up as everyone else tonight but lets just learn and move on. It was an awful night to try and play football and the pitch wasnt much better. Once they got the first goal it was always going to be difficult. GFZ will have learnt some valuable lessons and some players may have missed a chance to impress thats for sure.Anyone that thought we would not lose another game obviously has not been following football for long and needed a reality check ! you just got it now be thankful for the fantastic progress this club is making and stop behaving like spoiled children.
Fair comments---but spoilt children? Grow up? I thought most of the comments here were fair criticism reasonably expressed.
[quote][p][bold]KeithMercer[/bold] wrote: Some on here need to grow up and realize no one has a divine right to win every game whatever team we put out. I am as fed up as everyone else tonight but lets just learn and move on. It was an awful night to try and play football and the pitch wasnt much better. Once they got the first goal it was always going to be difficult. GFZ will have learnt some valuable lessons and some players may have missed a chance to impress thats for sure.Anyone that thought we would not lose another game obviously has not been following football for long and needed a reality check ! you just got it now be thankful for the fantastic progress this club is making and stop behaving like spoiled children.[/p][/quote]Fair comments---but spoilt children? Grow up? I thought most of the comments here were fair criticism reasonably expressed. londomollari

11:08pm Tue 29 Jan 13

mkhornet says...

In Gianfranco we trust! Bad night at the office, disappointing but not a disaster. Now let's move on!
In Gianfranco we trust! Bad night at the office, disappointing but not a disaster. Now let's move on! mkhornet

11:11pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Hornet Cornet says...

We warned Zola about this. we are not good enough nor mature enough to make wholesale changes and expect it to work. you wouldve thought Zola wouldve learned from the Charlton debacle. i am disappointed in this GZ. i am disappointed indeed. not happy know.
We warned Zola about this. we are not good enough nor mature enough to make wholesale changes and expect it to work. you wouldve thought Zola wouldve learned from the Charlton debacle. i am disappointed in this GZ. i am disappointed indeed. not happy know. Hornet Cornet

11:37pm Tue 29 Jan 13

J.A.A. says...

I am absolutely incensed! What the hell is Zola doing ! what the hell was he thinking. chance to go second playing a side bottom of the table,who must be low on confidence so he decides to play the second eleven !.He lost the game before it started,Ill bet Bristol couldent believe their luck when they saw the teamsheet,instead of going out with some trepidation their confidence must have been boosted no end.SIX changes what are they tired ! I think Bristol played saturday too didnt they.I would have thought we would have played our best team, got the first goal and knocked more confidence out of them and gone on from there .If we had lost playing our best team then fair enough, but this was just crazy. I think Zola should give us a **** good explanation!!From hero to zero in one crazy night. My confidence in him has plummeted MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD Cant believe how mad he was and how mad I am.
I am absolutely incensed! What the hell is Zola doing ! what the hell was he thinking. chance to go second playing a side bottom of the table,who must be low on confidence so he decides to play the second eleven !.He lost the game before it started,Ill bet Bristol couldent believe their luck when they saw the teamsheet,instead of going out with some trepidation their confidence must have been boosted no end.SIX changes what are they tired ! I think Bristol played saturday too didnt they.I would have thought we would have played our best team, got the first goal and knocked more confidence out of them and gone on from there .If we had lost playing our best team then fair enough, but this was just crazy. I think Zola should give us a **** good explanation!!From hero to zero in one crazy night. My confidence in him has plummeted MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD Cant believe how mad he was and how mad I am. J.A.A.

11:51pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Hornet Cornet says...

SPOT ON JAA. This rotational lunacy may work for larger teams but we are not able to make 6 changes and expect to wun. shocking decision making GZ.
SPOT ON JAA. This rotational lunacy may work for larger teams but we are not able to make 6 changes and expect to wun. shocking decision making GZ. Hornet Cornet

11:57pm Tue 29 Jan 13

lutondown says...

Bringe wrote:
Forestieri and Geijo was the right choice against the parked bus but we were too narrow and would have been better off pinging in low hard balls into the crowded box from the sides and feeding off any resulting corners, free kicks, seconds and who knows, maybe own goals.

