Month: December 2018

29th December 2018- Premier League, Watford 1 Newcastle United 1

Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals: 1

Match Report: Watford 1-1 Newcastle United

Gracia: “The Game Was Difficult”

Doucouré: “A Good Lesson For Us”

Highlights: Watford 1-1 Newcastle United

Gallery: Watford v Newcastle United

Relive our coverage of Watford’s final game of 2018 against Newcastle United

Watford vs Newcastle United: Abdoulaye Doucoure salvages a point

Watford vs Newcastle United: Javi Gracia defends decision to make six changes

Our Watford player ratings against Newcastle United

A selection of images from Watford’s draw with Newcastle United

The Watford manager made six changes to his starting XI as his side played a third Premier League game in eight days. When asked if that was too many he said: “If you see the result you can say that, but I don’t agree.

Salomon Rondon gave the visitors a surprise lead in the first half (29) shortly after Gerard Deulofeu squandered a great opportunity to put the hosts in front. But Watford grabbed a deserved equaliser through substitute Doucoure (82), who converted his powerful header from close range.

The visitors will feel they should have finished Watford off in the second half as Rondon headed over from Ritchie’s cross and the latter player shot straight at Foster. But they lacked a cutting edge and while they played with plenty of heart it was not enough to hold on as Watford, who had failed to offer much of note themselves, eventually exposed poor defending eight minutes from the end.

Doucouré gave the hosts more security and thrust in midfield when introduced by Gracia and headed an equaliser from 10 yards after a rare accurate delivery by Deulofeu.

Newcastle hit us with their stock goal and it’s a Neal Ardley to Heidar Helguson tribute act. Matt Ritchie swings a beast of a cross in from the left to our far post and Rondón rises to dump a header past the helpless Ben Foster. Newcastle aren’t a great side, Ray Lewington’s Watford side weren’t great either however lovable but that goal more than kept us up and it’ll keep them up too.

That is the second time that we have played Newcastle this season and the second time that we have come away frustrated.  The visitors were certainly more impressive than they had been at St James’ Park, but we should have challenged them more.  They had come to put 10 men behind the ball and Watford just couldn’t find a way to break them down.  While there had been a lot of changes, the starting XI should have been good enough to create more than they did in the first half.  The performance was considerably better when Deeney and Doucouré came on.  They battled more when the opposition had the ball and we generally looked more dangerous.  We also missed Holebas’s attacking prowess.

Newcastle came with a game plan and it almost paid off. Watford were too slow and couldn’t breakdown a resolute defence.

26th December 2018- Premier League, Watford 1 Chelsea 2

Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
20,415

Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals: 1

Match Report: Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Cathcart: “We Pushed Them All The Way”

Gracia: “You Need To Take The Chances You Have”

Highlights: Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Affleck’s Angle: A Rare Gift

Gallery: Watford v Chelsea

Relive our coverage of Watford’s Boxing Day defeat to Chelsea

Eden Hazard scores twice as Watford lose to Chelsea

Javi Gracia reflects on Watford’s defeat to Chelsea

Images from Watford’s defeat against Chelsea at Vicarage Road

Watford vs Chelsea: Christian Kabasele posts injury update

Eden Hazard scored both goals for Chelsea as they beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road to move back into fourth place in the Premier League.

Watford will feel they had enough chances to get something from the match at Vicarage Road as they suffered their first loss in four Premier League matches.

Like Sarri, Watford manager Javi Gracia had named an unchanged team, but, having tried to carry on, Kabasele had to be replaced by Adrian Mariappa in the 16th minute.

It took until first-half stoppage time for the game to witness its first shot on target, whereupon two goals were scored in three minutes. First Étienne Capoue gave the ball away in midfield. Mateo Kovacic took control, played in Hazard and the Belgian rounded Foster before passing into the net. A minute later Watford might have equalised after Deeney’s header set up Abdoulaye Doucouré, who had already seen one effort blocked and another go high, for a shot this time saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga. From the corner José Holebas lifted the ball to the edge of the area and Roberto Pereyra rifled a volley into the corner of the net, the second time this season that a similar routine has led to a goal.

