15th February 2019- FA Cup Fifth Round, Queens Park Rangers 0 Watford 1

Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
17,212

FA Cup Report: QPR 0-1 Watford

Gomes: “I Couldn’t Ask For More”

Gracia: “It’s Important We’re Getting These Results”

Britos: “It Was A Big Effort”

FA Cup Highlights: QPR 0-1 Watford

Gallery: QPR v Watford

Affleck’s Angle: Stick Or Twist

Relive our coverage of Queens Park Rangers vs Watford in the FA Cup fifth round

Queens Park Rangers vs Watford: Etienne Capoue sends Hornets into FA Cup quarter-finals

Queens Park Rangers vs Watford: Javi Gracia staying focused after Hornets reach FA Cup sixth round

How we scored Watford in their FA Cup win at Queens Park Rangers

Javi Graca praises Watford players’ professionalism and commitment

Heurelho Gomes calls on Watford to believe they can reach Wembley

A selection of images from Watford’s FA Cup win at Queens Park Rangers

Watford reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the second time in four seasons after a hard-fought win against battling Queens Park Rangers.

As four minutes of added time were shown at the end of the first half, Capoue swept the ball home after a mis-hit from Tom Cleverley and it proved to be the winner.

Queens Park Rangers had to wait for this moment. Their previous appearance in the FA Cup fifth round had come at Wimbledon in 1997 and it is doubtful whether any club has since endured a more dismal record in the competition. The London club had won only four ties – each of them in the third round – before this season.

Watford were quick to applaud their 2,654 travelling supporters, who ended the evening singing of Wembley.

Prior to kick-off there was a minute’s applause for Gordon Banks who passed away this week.  It has to be said that nobody waited for the referee’s whistle to start the tribute.

9th February 2019- Premier League, Watford 1 Everton 0

A lot happened in both the lead up and aftermath of this game so I’ve tried to provide a bit of context which is shown below in bold.

Referee:
Lee Probert
Attendance:
20,333

Pre Match Articles

Gracia: “This Game Will Be No Different”

Holebas: “They Push Us On”

Post Match Articles

Match Report: Watford 1-0 Everton

Gray: “I Wanted To Show I Can Make The Difference”

Gracia: “It’s Something Amazing For Us”

Mariappa: “Everyone Is Pulling In The Same Direction”

Highlights: Watford 1-0 Everton

FPL Review: Gameweek 26

Gallery: Watford v Everton

Affleck’s Angle: We’ve Moved On

Pre Match Articles

Marco Silva: Independent inquiry into Everton’s alleged illegal approach for former Watford boss ongoing

Javi Gracia expecting Watford fans to get behind Hornets against Everton

Watford vs Everton: Javi Gracia has no special plans to counter Richarlison threat

Watford vs Everton: Marco Silva claims he’s ‘ready for everything’ ahead of Hornets return

Post Match Articles

Relive our coverage of Watford’s Premier League clash with Everton

Watford vs Everton: Andre Gray ensures miserable return to Vicarage Road for Marco Silva

Watford head coach Javi Gracia delighted after Everton victory

Everton boss Marco Silva claims ‘I did my job well’ while at Watford

RATINGS: How we scored Watford’s performances against Everton

A selection of images from Watford’s win over Everton

Andre Gray says Watford are not putting limits on their ambitions this season

Adrian Mariappa hails ‘terrific’ support from Watford fans after Premier League win over Everton

Watford held off late pressure from Everton to claim a hard-fought victory over their former manager Marco Silva.

After Troy Deeney had appeared to stoke the flames ahead of the encounter at a Watford fans’ forum, Gray made the most of the only moment of real quality in the game when he converted Will Hughes’ cut-back 20 minutes into the second period, scoring his fourth goal of the season.

Gray was a Silva signing early in the Portuguese’s short stay at Vicarage Road, which began in May 2017 and went sour in November that year when he was prevented from going to Goodison. Watford sacked him in January last year amid tapping-up suggestions as their form nosedived. The amiable Javi Gracia took over to restore stability – “he’s better than you” sang the home fans to Silva to emphasise a point backed up by the league table.

They played Al Wilson’s 1968 hit The Snake at Vicarage Road, just before Rocket Man by Elton John and the Z-Cars theme both Watford and Everton use to signal their imminent arrival on the pitch.

Pre Match Report

Marco Silva has said Troy Deeney’s comments about intimidating Everton have been noted by his players and can serve as motivation for their visit to Watford on Saturday.

Post March Report

Before the match, the Watford captain, Troy Deeney, had distanced himself from comments he made at a fans forum this week where he promised to kick Everton’s players. Yet with passions running high in this part of Hertfordshire, as the chief executive, Scott Duxbury, said he would not engage with Silva in the opposition dugout, some supporters greeted their former manager with yellow inflatable snakes.

