Watford lost for the third time in four games as they were beaten 3-1 by Championship side Stoke City in the League Cup on Tuesday night.
The Hornets came into the game off the back of a 3-1 win over fellow newly-promoted side Norwich at the weekend, but had lost their previous two Premier League matches to Tottenham and Wolves without scoring.
Xisco Munoz made a host of changes to his XI from the win over the Canaries and was let down by some of the players he selected. One player, in particular, who struggled was right-back Jeremy Ngakia.
For the opening goal, Ngakia tried to hold the ball near the corner flag and was ultimately robbed by a Stoke player, who then threaded it across the six-yard box for Nick Powell to convert from close range. He also failed to get close enough to Sam Clucas to block his attempted cross, which inadvertently skewed over Rob Elliott and into the back of the net.
Per SofaScore, he also lost five of his seven ground duels and made one tackle in the 90 minutes, whilst being dribbled past once. He was too lightweight to deal with the physical challenge posed by Stoke, which was highlighted in the opening goal as he was robbed of possession far too easily.
On the ball, his display was just as worrying if not worse. Per SofaScore, he lost possession of the ball a whopping 28 times during the match, whilst completing just one of his nine attempted crosses and 76% of his passes. This shows that he did not have the quality in possession to cause Stoke any problems, handing them the ball back frequently to allow them to attack the Watford goal.
He let Munoz down with his performance as he was not able to impress with or without the ball. As a full-back, Ngakia is required to be a solid defender whilst also offering an outlet in possession down the right and the aforementioned statistics show that he was unable to meet either of those requirements.
If he wants to force his way into the starting XI in the Premier League then he will need to show serious signs of improvement in training as this display may have set him back.
The nature of his mistakes could start to sound the alarm bells in Munoz’s head, because if he makes similar errors against higher-quality players, then he will be punished even more.