The visitors however always looked dangerous and shortly before the hour mark, Watford gifted the Chelsea the chance to take the lead. A ball over the top of the Watford defence found Hazard. Foster came out of his goal in an attempt to win ball, but instead clattered into Hazard and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot. Hazard took the spot kick and sent Foster the wrong way.

Yet again, we were ruing missing our chances as we could easily have won a point in that game.  But, on the positive side, we were reflecting on a game in which we had matched one of the best teams in the country.  Watford no longer look like plucky underdogs in these games, but are playing with a similar quality to these household names.  There were regrets regarding the two penalties.  Watford’s would have been given on another day.  Chelsea’s was an unnecessary challenge by Foster but, given how well he has done for us this season, it is hard to criticise.

22nd December 2018- Premier League, West Ham United 0 Watford 2

Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
56,833

Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals:  1  2

Match Report: West Ham United 0-2 Watford

Gracia: “We Showed Our Quality”

Gallery: West Ham United v Watford

Deulofeu: “We Fought Really Well”

Affleck’s Angle: No Secret To Success

Highlights: West Ham United 0-2 Watford

Relive our coverage of Watford’s victory at West Ham United

West Ham United vs Watford: Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu end Hamers’ winning run

West Ham United vs Watford: Troy Deeney makes no apology for goal celebration

Watford player ratings: How we scored the Hornets at West Ham United

IN PICTURES: Images from Watford’s win at West Ham United

Manager Javi Gracia praised captain Troy Deeney’s influence as his Watford team ended West Ham’s winning run to move up to seventh in the Premier League.

Deeney gave the visitors the lead in the 30th minute, stepping up to score his third goal of the season from the spot after Fabian Balbuena had brought down Roberto Pereyra. West Ham, who drop down to 12th, almost grabbed an equaliser early in the second half when Michail Antonio’s header rebounded off the post and the forward had another golden opportunity in the 85th minute, heading against the crossbar from close range after Ben Foster had denied Robert Snodgrass.

Two years ago when Watford came from 2-0 down to win 4-2, Deeney accused the home side of showboating and a lack of respect after taking an early lead in a bad-tempered game. There was no less aggression in this one. Javi Gracia has instilled a blend of silk and steel in his side which West Ham struggled to cope with.

More than 30 years have elapsed since Watford embarked on their one and only campaign in Uefa competition but maybe it is time to start talking about the prospect of another one.

As we left the ground, there was much festive joy among the travelling Hornets and the concourse rang out to a loud chorus of “Jingle Bells (Oh what fun it is to see Watford win away)”.  

Three points away from home, a clean sheet and Marco Silva’s Everton conceding six? Sounds like someone received my Christmas wish list in the post.

15th December 2018- Premier League, Watford 3 Cardiff City 2

Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals:  1  2  3

Match Report: Watford 3-2 Cardiff City

Gracia: “An Important Win”

Deulofeu: “We Are So Happy”

Highlights: Watford 3-2 Cardiff City

Holebas: “It Was Very Important For Us”

Affleck’s Angle: Deadline Day Diamond Dom

Gallery: Watford v Cardiff City

FPL Review: Gameweek 17

Relive our coverage of Watford’s Premier League clash with Cardiff City

Watford end winless run with Cardiff City success

Watford vs Cardiff City: Javi Gracia pleased with Hornets’ attacking play in victory

Watford player ratings: How we scored the Hornets against Cardiff City

Watford: Domingos Quina feels he’s proving some doubters wrong

Jose Holebas: Watford ‘went too sloppy’ against Cardiff City

IN PICTURES: Images from Watford’s victory over Cardiff City at Vicarage Road

Gerard Deulofeu pleased Watford’s winless run is over

Watford manager Javi Gracia said his side had been taught a “good lesson” after they held off a late Cardiff comeback to seal their first Premier League win since October.

In torrential conditions, the hosts raced into a deserved 3-0 lead courtesy of brilliant goals from Gerard Deulofeu (16), Jose Holebas (52) and Domingos Quina (68).