The Troy Deeney ‘comments’ mentioned above came from a Fan’s Forum which took place in London one evening in the week leading up to the Everton game.

Andy Lewers of the brilliant Hornet’s Nest blog and Love Sport Radio live tweeted what was said by those at the forum. Click on the tweet below to see the whole thread from the evening.

He later provided more details on what was said in a post on facebook.

The media then mis-quoted some of this which led to Silva’s motivation comments. This was how the Evening Standard reported the forum…

Troy Deeney’s Watford Fans’ Forum appearance was a joy to behold… unless you’re Marco Silva

Troy addressed the mis-reporting of his comments on the morning of the game

Andy then talked about the controversy in his usual post match blog.

Now, you will no doubt be aware that some of Troy’s comments from the evening were picked up and published in the national media. 

Many of you will have read my tweets quoted in the papers. My intention was purely to keep Watford fans who weren’t able to attend the evening up to date with what was going on. 

Sadly, some of Troy’s comments were taken out of context. They were tongue-in-cheek, exactly what you’d expect from the Watford captain, there was no malice in anything that he said and you could tell he had genuine respect for Marco Silva and Everton. 

I was perhaps naive in thinking that tweeting Troy’s comments wouldn’t have had consequences. Lesson learnt.

To be fair to Silva (not that I really want to be) he told 5 Live’s Vicki Sparks in his post match interview that he hadn’t really believed the reporting of Deeney’s comments and that Troy clarified them when they spoke before the game. (Apologies for the poor audio quality)

The atmosphere in the ground before kick-off was brittle. I must confess that I didn’t notice the widely-celebrated playlist, but there was no missing Emma Saunders’ pointed welcome to the visiting head coach over the tannoy. 

As we walked along Vicarage Road away from the ground, we could see something going on by the Everton coaches.  There was a crowd by the cemetery wall looking in and first reports were that there had been a stabbing, although that was proved wrong after the game.  But two Watford fans were hospitalised, one with a nasty head injury.  As someone who started to go to football matches in 1979, these scenes were seen on a weekly basis in those days but had become a rarity in recent times.  I really hope that it remains that way.

The trouble mentioned was widely reported.

Watford FC fans ‘covered in blood’ amid violence after Everton match

Watford v Everton: Four arrested over football violence

Police charge 23-year-old after altercation outside Vicarage Road

2nd February 2019- Premier League, Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Watford 0

Referee:
Simon Hooper
Attendance:
30,414

Match Report: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-0 Watford

Foster: “We’ll Be Happier With The Point”

Gracia: “We Didn’t Find A Way To Attack”

Highlights: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-0 Watford

Cleverley: “He’s Won Us A Point”

Affleck’s Angle: Phenomenal Foster

Gallery: Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford

Watford unable to get back to winning ways after 0-0 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion

Ben Foster stars again as Watford pick up Brighton & Hove Albion point

A selection of images from Watford’s draw at Brighton & Hove Albion

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster thinks he could play for a few more seasons

Watford manager Javi Gracia said goalkeeper Ben Foster produced a “special performance” after preventing Brighton from claiming their first league win of 2019.

Watford defended stoutly but lacked imagination in attack, and failed to register a single shot on target across the 90 minutes.

This will not live long in the memory. Except perhaps for Ben Foster, the man who has made more saves than anyone else in Premier League history.

It was Brighton who were almost celebrating a winner 10 minutes from time. Gross’s inviting cross from the left was met by a flicked header from Locadia but Foster somehow leapt to turn it behind. He followed up that save by unconventionally keeping out Duffy’s acrobatic attempt with his feet and then smothered an effort from the onrushing Andone. Yves Bissouma was also narrowly off-target in the dying moments.

Much as you want to win, there’s always something thrilling about being in someone else’s ground when a game that’s in the balance suddenly tips and the noise starts echoing around the stands. Sets the adrenaline going, makes eventual victory all the more vivid. The noise at the Amex still seems to carry with it something of what this club nearly became, of building bonfires and Hereford and all of that. It’s still there, the knowledge that none of this might’ve existed. The pre-match build-up offers somewhat one-sidedly edited highlights of previous meetings, and the big screen malfunctions to obscure half of the picture, which seems a fitting reminder of the sightlines from both the away corner at the Goldstone and the temporary seating at Withdean. It’s thirty years since I was a student here; more than twenty since Fans United. This is a brilliant ground for a proud city. We should all count our blessings more often.