Now you can bet even the good sides will mirror O'Driscolls home tactics and they will be much better on the break than Bristol. Our season has just got one hell a lot harder.
And if we play our best team we will stuff them.
[quote][p][bold]Bringe[/bold] wrote: Forestieri and Geijo was the right choice against the parked bus but we were too narrow and would have been better off pinging in low hard balls into the crowded box from the sides and feeding off any resulting corners, free kicks, seconds and who knows, maybe own goals. Now you can bet even the good sides will mirror O'Driscolls home tactics and they will be much better on the break than Bristol. Our season has just got one hell a lot harder.[/p][/quote]And if we play our best team we will stuff them. lutondown

12:05am Wed 30 Jan 13

Hornet Cornet says...

LD youre back!!!
LD youre back!!! Hornet Cornet

12:06am Wed 30 Jan 13

J.A.A. says...

Well Keith Mercer if you think any of what happend tonight made any logical sense you must be mad too!
Well Keith Mercer if you think any of what happend tonight made any logical sense you must be mad too! J.A.A.

12:14am Wed 30 Jan 13

miked2006 says...

We always seem to struggle against teams at the bottom of the table, rotation or not. Add to that the new manager, the terrible pitch and weather which stopped our play and a team fighting for their lives and it becomes even more difficult. Anyway you pessimistic whiners here's food for thought, even if we had won today with our best 11, we might pick up more points because of the rotation than we would have otherwise. How? Well most obviously, we have some rested first team players, perhaps preventing fatigue and potential injury problems for the rest of the season (our team is a bit on the lightweight side when it comes to this area). Secondly we have some players with more match fitness who can come in and replace them if necessary. And finally, and most importantly, Zola is helping out the morale of the entire squad. He has given chances to some players who have apparently been rather upset that they have been overlooked this year. This will either makes the players happy that they are getting a chance, create better squad harmony and stop any factions or dissent against Zola, or makes the players realise that they need to go out on loan and get some football before they are ready for the squad. We are doing amazingly well this season, but we are well ahead of schedule and there will be blips. But in the end we will get there. And if you are petulant enough to get annoyed after today, you are not wanted. BYE BYE.
We always seem to struggle against teams at the bottom of the table, rotation or not. Add to that the new manager, the terrible pitch and weather which stopped our play and a team fighting for their lives and it becomes even more difficult. Anyway you pessimistic whiners here's food for thought, even if we had won today with our best 11, we might pick up more points because of the rotation than we would have otherwise. How? Well most obviously, we have some rested first team players, perhaps preventing fatigue and potential injury problems for the rest of the season (our team is a bit on the lightweight side when it comes to this area). Secondly we have some players with more match fitness who can come in and replace them if necessary. And finally, and most importantly, Zola is helping out the morale of the entire squad. He has given chances to some players who have apparently been rather upset that they have been overlooked this year. This will either makes the players happy that they are getting a chance, create better squad harmony and stop any factions or dissent against Zola, or makes the players realise that they need to go out on loan and get some football before they are ready for the squad. We are doing amazingly well this season, but we are well ahead of schedule and there will be blips. But in the end we will get there. And if you are petulant enough to get annoyed after today, you are not wanted. BYE BYE. miked2006

1:07am Wed 30 Jan 13

londomollari says...

miked2006.
Actually,you make some good points, which I am sure Zola would echo. However, you should also consider the moral of the players having lost so poorly. The main point I am making, as also many others, is not rotation of players being wrong, but the wholesale change of a winning team---six changes at once will unsettle the rhythm of a side. Sure, rest a couple of players in one game, two others in another. But not all at once.
miked2006. Actually,you make some good points, which I am sure Zola would echo. However, you should also consider the moral of the players having lost so poorly. The main point I am making, as also many others, is not rotation of players being wrong, but the wholesale change of a winning team---six changes at once will unsettle the rhythm of a side. Sure, rest a couple of players in one game, two others in another. But not all at once. londomollari

2:32am Wed 30 Jan 13

miked2006 says...

londomollari wrote:
miked2006.
Actually,you make some good points, which I am sure Zola would echo. However, you should also consider the moral of the players having lost so poorly. The main point I am making, as also many others, is not rotation of players being wrong, but the wholesale change of a winning team---six changes at once will unsettle the rhythm of a side. Sure, rest a couple of players in one game, two others in another. But not all at once.
The players who came in will hopefully (if not I don't want them in the squad) be itching to get another game and to prove that they are good enough. Even the best players mess up, but what distinguishes them is how hard they bounce back. Zola will look at their attitude and work rate after this game and have a better picture of which players he needs going forwards and which just aren't going to make the grade.