This was a good win for Watford. Such was the harum-scarum nature of the closing stages, however, that a moment’s reflection was needed in order to be sure. After dominating possession and storming to a 3-0 lead with some sumptuous goals, they almost threw it away in the last 10 minutes. The final moments saw the hosts clinging on to the result, keeping the ball by the corner flag.

On a slippery pitch and near-freezing conditions, Deulofeu looked like he was on a slalom run as he waltzed past three defenders into the Cardiff penalty area and calmly placed the ball past goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to open the scoring.

There are parallels with following a football team, I think. A bit. Particularly that last point. It’s a drum I’ve banged before, no apologies for that. It’s the answer to that question we used to ask when we were in the second tier. “What’s the point of being a mid-table Premier League side?” Of being (Fulham/Stoke/West Brom/insert your choice here). No hope of challenging, limited peril until there is, then it stops. We are now that side. The side that are the go-to name for throwaway lines about mid-table irrelevance.  Leicester answered that question in part of course. But there’s more to it. Being Watford (any team, but Watford more so, obviously) is great because it’s us.  It’s being part of something.  And being us is great wherever it is.  Being good is fun.  But it’s not all of it.

At the end of the match there was complete bafflement.  Watford had been coasting until the first Cardiff goal, which seemed to give the visitors confidence and the home side jitters.  While we weren’t exactly hanging on at the end, the memory of the last minute at Goodison Park on Monday was too fresh for me to feel comfortable until the final whistle had gone.

10th December 2018- Premier League, Everton 2 Watford 2

Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals:  1   2

Match Report: Everton 2-2 Watford

Gracia: “It’s Tough To Accept”

Gracia On Quina: “He Had An Amazing Performance”

Quina: “We Deserved The Win”

Watch: Behind-The-Scenes At Goodison

Highlights: Everton 2-2 Watford

Affleck’s Angle: Rulings Rued At Goodison

FPL Review: Gameweek 16

Gallery: Everton v Watford

Away Days: Pereyra The Creator Against Everton

RELIVE: Everton vs Watford: Lucas Digne scores stoppage-time leveller in frenetic Premier League clash

Everton vs Watford: Lucas Digne free-kick denies Hornets Premier League victory

Everton vs Watford: Javi Gracia left frustrated by more controversial decisions

Watford player ratings: Domingos Quina makes his mark against Everton

IN PICTURES: Images from Watford’s draw at Everton

Domingos Quina: Watford midfielder praised after impressive full debut at Everton

Lucas Digne’s injury-time free-kick earned Everton a point and denied Watford what would have been a sweet victory over former manager Marco Silva.

Abdoulaye Doucoure looked to have headed the winner after Seamus Coleman’s own goal cancelled out Richarlison’s opener against his old club.  Gylfi Sigurdsson then missed a penalty for the second time this season but Watford were denied their first win at Goodison Park as Digne opened his account for the Toffees with a sumptuous effort in stoppage-time.

Watford fans brought inflatable snakes to taunt Marco Silva but the surest way to torment their former manager lay in the club’s first victory at Everton. It was in their grasp until stoppage time, deservedly so, only for Lucas Digne to produce an antidote for Silva and Everton’s self-inflicted suffering.

“I didn’t see anything,” said the Portuguese. “It is not important to me.” But neither time nor the authorities have healed Watford’s wounds. The club’s complaint to the Premier League about what they think was an illegal approach remains unresolved and while Everton had attempted to repair relations by paying what they felt was over the odds for Richarlison, his £40 million fee now looks money well spent.  

As we entered through the turnstiles, we were greeted by Dave Messenger who was handing out vouchers for £10 for food and drink.  A really lovely gesture from the club to reward those who had made the journey to Liverpool on a Monday night.  The smallish crowd meant that it was like the old days in the away stand, with us able to take any seat we wanted.  So we headed to an empty section further back where we could stretch out and move about in comfort.  Bliss!

