Watford ended a run of three straight Premier League defeats with a comfortable 3-1 win over Norwich in the Premier League on Saturday.
Emmanuel Dennis scored the opener with a deft header after Grant Hanley misjudged the flight of a cross from Kiko Femenia on the right, with Teemu Pukki equalising for Norwich before half-time with a composed finish past Ben Foster.
Xisco Munoz’s side stepped up their game in the second- half, with Ismaila Sarr on hand to finish with ease in the box twice to seal the three points and a 3-1 win.
Whilst Sarr and Dennis will rightly get the plaudits for finding the back of the net, one player who went under the radar with a superb performance in midfield was Juraj Kucka.
The Slovakian midfielder was a thorn in Norwich’s side throughout the game as he bossed the middle of the park and helped Watford cruise to victory. He was strong defensively and looked to put his foot on the ball to calm things down in possession.
Defending his own goal, Kucka put himself about to put out fires and stop Norwich from breaking. As per SofaScore, he won an impressive 14 duels, nine on the ground and five in the air. He also made four tackles, one interception and one clearance, highlighting how much effort he put in across the pitch to pressurise the Canaries midfield.
This shows that the 34-year-old was strong in his 50-50 battles and did not allow Norwich to get the better of him in the physical side of the game. Daniel Farke’s side may have found more joy in the final third had Kucka not been so adept at winning his duels.
He also provided a valuable relief for Watford when in possession. As per SofaScore, he had 57 touches of the ball and completed two of his three long ball attempts, whilst also creating one chance. He also won five free-kicks for his team, relieving pressure and allowing the Hornets to settle and take the sting out of the game. This was his experience coming through and it played a vital role in the result as it meant that Norwich were unable to build momentum for prolonged periods of play.
Therefore, his performance was key for Watford as he was able to find a balance between defensive ballast and quality on the ball. He may not have grabbed the headlines with a goal or an assist, but he was an unsung hero in the middle of the park and deserves the plaudits for his strong performance.