The score doesn’t tell the whole story, because Leeds finished the game with nine men, after Jason Pearce was sent off and Rodolph Austin broke his leg with Neil Warnock having already used all three substitutes.
But it’s the not the result I want to talk about. It’s the Watford team.
Of their 18-man match day squad, eight were loan players, six of whom are from Udinese.
For those who don’t know, Watford are now owned by the Pozzo family, who also own both the Italian club and Spanish team Granada.
Soon after taking over at Watford and installing Gianfranco Zola as manager, the new owners started bringing in players from their broadening stable, all on a loan basis (although many with the option of a permanent deal next summer).
In total 10 players moved from Udinese to Vicarage Road along with two from Granada; plus one from Standard Liege and one from Chelsea.
So Watford began this season with 14 players who weren’t their own. And three months later, they are playing matches with nearly half a squad who could disappear come May.
I’m intrigued to know how the fans feel about this. After all, Watford have often played the loan system extremely well. Most notably in bringing in Ben Foster and Tom Cleverley from Manchester United and Henri Lansbury from Arsenal, all of whom excelled and added to, rather than became, the team.
But I fear that when so many of your players are actually someone else’s, there is no future. Existing through the loan system means existing without foundations.
The same can be said of the players. Not all of them, of course. Both Cleverley and Foster have gone on to succeed in the Premier League. And many others have used the loan system to great effect.
But there are also the perennial loanees, who jump from club to club with an employer but no home. They are the sofa-surfers of football. And they rarely excel.
In recent years – with decreasing funds to bring in permanent players, and Premier League clubs with young ones miles away from the first team – teams in the Football League have used the loan system more than ever.
At times, it works. And one or two brought in to consolidate the team makes perfect sense.
But when your squad becomes a pick-and-mix of other clubs’ cast-offs and those not quite ready yet, it can’t be much fun supporting a team like that.
Of all the players who go on loan every year, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that fewer than 20 will go on to be a success at the team who owns them. And possibly that’s too high an estimate.
And for the clubs offering temporary homes, maybe they’ll survive another year and maybe that will be enough.
But there won’t be much badge-kissing going on.