Yes we can all look back and say to win the match we can't make six changes, but if we can keep a fresh happy squad for the majority of the season, I have no doubts that we will go up. Even if we throw away a couple of points here or there through rotation gambles. We needed to change the front 2 in my opinion, Vydra and Deeney have been working so so hard recently and Fessi and Hey-ho should have enough quality. Casetti is 35, and who here has not wanted Murray to get a few more minutes this year. My only gripe would be that we shouldn't have played Hogg and Eustace next to eachother, as they lack creativity.

So basically I think that Zola is willing to gamble every few games against lower teams to ensure we can consistently put out our best 11 against the other 18 or so teams in the league. If we keep our team fresh for the six pointers towards the end of the season we will go up. If we keep Vydra fit and healthy, we will go up. So in my eyes, there's no stopping us.
[quote][p][bold]londomollari[/bold] wrote: miked2006. Actually,you make some good points, which I am sure Zola would echo. However, you should also consider the moral of the players having lost so poorly. The main point I am making, as also many others, is not rotation of players being wrong, but the wholesale change of a winning team---six changes at once will unsettle the rhythm of a side. Sure, rest a couple of players in one game, two others in another. But not all at once.[/p][/quote]The players who came in will hopefully (if not I don't want them in the squad) be itching to get another game and to prove that they are good enough. Even the best players mess up, but what distinguishes them is how hard they bounce back. Zola will look at their attitude and work rate after this game and have a better picture of which players he needs going forwards and which just aren't going to make the grade. Yes we can all look back and say to win the match we can't make six changes, but if we can keep a fresh happy squad for the majority of the season, I have no doubts that we will go up. Even if we throw away a couple of points here or there through rotation gambles. We needed to change the front 2 in my opinion, Vydra and Deeney have been working so so hard recently and Fessi and Hey-ho should have enough quality. Casetti is 35, and who here has not wanted Murray to get a few more minutes this year. My only gripe would be that we shouldn't have played Hogg and Eustace next to eachother, as they lack creativity. So basically I think that Zola is willing to gamble every few games against lower teams to ensure we can consistently put out our best 11 against the other 18 or so teams in the league. If we keep our team fresh for the six pointers towards the end of the season we will go up. If we keep Vydra fit and healthy, we will go up. So in my eyes, there's no stopping us. miked2006

7:10am Wed 30 Jan 13

Sammy Chung says...

Tinkerman..!!
Tinkerman..!! Sammy Chung

7:33am Wed 30 Jan 13

Holly68 says...

Charlton and Bristol, 6 points there for the taking, I fear this could cost us end of season. Zola, pick your strongest team please, that's what we pay to see, not half a reserve team !
Charlton and Bristol, 6 points there for the taking, I fear this could cost us end of season. Zola, pick your strongest team please, that's what we pay to see, not half a reserve team ! Holly68

7:33am Wed 30 Jan 13

harry uk says...

