More games from 15th November at https://oldwatford.com/tag/nov15
More games from 15th November at https://oldwatford.com/tag/nov15
clips of Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary Goals: 1
Despite Watford enjoying some good fortune to equalise, manager Javi Gracia also felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty when Ryan Bertrand appeared to foul Nathaniel Chalobah. “There were different situations that were difficult for the referee but it was a clear penalty,” he said.
The man at the centre of it all was Simon Hooper, the referee who up until the 57th minute was getting on with his duties with little fuss. But then came the meltdown. First, he failed to award Watford a clear penalty following Ryan Bertrand’s rash tackle on Nathaniel Chalobah and, six minutes later, decided to ruled out a second Southampton goal for what turned out to be a wholly incorrect reason.
The visitors found a way back eight minutes from the end. Southampton failed to deal with a cross from the left, a deflected clearance and there was Jose Holebas to lash home, via a deflection off Cedric, from just inside the penalty area. Southampton were unable to contain their frustrations.
Newcastle recorded their first Premier League victory of the season as Ayoze Perez scored in a 1-0 win over Watford on Saturday. Having failed to win any of their opening 10 league games of a season for just the second time in their history, the relief around St James Park’ was clear to see when the striker headed home (64).
The joy that erupted was followed by anxiety, with 25 minutes still left to play. Watford should have equalised, Andre Gray denied a tap-in by a magnificent last-ditch tackle from Kenedy before Stefano Okaka scooped over from six yards in stoppage time. “If you don’t kill the game when you have chance to do it, something like this can happen,” said manager Javi Gracia.
Yeah. Defeat, then. A bloody long way to come for an underwhelming outcome. If there was a consolation it was that there are worse places to visit than Newcastle with its admirable carpet of proper pubs. We visited a third before braving the train journey home.
There were a lot of angry Watford fans after the game. There was some justification for this as Newcastle had been very poor and were there for the taking. But the first half performance had been impressive and the Hornets should have been 3 or 4 up at half time. If the Pereyra shot that hit the crossbar early in the second half had gone in, we would have won the game. But Newcastle worked hard, managed to get a goal from a set piece and it seemed to be game over from that point. Still it is very dispiriting to hear so much anger directed at the players who have entertained us wonderfully so far this season. We are half way to safety with less than 30% of the games played, so are already on the way to having a great season. There will be the odd blip, but that shouldn’t derail the support as we are all in this together. It would be great if some of our more volatile supporters could remember that.
The current Watford manager could not be happier with his squad, but does not expect them to emulate Leicester’s shock title of 2015-16. “This is the best squad in the Premier League,” he said. “I don’t think we’d be able to achieve to win the championship. But we are going to try to enjoy every game, and try to do that for our supporters, help them enjoy it with us.
“It wasn’t our best game. We need many things to improve. Our first two goals were fine, but I preferred the last one when Isaac Success scored his first goal of the season from something we had trained for.”
Nonetheless, here was a challenge we’ve rarely experienced before, certainly since the 1980s. That of being the side… not just favourites but comprehensive favourites, odds-on favourites, expected to win in a top flight game. As with all unfamiliar things it doesn’t feel altogether comfortable, as positive an indicator as it may be of the status to which we’ve elevated ourselves. You’re much less open to disappointment – and pressure – as the underdog. Nor had this edginess been improved by finding ourselves placed at exactly the same spot in Wagamama as we had been pre-Bournemouth. Or by discovering, now as then, that it was much bloody colder than anticipated necessitating hat purchase for the second home game on the trot. (Or, as an aside, that the hat was too small. The costume fitters of the Adhoc theatre group will roll their eyes, full of complaints at the the prohibitive size of my head. Nonetheless… a one size fits all hat shouldn’t be too small…).
The joy was tempered somewhat by the worrying news of Glenn Hoddle’s collapse. Then, when I returned home, I heard of the Leicester owner’s helicopter crashing and the death of a Brighton fan after their game. The Leicester owners have been such a boon to both the club and the town, when something so awful happens, all football fans share the pain. My thoughts are with the family and friends of all affected this weekend.
The Hornets produced a perfect response after losing 4-0 to Bournemouth two weeks ago, and there was less than a minute between Etienne Capoue (20) and Roberto Pereyra’s (21) strikes that sealed the win for the visitors.
There was no Troy Deeney, owing to a hamstring injury, meaning Javi Gracia handed opportunities to Gerard Deulofeu and Isaac Success in attack, while the Italian Adam Masina made his first league start at left-back. It all pointed to another home victory for a team who have been described as the best promoted side in Premier League history by Jamie Redknapp, but, in Pereyra and Abdoulaye Doucouré, Watford have players who would grace almost any team in the division.
Gracia said: “I am pleased because after the last match we had two tough weeks preparing for this, but this is a good reward. In my mind it was a complete performance. The key to the game was scoring the first goal and then again.
After an even start that had been short on chances, Watford took the lead on 20 minutes. The move started with some really good work from Deulofeu before Doucouré played the ball out to Capoue who blasted a low shot from distance into the Wolves net. There was a momentary delay before the celebration as we couldn’t quite believe what we had seen. It was a terrific strike. We had hardly stopped bouncing when the second goal went in. Straight from the restart, the ball found its way to Pereyra on the left from where he effortlessly curled a shot over the keeper and into the opposite corner. Well, that was unexpected!
Pereyra came close to adding a third before half time, but his curled effort from the edge of the box flew over the bar. The half time whistle brought to an end one of the finest halves of football we’ve seen in a long, long time.
Javi Gracia said Watford must now get down to work to ensure no repeat of their hefty defeat. “It has been the first game where we hadn’t competed at the same level as other games,” the Watford manager said. “Today we have conceded more chances, we’ve made more mistakes than in all the other games put together.”
the first 14 minutes were OK… Bournemouth dropped deep and invited us into congested areas, but we did an encouraging enough job having accepted said invitation. This culminated in Andre Gray’s shot being blocked as he span away on the right hand side of the area, and shortly afterwards the cumulative attritional effect of a series of attacks peeled open a space for Will Hughes to have a go. It was a relatively comfortable ask for Begović, who held the ball down to his right, but as an opening salvo it was perfectly acceptable.
You spend your whole week working, looking forward to the football at the weekend. Then it comes around and you end up sitting out in the rain, watching your team go down to ten men in the first half and end up losing 4-0 at home to Bournemouth.