The most entertaining moment of the first half came on the half hour as Holebas battled with March on the wing and ended up giving away the first corner of the game.  In typical Jose manner he then walked towards the goal to defend the set piece, looking furious as only he can.  He was looking for someone or something to blame, and suddenly focussed on his gloves which were ripped from his hands and thrown behind the goal line.  I realise that this loses a lot in translation, but it caused great amusement to the Holebas fans in our party.

The second half was pretty much exactly like the first. Hardly anything happened and the only efforts on target came from the hosts.

30th January 2019- Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur 2 Watford 1

Referee:
Graham Scott
Attendance:
29,164

Highlights: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Watford

Gallery: Tottenham Hotspur v Watford

Cathcart: “We’re Disappointed, But It’s A Good Sign”

Gracia: “A Big Chance Missed”

Match Report: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Watford

Watford lose 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur after taking a first half lead

Watford see advantage slip as Tottenham Hotspur claim late win

Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford: Javi Gracia rues not adding to points tally

Watford’s players rated from their 2-1 defeat at Wembley against Tottenham Hotspur

Ben Foster thinks Watford deserved more after disappointing defeat at Tottenham Hotspur

Javi Gracia has said Watford striker Isaac Success should ‘behave better’ after ball boy incident at Wembley

Such is the media obsession with the ‘big six’ that the following four reports barely contain a mention of us.

Watford were a little more than 10 minutes away from their first league double over Tottenham.

Late goals from Heung-Min Son and Fernando Llorente rescued a tough week for Tottenham with a 2-1 comeback win over Watford. Watford took advantage of a Spurs side looking jaded after exiting both domestic cup competitions in the space of four days when Craig Cathcart bundled home from a corner (37).

Watford substitute Isaac Success missed a good chance to secure all three points against the run of play, but Tottenham turned the game on its head in the final 10 minutes.

As Javi Gracia said, his side “missed a very good chance to get points against a very good team” and while the visitors were second best in terms of possession and territory, they arguably deserved a draw given the togetherness they showed throughout. Instead they remain ninth having lost for the first time in 2019.

26th January 2019- FA Cup Fourth Round, Newcastle United 0 Watford 2

Referee:
David Coote
Attendance:
34,604
Goal 1
Goal 2

FA Cup Report: Newcastle United 0-2 Watford

Gracia: “I Believe In All My Players”

Success: “It Was A Big Fight”

FA Cup Highlights: Newcastle United 0-2 Watford

Gray: “Everyone Is Ready And We Showed That”

Gallery: Newcastle United v Watford

Affleck’s Angle: Britos Empire

RELIVE:Watford progress to FA Cup fifth round with win away at Newcastle United

Watford through to the FA Cup fifth round with victory over Newcastle United

Javi Gracia wants Watford to progress in the FA Cup after beating Newcastle United

Performances rated as Watford defeat Newcastle United in the FA Cup

Andre Gray says Europe is a real possibility after win over Newcastle United

Watford head coach Javi Gracia happy for all his players after FA Cup victory over Newcastle United

Andre Gray and Isaac Success were on target as Watford edged past Newcastle to reach the FA Cup fifth round.

As he had done in the previous round, Watford boss Javi Gracia made 11 changes for the trip to St James’ Park but saw his understudies outplay Rafael Benitez’s reshuffled side, whose record of not having made it past the fourth round since 2006 remains painfully intact.

Watford at least had the wherewithal to find a couple of decent passes after the interval, which led to the decisive goals. From the first, delivered by the clever left foot of Will Hughes, Andre Gray rattled in a low shot just past the hour. From the second, supplied by the lively Domingos Quina, Isaac Success tapped in at the far post as the clock ticked on to 90 minutes.

“We had control,” said head coach Javier Garcia. “We have played Newcastle twice before this season and not managed to win, but this was a really good performance.”

As we sat down with our drinks for the post-match analysis, the most astute observation was that it appeared that two moments of quality from a different match had been inserted into a dreadful game.

I’m trying desperately hard not get carried away. There’s a long way to go but I can’t help but feel that maybe, just maybe, this could be our year…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018%E2%80%9319_FA_Cup

19th January 2019- Premier League, Watford 0 Burnley 0

Match Report: Watford 0-0 Burnley

Foster: “It Was A Scrappy Game”

Gracia: “There Are Positives But We Can Play Better”

Highlights: Watford 0-0 Burnley

Mariappa: “It’s Important To Come Away With Something”

Affleck’s Angle: The Run-Around

Gallery: Watford v Burnley

Watford continue their unbeaten run in 2019 with 0-0 draw against Burnley

Adrian Mariappa has hopes of playing in Europe with Watford

Watford vs Burnley: Javi Gracia disappointed with Hornets’ attacking play

RATINGS: Who shone in Watford’s goalless draw against Burnley

A selection of images from Watford’s draw with Burnley

Chris Wood saw an injury-time goal controversially ruled out for offside as Watford and Burnley failed to conjure a winner in a disappointing goalless draw at Vicarage Road.