If the home side park the bus, is it up to us to provide the entertainment and take the risks pushing forwarward.? We should have changed tactics and knocked it around at the back and let them come out and do all the hard work.!! Im sure the crowd would have got on their back for negativety alone..!! Too many changes and nothing learnt from the Charlton game. You saw some of the top sides in the FA cup resting or making wholesale changes with their best players. Norwich, Qpr, Liverpool, and look what happens.!! When it starts to go pear shaped they then start wheeling out there proven players. Ask Steve Gerrard if he enjoyed his rest when he was asked to come on and go charging around the pitch trying to salvage a position Liverpool had got themselves into unneccesarily. Same with Vydra and Deeney coming on last night. Its not about keeping players happy, you have to be ruthless in management, I cant remember players being rested years ago.!! Too much molly coddling. If you tell somebody he must be tired after a while he will probably believe you..!! PLAY YOUR BEST AND IN FORM PLAYERS AT ALL TIMES PLEASE.!! COME ON YOU HORNS..!!
If the home side park the bus, is it up to us to provide the entertainment and take the risks pushing forwarward.? We should have changed tactics and knocked it around at the back and let them come out and do all the hard work.!! Im sure the crowd would have got on their back for negativety alone..!! Too many changes and nothing learnt from the Charlton game. You saw some of the top sides in the FA cup resting or making wholesale changes with their best players. Norwich, Qpr, Liverpool, and look what happens.!! When it starts to go pear shaped they then start wheeling out there proven players. Ask Steve Gerrard if he enjoyed his rest when he was asked to come on and go charging around the pitch trying to salvage a position Liverpool had got themselves into unneccesarily. Same with Vydra and Deeney coming on last night. Its not about keeping players happy, you have to be ruthless in management, I cant remember players being rested years ago.!! Too much molly coddling. If you tell somebody he must be tired after a while he will probably believe you..!! PLAY YOUR BEST AND IN FORM PLAYERS AT ALL TIMES PLEASE.!! COME ON YOU HORNS..!! harry uk

7:57am Wed 30 Jan 13

Stoney77 says...

We had no god given right to win this game, full strength team or not. How do we know from the outside whether Vydra, Deeney, Chalobah, Cassetti etc were starting to run on empty? We could have fielded a slightly jaded first eleven and still just come away with a point or worse against a team with a win under their belt, the wind under their sails and a new manager, and then faced a tough game against Bolton with a slightly more jaded first team and perhaps then lost that or just got a draw. I'd prefer one win and one loss against two draws any day so if we win on Saturday then well done Zola. COYH
We had no god given right to win this game, full strength team or not. How do we know from the outside whether Vydra, Deeney, Chalobah, Cassetti etc were starting to run on empty? We could have fielded a slightly jaded first eleven and still just come away with a point or worse against a team with a win under their belt, the wind under their sails and a new manager, and then faced a tough game against Bolton with a slightly more jaded first team and perhaps then lost that or just got a draw. I'd prefer one win and one loss against two draws any day so if we win on Saturday then well done Zola. COYH Stoney77

8:14am Wed 30 Jan 13

SAHornet says...

Holly68 wrote:
Charlton and Bristol, 6 points there for the taking, I fear this could cost us end of season. Zola, pick your strongest team please, that's what we pay to see, not half a reserve team !
Spot-on, Holly
[quote][p][bold]Holly68[/bold] wrote: Charlton and Bristol, 6 points there for the taking, I fear this could cost us end of season. Zola, pick your strongest team please, that's what we pay to see, not half a reserve team ![/p][/quote]Spot-on, Holly SAHornet

8:52am Wed 30 Jan 13

bigthunder says...

Stoney77 wrote:
Uh oh I feel a big rant coming on from Big Thunder. Lots of capital letters and lots of anger!! Oh well, some perspective, we are 4th in the league and playing beautiful football, thank you GFZ. S&&t happens, let's move on.
happy to oblige Stoney77 see under Zolas comments article , sorry not posted earlier i was actually at the game putting my money were my mouth was , suppose you were tucked up in bed , doubt you were actually there to witness it ??
[quote][p][bold]Stoney77[/bold] wrote: Uh oh I feel a big rant coming on from Big Thunder. Lots of capital letters and lots of anger!! Oh well, some perspective, we are 4th in the league and playing beautiful football, thank you GFZ. S&&t happens, let's move on.[/p][/quote]happy to oblige Stoney77 see under Zolas comments article , sorry not posted earlier i was actually at the game putting my money were my mouth was , suppose you were tucked up in bed , doubt you were actually there to witness it ?? bigthunder

9:26am Wed 30 Jan 13

Travelling Hornet says...

