Month: February 2019

27th February 2019- Premier League, Liverpool 5 Watford 0

Referee:
Graham Scott
Attendance:
53,316

Match Report: Liverpool 5-0 Watford

Gracia: “We Have To Keep Confidence In Ourselves”

Watford thrashed away at Premier League leaders Liverpool

Liverpool beat Watford by five goals at Anfield in the Premier League

Watford head coach Javi Gracia has defended his team after their five goal defeat against Liverpool

Watford players’ individual ratings following their difficult away day in Liverpool

Watford head coach Javi Gracia wants his side to accept responsibility for Liverpool defeat

Jurgen Klopp feels Liverpool proved some doubters wrong after they turned on the style to crush Watford at Anfield and stay top of the Premier League.

Watford had conceded 11 goals on their previous two visits to Anfield and they were soon facing an uphill task again as Mane netted twice inside the opening 20 minutes.

Fear stalked the Watford defence each time Salah received the ball in space, a lesson they failed to heed from United’s approach at Old Trafford. The paucity of the visitors’ attacking display was summed up by Javi Gracia withdrawing both of his forwards, Troy Deeney and the erratic Gerard Deulofeu, in a double substitution.

In many respects, Watford did well to keep it to three before the last ten minutes when the situation finally became critical, two crosses delivered into the box – one each from the two full-backs – and both headed past Ben Foster by Virgil Van Dijk.

Whilst the five goals was disappointing, what was really frustrating was the number of Liverpool fans in the away end at Anfield. I was on a mission to point them out.

22nd February 2019- Premier League, Cardiff City 1 Watford 5

Referee:
Simon Hooper
Attendance:
30,387
Goal 1
Goal 2
Goal 3
Goal 4
Goal 5

Match Report: Cardiff City 1-5 Watford

Deulofeu: “An Amazing Day”

Gracia: “To Win Like We Did Was Outstanding”

Highlights: Cardiff City 1-5 Watford

Deeney: “We Looked Like A Real Top Team”

Affleck’s Angle: Consistency Is Key

FPL Review: Gameweek 27

Watford take on Cardiff City in Friday night Premier League clash

Gerard Deulofeu scores a hat-trick as Watford beat Cardiff City 5-1

Javi Gracia thinks Watford can achieve something special after Cardiff City win

Watford’s players rated after they thump Cardiff City in the Premier League

Ben Foster vows Watford will continue to push on after Cardiff City thrashing

Images of all the goals from Watford’s 5-1 win at Cardiff City

Gerard Deulofeu scored Watford’s first top-flight hat-trick since 1986 as they boosted their hopes of a Europa League spot by cruising to victory at Cardiff.

Deulofeu opened the scoring in the 18th minute in a first half where Cardiff felt they should have had a penalty when Josh Murphy went down in the box under a strong challenge from Daryl Janmaat (42).

Deulofeu had not scored for eight matches but looked as if he was back playing for Barcelona as he ran riot in the second half. Abdoulaye Doucoure headed Bennett’s free-kick clear and into the path of the former Everton player, who knocked the ball past Manga on the halfway line, before taking it round Neil Etheridge and slotting home his fifth goal of the season.

His third also came thanks to generous defending, this time from Harry Arter, who was intercepted by Etienne Capoue. The Frenchman sent Deulofeu through and he finished neatly. Not content with his offing, Deulofeu then switched flanks, and burst through on goal again after 73 minutes. He looked on for a fourth, but instead side-footed into the path of Deeney, who deserved to be on the scoresheet. Cardiff pulled one back nine minutes from time after Bamba latched on to a loose ball during a frenzied goalmouth scramble, but there was little interrupting the scenes of adulation in the away end, and Deeney completed the rout ­after 90 minutes from a Will Hughes lay-off.

The final whistle went sparking wild celebrations in the away end.  The players all came over to celebrate with the crowd and the songs and cheers went on for some time.  Deulofeu secured the match ball, despite an attempt by Doucouré to steal it.  As the others left him to it, he stood alone in front of the away fans while we told him he was magic.  It was a lovely moment.

What started off a tetchy, nerve-wracking evening turned out to be one of the best games of the season. Watford were sublime in the second half and produced one of the finest counter-attacking displays I have ever seen. Deulofeu was a man possessed as he embarrassed the Cardiff back line with some superb finishes.

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.

Watford’s road to the FA Cup final: Into the quarter-finals in west London

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.