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Watford 0-0 Everton: Instant reaction - Toffees held to dull draw

They didn’t lose - but this felt like an opportunity missed

Watford FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton played out a goalless draw with Watford to claim one more point in their battle for survival, but this felt like an opportunity missed.

The Toffees paid for their overcautious approach that had fared them so well in recent games, but didn’t quite work when they were expected to take the initiative.

I would have taken four points from these two away games, but after the win at Leicester it feels like they have blown a chance to all but secure safety.

This was after all a Watford team that has lost 11 straight home games, had not kept a home clean sheet all season up to now, were already relegated and were decimated by injury and suspension.

They were at least helped by the result at Leeds, with Chelsea winning 3-0 at Elland Road to ensure the Toffees moved two points clear of the Yorkshire club.

They now have two home games in a row against Brentford and Crystal Palace. Four points from those two games you’d think would be enough.

FIRST HALF

Frank Lampard made just one change from the win at Leicester with Michael Keane coming in for the injured Yerry Mina. Bringing in Allan for Fabian Delph could have been an option, but you can understand why Frank wanted to keep a bit of continuity.

With Watford already relegated a number of home fans decided to give this a miss, meaning there were plenty of empty seats as the game began at Vicarage Road - in the home section at least. The travelling Toffees once again arrived in great number and in great voice, following on from Sunday’s game at the King Power.

Unfortunately they did not have much to sing about in the opening 45 minutes. It was pretty dreadful.

Watford started the brighter of the two sides but failed to test Jordan Pickford. Everton great into things but like their opponents failed to force Ben Foster into a save.

Anthony Gordon was perhaps the brightest attacking player but his final ball let him down, while Demarai Gray struggled for any rhythm.

Playing five at the back has certainly tightened Everton up. But in a game where they are expected to take the initiative, it didn’t really work.

All in all. Forgetful

SECOND HALF

Everton did wake up in the second half. Well, Richarlison did, the Brazilian turning in the box and firing in a shot that took a deflection before being well palmed away by Foster.

They went even closer when Gray combined well with Iwobi before steering the ball inches wide of the far post.

The game still struggled to get going though, not helped by some rather officious refereeing by Mike Dean on his farewell tour of the Premier League.

I was pleading for Lampard to change things and he finally relented in the 77th minute and chucked on Dominic Calvert-Lewin for Gray.

The game just got bogged down though into a scrappy mess. A reminder that, despite the recent good form, Everton aren’t a particularly good side.