miked2006 wrote:
We always seem to struggle against teams at the bottom of the table, rotation or not. Add to that the new manager, the terrible pitch and weather which stopped our play and a team fighting for their lives and it becomes even more difficult. Anyway you pessimistic whiners here's food for thought, even if we had won today with our best 11, we might pick up more points because of the rotation than we would have otherwise. How? Well most obviously, we have some rested first team players, perhaps preventing fatigue and potential injury problems for the rest of the season (our team is a bit on the lightweight side when it comes to this area). Secondly we have some players with more match fitness who can come in and replace them if necessary. And finally, and most importantly, Zola is helping out the morale of the entire squad. He has given chances to some players who have apparently been rather upset that they have been overlooked this year. This will either makes the players happy that they are getting a chance, create better squad harmony and stop any factions or dissent against Zola, or makes the players realise that they need to go out on loan and get some football before they are ready for the squad. We are doing amazingly well this season, but we are well ahead of schedule and there will be blips. But in the end we will get there. And if you are petulant enough to get annoyed after today, you are not wanted. BYE BYE.
Agree with this ! We've got to look at the bigger picture.
Every unbeaten run comes to an end at some time, better to be strong and fresh against promotion rivals.
[quote][p][bold]miked2006[/bold] wrote: We always seem to struggle against teams at the bottom of the table, rotation or not. Add to that the new manager, the terrible pitch and weather which stopped our play and a team fighting for their lives and it becomes even more difficult. Anyway you pessimistic whiners here's food for thought, even if we had won today with our best 11, we might pick up more points because of the rotation than we would have otherwise. How? Well most obviously, we have some rested first team players, perhaps preventing fatigue and potential injury problems for the rest of the season (our team is a bit on the lightweight side when it comes to this area). Secondly we have some players with more match fitness who can come in and replace them if necessary. And finally, and most importantly, Zola is helping out the morale of the entire squad. He has given chances to some players who have apparently been rather upset that they have been overlooked this year. This will either makes the players happy that they are getting a chance, create better squad harmony and stop any factions or dissent against Zola, or makes the players realise that they need to go out on loan and get some football before they are ready for the squad. We are doing amazingly well this season, but we are well ahead of schedule and there will be blips. But in the end we will get there. And if you are petulant enough to get annoyed after today, you are not wanted. BYE BYE.[/p][/quote]Agree with this ! We've got to look at the bigger picture. Every unbeaten run comes to an end at some time, better to be strong and fresh against promotion rivals. Travelling Hornet

10:20am Wed 30 Jan 13

miked2006 says...

Stoney77 wrote:
We had no god given right to win this game, full strength team or not. How do we know from the outside whether Vydra, Deeney, Chalobah, Cassetti etc were starting to run on empty? We could have fielded a slightly jaded first eleven and still just come away with a point or worse against a team with a win under their belt, the wind under their sails and a new manager, and then faced a tough game against Bolton with a slightly more jaded first team and perhaps then lost that or just got a draw. I'd prefer one win and one loss against two draws any day so if we win on Saturday then well done Zola. COYH
Spot on, and what if Vydra got injured? There would be uproar that he wasn't properly rested... I don't understand why we think that we were going to thrash them anyway, we always struggle against bottom of the table teams, full strength or not. Vydra would have had little space to run in to. We were looking for Hey how's first touch and Fessi's skill in the final third, but they were lacking. If we want to go up we cannot just rely on Vydra, we need other players to be able to come on and give us an alternative. And to do that, they need to play some matches.
[quote][p][bold]Stoney77[/bold] wrote: We had no god given right to win this game, full strength team or not. How do we know from the outside whether Vydra, Deeney, Chalobah, Cassetti etc were starting to run on empty? We could have fielded a slightly jaded first eleven and still just come away with a point or worse against a team with a win under their belt, the wind under their sails and a new manager, and then faced a tough game against Bolton with a slightly more jaded first team and perhaps then lost that or just got a draw. I'd prefer one win and one loss against two draws any day so if we win on Saturday then well done Zola. COYH[/p][/quote]Spot on, and what if Vydra got injured? There would be uproar that he wasn't properly rested... I don't understand why we think that we were going to thrash them anyway, we always struggle against bottom of the table teams, full strength or not. Vydra would have had little space to run in to. We were looking for Hey how's first touch and Fessi's skill in the final third, but they were lacking. If we want to go up we cannot just rely on Vydra, we need other players to be able to come on and give us an alternative. And to do that, they need to play some matches. miked2006

11:17am Wed 30 Jan 13

stevyweavy says...

