Watford's seven-game search for a win came to an end with a scoreline that wasn't a genuine reflection on the majority of the contest.

The Hornets scored three - all fine finishes from stand-out performer Gerard Deulofeu, Jose Holebas and Domingos Quina - and could have netted at least three more as they showcased some eye-catching attacking play in what was a dominant display for more than two-thirds of the contest.

However, the Bluebirds threatened to set up a grandstand finale by scoring twice in almost as many minutes through the fourth impressive goal of the afternoon from Junior Hoilett and a scrambled Bobby Reid finish, following a passage of play that should have been flagged offside.

Here's how we scored the Hornets: 

Ben Foster – 7

The Hornets goalkeeper will be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet, but he was beaten by a superb strike and then did well to deny an offside Sol Bamba in the build-up to Cardiff’s second goal. Foster helped stabilise matters thereafter by decisively coming for the deliveries that were launched into his penalty area as the Bluebirds sought an equaliser.

Kiko Femenia – 6.5

A generally solid showing by the Spaniard at right-back who got forward when he could to offer an attacking outlet, playing a part in the third goal. Was caught on his heels by Junior Hoilett as he came inside to curl in Cardiff’s first goal.

Christian Kabasele – 6

A more comfortable afternoon for the centre-half after his costly mistakes at Goodison Park on Monday. Was caught out for Cardiff’s second goal when, under pressure, he headed the ball back towards his own goal after Foster had saved.

Craig Cathcart – 6.5

Like his central defensive partner, was rarely tested by Cardiff’s limited attacking threat. May feel he could have done more when Bobby Reid’s backheel rebounded off him and back to the Bluebirds substitute for the second goal.

Watford Observer:

Jose Holebas – 7

The Hornets left-back was stretched at times, but defended well and capped a positive afternoon’s work with a lovely strike for Watford’s second goal. His deliveries from corners again lacked consistency though.

Ken Sema – 6.5

The Swedish winger kept his place in the side after his surprise inclusion at Everton and, on balance, justified it. Was arguably the least eye-catching of Watford’s attacking players, but worked hard and contributed to positive effect at times when on the ball. Was replaced by Isaac Success for the last quarter of the contest.

Abdoulaye Doucoure – 7.5

Capped a high energy performance with his fifth assist of the season and wasn’t far away from scoring for the third match in succession. The French midfielder always looked to be progressive when in possession and drove forward when the opportunities presented themselves.

Domingos Quina – 8

This was only his second Premier League start but it’s not an exaggeration to suggest the Portugese talent plays in a manner of someone who has many more top-flight starts under his belt. Disciplined, composed and calm in possession, the 19-year-old capped another impressive showing by becoming Watford’s youngest ever Premier League goalscorer with a majestic finish for the third goal.

Watford Observer:

Roberto Pereyra – 7.5

The Argentine may have woken up this morning still wandering how he didn’t score at least once. And it can be argued he should have done, although he was denied on three occasions by impressive Neil Etheridge saves. Like at Everton, Pereyra was deployed in more of a playmaker role and his prompting and probing was key to what was a good attacking performance by his side.

Gerard Deulofeu – 8.5

The Spaniard has been criticised this season for his end product not consistently matching his undoubted qualities on the ball. Not yesterday. He opened the scoring with a fine individual effort, showed good awareness to set up Holebas for his goal and caused Cardiff numerous problems with his intelligent movement.

Troy Deeney – 6.5

A game where the captain had to be unselfish. Deeney had no real chances of his own and got little change in the air out of Cardiff’s centre-halves, but he played an important role in helping to link the attacks and contributed to the second and third goals. The skipper was arguably fortunate to escape a booking when he slid in on Etheridge in the second half.


Isaac Success – 5.5

Didn’t have too long to make an impression but could have done so when Watford had an opportunity with a late counter-attack, only to fluff his lines when seemingly caught in two minds.

Stefano Okaka – N/A

Was given a rare outing off the bench in place of Deeney for the final 10 minutes

Tom Cleverley – N/A

Another positive from yesterday was Cleverley’s first appearance of the season after a lengthy injury lay-off.