How Irrepressible Sarr Is Taking Control Of Watford’s Promotion Quest - 9jaflaver



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How Irrepressible Sarr Is Taking Control Of Watford’s Promotion Quest




After a difficult winter and mostly average spring, the Senegal star is looking to aid the Hornets’ pursuit of an instant return to the Premier League 

When Ismaila Sarr darted beyond the Reading defence to guide Adam Masina’s pin-point cross into the bottom-left corner, you’d have forgiven the Royals defence if they were already sick of the sight of the Watford attacker.

The Senegal wide forward wheeled away in celebration before becoming aware of the linesman’s flag on the other end, a slight disappointment because the 35th-minute strike would have gone down as his first hat-trick in league football since his breakout season in Ligue 1.

Be that as it may, Sarr’s brace — his third for the club since joining in 2019 — was a thing of beauty, which largely typified the Hornets’ campaign to date. Both were low-percentage efforts, chances you wouldn’t expect the typical player to put away…yet the 23-year-old tucked them away unerring brilliance.

The first was a curled effort on his weaker left foot beyond the helpless Rafael, and the second was smashed into the stanchion from a tight corner. 13 minutes after the first whistle and Watford already appeared to be home and dry, thanks to two impressive finishes from their major attacker.

He’s now up to 12 Championship goals this season, level with Player of the Year contender Emiliano Buendia and his goals per 90 this term (0.34) outdoes his previous best from the entire 2018/19 campaign (0.26 goals per 90). While observers may quickly point out the Ligue 1 and England’s are like chalk and cheese, the fact he’s been clutch for the Hertfordshire side this term is noteworthy.

“That’s what [Sarr] gets paid for, scoring goals. He’s been brilliant all season,” Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann gushed after keeping his 11th clean sheet in 19 appearances. “He’s scored two absolutely brilliant goals; I don’t know which was better, they were both outstanding. He’s been big for us all season, he causes teams problems, even on an off-day when he’s not at his best, he occupies people.

“He helps us a lot and to get two goals to win us the game is just brilliant.”

Hornets boss Xisco opted to praise the entire side rather than single out the West African, whose end-product in a rather topsy-turvy campaign ranks him among the top 10 in the entire division. He ought to be higher than 10th, but for teammates inability to convert the majority of his presentable chances — he has four assists despite creating 11 big chances, joint-third in the league.

Given that Watford’s campaign has been built largely on their structured defence which gives little away, rather than a smooth, free-flowing attack, the fact Sarr still manages to rank among the top attackers is a credit to his ability and effectiveness.

The Hornets only rank 10th for expected goals per game (1.36xG) but are helped by having the best defence statistically (27 goals conceded) from 1.25 expected goals against per game, only bettered by six teams in the standings.

Nobody saw the ongoing turnaround in the team’s fortunes after a dismal three-game winless run from late January to early February heaped more pressure on Xisco who only took over in December. Knowing how trigger-happy the Pozzo family can be with the men at the helm, the fact the Spaniard has now guided the promotion-chasing side to 11 wins from the following 13 has been near impeccable.

Strongly aided by Swansea City’s run of four defeats in the spring, as well as Brentford’s continued tendency for stalemates, Watford have made themselves favourites to end second behind the high-flying Norwich City.

They have opened up a seven-point advantage on Swansea and a further two ahead of the Bees and only a disaster in the final five games will make them drop out of the automatic promotion slots, despite playing a game more than Brentford.

Sarr’s efficiency in front of goal has increased in that period, with one of the league’s top dribblers netting four times in four matches to improve on a run of a solitary goal in his previous seven appearances with the season reaching the home straight.

Many believed the Senegal winger was too good for the Championship, and Manchester United reportedly wanted him only to be put off by Watford’s asking price. It is quite admirable that he hasn’t let up or throw a hissy fit after not getting a move away.

Instead, Sarr has grown to be even more important to the Hornets and it’s increasingly likely to be a matter of when, not if, the exciting winger returns to the big time after a year away.

source:- goal



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