Well if any body wants to go down the conspiracy theory route - Is there any coincidence that we changed so dramatically a winning / scoring formula and lost to the bottom club in the league so as to avoid going into the spotlight of an automatic promotion position a day after the Football League starts investigating Watford FC and Bassini for financial misconduct charges?
Well if any body wants to go down the conspiracy theory route - Is there any coincidence that we changed so dramatically a winning / scoring formula and lost to the bottom club in the league so as to avoid going into the spotlight of an automatic promotion position a day after the Football League starts investigating Watford FC and Bassini for financial misconduct charges? stevyweavy

12:21pm Wed 30 Jan 13

amayesing says...

This is not the first time he has mucked about with a wining formula and its backfired. You play your best team. You telling me these fit professional footballers who are well paid cannot play 2 games a week. Pansies!!
This is not the first time he has mucked about with a wining formula and its backfired. You play your best team. You telling me these fit professional footballers who are well paid cannot play 2 games a week. Pansies!! amayesing

1:39pm Wed 30 Jan 13

lutondown says...

Holly68 wrote:
Charlton and Bristol, 6 points there for the taking, I fear this could cost us end of season. Zola, pick your strongest team please, that's what we pay to see, not half a reserve team !
Well at least now we can start a new hate campaign
FTZ!
[quote][p][bold]Holly68[/bold] wrote: Charlton and Bristol, 6 points there for the taking, I fear this could cost us end of season. Zola, pick your strongest team please, that's what we pay to see, not half a reserve team ![/p][/quote]Well at least now we can start a new hate campaign FTZ! lutondown

4:14pm Wed 30 Jan 13

goldanboy says...

If you're going to rest them, why take them? Zola messed up and he knows it. He underestimated Bristol City and changed over half the team thinking we would beat a side who haven't kept a clean sheet all season. I play 6 a side football and we put out the best side even against the whipping boys and yes, we won the league by a 2 goal difference last year.
Would Zola make 6 changes again in a months time and lose 9 points this season for changing (not tinkering) the team?....of course he wont. Let's all get over this and watch the first team beat Bolton on Saturday. A blip, I believe is what we'll call it.
If you're going to rest them, why take them? Zola messed up and he knows it. He underestimated Bristol City and changed over half the team thinking we would beat a side who haven't kept a clean sheet all season. I play 6 a side football and we put out the best side even against the whipping boys and yes, we won the league by a 2 goal difference last year. Would Zola make 6 changes again in a months time and lose 9 points this season for changing (not tinkering) the team?....of course he wont. Let's all get over this and watch the first team beat Bolton on Saturday. A blip, I believe is what we'll call it. goldanboy

6:08pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Bringe says...

the biggest problem was they scored first albeit with a huge slice of luck. However we don't seem to be the best when it comes to penning teams in their own area, or rather we're not creating chances when we do. I'd suggest in such circumstances it is volume over quality that actually works best and not always looking to thread impossible balls through non existent gaps...... get it in the mixer, it has to fall out somewhere.
the biggest problem was they scored first albeit with a huge slice of luck. However we don't seem to be the best when it comes to penning teams in their own area, or rather we're not creating chances when we do. I'd suggest in such circumstances it is volume over quality that actually works best and not always looking to thread impossible balls through non existent gaps...... get it in the mixer, it has to fall out somewhere. Bringe

7:06pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Feff says...

Changing the strikers was fair enough though it back-fired. The midfield was pitiful. Murray needs to go on loan somewhere - anywhere! Eustace? Sorry but give him a free for the loyalty he has shown. Persevere with Hogg, however badly he played. Vydra and Abdi - we must keep both of them, come what may, if we are to make the play-offs, let alone gain automatic promotion.
Changing the strikers was fair enough though it back-fired. The midfield was pitiful. Murray needs to go on loan somewhere - anywhere! Eustace? Sorry but give him a free for the loyalty he has shown. Persevere with Hogg, however badly he played. Vydra and Abdi - we must keep both of them, come what may, if we are to make the play-offs, let alone gain automatic promotion. Feff

8:58pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Sammy Chung says...

Old Chinese proverb;-........man cannot open can, if he keeps his can opener in his pocket..!!
Old Chinese proverb;-........man cannot open can, if he keeps his can opener in his pocket..!! Sammy Chung

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