Hornets are Buzzing but is Gomes Finished at Vicarage Road?
As football fans suffered their first international break of the new domestic season, they had plenty to ponder while sitting through friendlies and UEFA Nations League matches. Four games old and the Premier League season has already thrown up a fair share of surprises.
None more so than the early success enjoyed by Watford, who exploded out of the traps to claim a dozen points and take their record to 4-0-0. That perfect start saw them match Liverpool and Chelsea, who were also flexing their muscles.
Javi Gracia’s side got off the mark with an impressive 2-0 home win over Brighton on week one and that was just a taste of what followers of the Vicarage Road side could expect. Next, they dealt out a 3-1 battering to Burnley on their travels, edged city neighbours Crystal Palace 2-1, before pulling off a stunning win over much-fancied Tottenham, nicking the points by the odd goal in three.
There was no lack of Premier League predictions made in pre-season, coming from fans, bookmakers, pundits and ex-players, but very few expected Watford to be joint-top of the division after a month of play. On the basis of their efforts so far, and the confidence that comes with a winning run, there’s no doubt they’ll take some shifting.
One man that has failed to play a part in that success so far, and a goalkeeper who’ll be itching to get on the pitch and prove himself, is experienced Brazilian shot-stopper, Heurelho Gomes. The 37-year-old former Spurs rep was included in Gracia’s 25-man Premier League squad but despite being handed the number one jersey he had to settle for a place on the bench when the season got started, Ben Foster handed the gloves.
Gomes – capped 11 times for the Brazilian national team – did get a chance to prove himself when playing 90 minutes of an EFL Cup tie against Reading, a match his team went on to win 2-0 thanks to goals from Success and Quina.
Despite keeping a clean sheet at the Madejski Stadium – Reading forcing eight shots at goal – it wasn’t enough to sway his strong-willed gaffer, who reinstated Foster for that epic 2-1 win over Spurs. Doucoure sent the ball into his own net to give Tottenham the lead shortly after the re-start but a stunning fightback, led by Deeney and Cathcart, turned the game on its head.
With the writing seemingly on the wall for Gomes, his time at Vicarage Road rolling to a halt, the 6ft 3inch keeper has a decision to make. Stay and fight for his place, picking up minutes in cup competitions, push for a move to another top-level club, or call time on a fascinating professional career that started at Brasileirao side Cruzeiro way back in 2002.
Gomes is currently in the final year of his contract and with no Premier League game time to speak of as yet and match sharpness fading fast, his handlers will surely find it difficult to convince another side to match the player’s sizeable wage demands.