Raphinha, Rodrigo, and Jack Harrison scored as Jesse Marsch’s quest to guide Leeds United to a safe place on the Premier League table is close to settled after just a half-dozen matches in charge.
Leeds clobbered Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday to run the hosts’ unbeaten league run to four matches and guide them nine points clear of the bottom three (18th-place Burnley, it should be noted, has three matches in hand on Leeds at the moment).
Watford’s 22 points are six back of 17th-place Everton and the Hornets have played one more match than the Toffees. The two sides meet at Vicarage Road on May 11 after Watford hosts 18th-place Burnley on April 30.
Watford vs Leeds final score, stats
Watford 0, Leeds 3
Scorers: Raphinha (21′), Rodrigo (73′), Harrison (85′)
Shot attempts: Watford 8, Leeds 10
Shots on goal: Watford 1, Leeds 5
Possession: Watford 48, Leeds 52
Three things we learned from Watford vs Leeds
1. Weekend goes the way of safety: A weekend that threatened to make the Premier League’s relegation picture a true six-team race now looks to be somewhere between two and four teams with realistic chances to go down. First Newcastle beat Wolves to go eight clear of the bottom three, then Everton beat sleepy Man United to go four clear, and now Leeds has beaten a Watford team who opened the day with hopes of pulling within five of it. Now a Burnley defeat of Norwich on Sunday could leave us with only three teams — Everton, Burnley, and Watford — not looking either clearly safe or clearly down.
2. Job nearly done for Marsch (Is he a survival expert now?): So while we’re here how about a high-five for Jesse Marsch and the audacity of holding team huddles on the field or being optimistic or being born in those crazy colonies. It could all fall spectacularly apart for the USMNT man before too long but it won’t be with his first Premier League stint being a one-and-done relegation campaign. Marsch lost 1-0 to Leicester and 3-0 to Villa but his men are now unbeaten in four including six-pointer wins over Norwich and Watford. Get him a case of chewing gum and a bad attitude and you’ve got yourself the new Big Sam (we kid because we care).
Great work by Marsch. Now how high can he finish? Leeds next heads to Palace before hosting Man City, then it’s Arsenal, Chelsea, Brighton, and Brentford. So don’t expect too many points coming to the Elland Road bunch, but their form does make it feel like Leeds would have to totally fall apart to go down.
3. Third coach not the charm: Don’t put this on Roy Hodgson. Watford’s rifling through three managers — two of which have solid if not terrific resumes — shows that a team without anything between the goalkeeper and forwards is not going to get anything done. Watford, amazingly, could still stay up but if the Hornets do in fact drop into the Championship it will be because there was both no stability and a distinct lack of solid players at Vicarage Road. On top of that, the Hornets’ late second half showed a team with no belief a comeback was possible.
Man of the Match: Diego Llorente — Seven clearances, three interceptions, and five tackles highlight another number: Nine. Leeds has one win, two draws, and six losses when the center back does not play.