Both teams had chances to score and the home side could have taken the lead as early as the second minute but Heaton denied Gerard Deulofeu with his right foot after the forward went through on goal. Heaton was called into action once more on the stroke of half-time when he dived to his right to parry Troy Deeney’s crisp side-footed effort to safety.

Indeed, the result had as much to do with wayward finishing as the excellent performances from both goalkeepers, Tom Heaton and Ben Foster.

Sean Dyche, back on his old stamping ground where he spent three seasons as a player before cutting his teeth in management on the day home supporters honoured the memory of Graham Taylor, could afford a smile at the final whistle despite seeing Chris Wood’s goal ruled out for offside in added time.

The highlight of the day was the GT stuff, quite obviously. Two years on the club provides all attendees with a drinks voucher, then orchestrates another tremendous scarf display as the players enter the arena. This might have been more effective still but for the unwanted, unneeded and sadly non-negotiable twaddle that is the Premier League anthem as the players solemnly shake hands. It could have been so much more than a stunning visual spectacle. But it is a stunning visual spectacle. There are scarves aloft in the away end too – Claret and Blue stands out a little less than Southampton’s red and white of a year ago, but it’s still a fine thing.

As the teams took the field, the crowd (including a number of Burnley fans) raised their scarves in honour of GT (the fellow next to me was given my spare so he could join in).  It really was quite a sight.  That was followed by a minute’s applause for both GT and Duncan Welbourne who passed away this week.  Chopper’s family were guests of honour of the club for the afternoon.

At half time, the family of Thomas Sawyer, a young soldier who was killed in Afghanistan 10 years ago, were on the pitch and Thomas’s father paid heartfelt tribute to his son.  Then, as the players came out for the second half, the 1881 lads unfurled the Legends banner which we held over our heads in the Rookery in the knowledge that it features both GT and Duncan Welbourne.  Both events were touching tributes and a clear sign that the club has not lost its community focus.

Tributes to GT- two years on

Javi Graci pays tribute to Watford legend Graham Taylor

12th January 2019- Premier League, Crystal Palace 1 Watford 2

Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
25,010

Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals: 1  2

Match Report: Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford

Cleverley: “It Feels Like The Hard Work Has Paid Off”

Gracia: “It’s A Good Tribute For Graham”

Cathcart: “It Was A Great Comeback”

Highlights: Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford

Affleck’s Angle: Four Good Men

Relive our coverage of Watford’s victory at Crystal Palace in the Premier League

Watford come from behind to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace vs Watford: Javi Gracia praises character and ambition after victory

RATINGS: How did Watford perform in their away win at Crystal Palace?

Tom Cleverley speaks after Watford win at Crystal Palace

Five positives after Watford win at Crystal Palace

Watford defender Craig Cathcart sees the funny side of Crystal Palace own goal

A selection of images from Watford’s win at Crystal Palace

Tom Cleverley’s superb second-half volley helped Watford come from behind to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

A huge scramble in the Watford area saw the ball turned home by Craig Cathcart’s thigh (38) to put Crystal Palace ahead, with goal-line technology confirming it had gone over the line. But the defender redeemed himself in the 67th minute as he nodded home the Watford equaliser before a wonderful volley from Tom Cleverley (74) completed the comeback and handed the visitors the victory.

The narratives off the pitch seemed rather more interesting than those on it. Watford’s Troy Deeney was charged for comments about the referee David Coote following his team’s recent game at Bournemouth. Crystal Palace’s Wayne Hennessey is also under investigation by the FA after making what appeared to be a Nazi gesture during a meal with team-mates following the club’s FA Cup victory over Cardiff last weekend.

Watford have now won 16 points away from Vicarage Road, which is a greater haul than they managed on the road last season.

It’s tempting to say that we would have lost this last season.  In fact we DID lose this last season.  And the season before.  And coulda, shoulda this time too.  But there’s more to us now…  good enough that our bad days aren’t that bad, good enough that when we flame on we’re irresistible, plenty enough to blow Palace, albeit a blunt, stunted Palace, right out of the sky.

Back home watching Match of the Day I notice, during the interview with Javi Gracia, that he is wearing a Graham Taylor matchday badge on his jacket.  I must admit that made me cry.  Javi has been a joy since he arrived at Vicarage Road.  His football is enjoyable and his conduct is exemplary.  I think that GT would have loved him and, from me, there can be no higher praise.