If the away end was loud after the second goal, it was ten times louder now as the game entered the final ten minutes.  I felt physically sick as the Fourth Official held up his board to show six minutes of additional time to be played.  Watford were doing well, winning the ball back comfortably and running the clock down at any chance they could.  As the game entered the final minute, a lofted ball towards the Watford goal was handled by Kabasele as he failed to make the header. As soon as the free kick was given myself and all the other Watford fans around me knew what was coming.

4th December 2018- Premier League, Watford 1 Manchester City 2

Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals: 1

Match Report: Watford 1-2 Manchester City

Gracia: “I’m Proud Of My Players”

Kabasele: “We Showed Some Character”

Quina: “Once You Have A Taste, You Want More”

Highlights: Watford 1-2 Manchester City

Affleck’s Angle: Big Ben’s Timeless Form

Gallery: Watford v Manchester City

Foster: “I’m Proud Of Them”

RELIVE – Watford vs Manchester City: Premier League leaders hold on to deny Hornets

Watford vs Manchester City: Abdoulaye Doucoure goal not enough for Hornets

Watford vs Manchester City: Javi Gracia proud of Hornets’ efforts

Player ratings: Ben Foster best of the bunch as Watford lose to Manchester City

Watford vs Manchester City: Ben Foster confident Hornets will build on display against Premier League leaders

Watford: Domingos Quina wants more after making Premier League debut against Manchester City

Leaders Manchester City survived a late scare to see off Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night.

The reigning champions had controlled Tuesday’s game and led through goals from Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez but Abdoulaye Doucoure scrambled in for Watford in the 85th minute to give the hosts hope of an unlikely comeback.  Watford sent goalkeeper Ben Foster forward for set-pieces in a frantic finish, with Guardiola introducing defensive reinforcements to deal with the pressure, but the visitors held on for their seventh successive league win.

Abdoulaye Doucouré bundled in an 85th-minute goal and City ended the match sucked into a pressure situation. Defending set pieces, all hands to the pump, nerves on edge, it was a reminder of how quickly, and how dangerously, control can evaporate.

It would be unfair to overlook the level of City’s dominance for most of this game against a club that for the last two seasons has beaten the reigning champions at Vicarage Road.

As this was Watford’s “rainbow laces” game in support of LGBT+ inclusion in sport, the 1881 and the Proud Hornets had worked together to put on a rainbow banner display in the Rookery, which was absolutely magnificent.

Given that Manchester City had won at Vicarage Road 5-0 and 6-0 over the last two seasons respectively, it was a almost a pleasant surprise to see us only concede two this time round.

1st December 2018- Premier League, Leicester City 2 Watford 0

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Watford FC Official Site

Match Report: Leicester City 2-0 Watford

WO image

Leicester City vs Watford: Relive coverage of the Hornets’ trip to the King Power Stadium

Leicester City vs Watford: Etienne Capoue is sent off late as Hornets beaten

Leicester City vs Watford: Javi Gracia says Hornets will appeal Etienne Capoue red card

Leicester City boss Claude Puel thanks Watford fans for supportive banner

RATINGS: How we scored Watford in their defeat to Leicester City

IN PICTURES: Images from Watford’s defeat at Leicester City

skyJamie Vardy and James Maddison’s first-half goals gave Leicester a 2-0 win over Watford in the Premier League on Saturday, as the visitors winless run extended to four games.

BBC SportVardy’s run off the shoulder of Watford defenders Craig Cathcart and Adrian Mariappa resulted in Foster clattering in to him for the Leicester penalty – the 13th the former England forward has converted out of 15 attempts in the top flight.  And a sweeping riposte initiated by Maddison from a Watford attack then brought the second goal, with Vardy turning Mariappa and Albrighton picking out the midfielder, who had raced 50 yards to receive his pass.

Watford fans were given free food and drink at Saturday’s Premier League game at Leicester after displaying a banner dedicated to the club’s late owner.

guardianWatford have won two of their past 11 games and missed fine chances through Isaac Success and Andre Gray. Their misery was underlined when Capoue was shown a red card a minute from the end.

TelegraphGracia confirmed he plans to appeal against the decision. “It was in front of me and Iheanacho said he didn’t touch him and that’s more important than what I say. 

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