Month: March 2019

30th March 2019- Premier League, Manchester United 2 Watford 1

Referee:
Stuart Attwell
Attendance:
74,543
Goal 1

Doucouré: “We Dominated”

Match Report: Manchester United 2-1 Watford

Gracia: “It’s Difficult To Explain”

Deeney: “We Controlled The Game”

Foster: “We Need To Believe In Ourselves More”

Highlights: Manchester United 2-1 Watford

Watford score late goal against Manchester United, but can’t prevent the defeat

Fine Watford display ends with harsh Manchester United defeat

Manchester United vs Watford: Javi Gracia believes defeat was due to details

Watford players’ performances rated after Manchester United defeat

A selection of images from Watford’s narrow Manchester United defeat

Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defends Watford after ‘disrespectful’ comments by journalist

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster said the team are not afraid of facing anyone

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in permanent charge of United was far from comfortable as Watford dominated for large periods and had 20 shots compared to eight from the home side.

The victory was harsh on the visitors, who dominated possession for long periods and had superior chances, but it lifts United into fourth place above Arsenal, who play on Monday.

United certainly do the counter punch well, and the game’s highlight was a sublime pass from Shaw for Rashford’s goal, but Watford had 20 shots all told and as many on target – eight – as their opponents had efforts at all.

“It is difficult to explain because I think we had a good performance,” said Gracia.

We were absolutely fabulous, to a man and from the very off.  Not least the “reserves” at the back;  Janmaat, only arguably a downgrade on Kiko in any case, and the dogged, focused Adam Masina in comfortably the best I’ve seen him in a Watford shirt rampaged up the wings.  Miguel Britos has been unfairly demonised over the last twelve months, splendid that if he is to return to Uruguay in the summer as trailed it’ll be on the back of thoroughly solid, competent displays like this.  And Christian Kabasele… he’s good at the stuff he’s good at, the brainfarts are what lets him down there was none of that today.  Aggressive, disciplined defending, as aggressive in fact as any situation permitted, often quite enjoyably so.

Despite their disappointment at the defeat, the travelling Hornets roared their appreciation of the team’s performance with the songs reaching a crescendo as Gracia came over to applaud the crowd.  It had been a tremendous performance by the Watford lads.  It isn’t often that you play away against one of the top six and find the home team playing a defensive game hoping to score on the break.  The Watford midfield ran the game and, in a season in which Capoue and Doucouré have excelled on a weekly basis, it was great to see Hughes put in a superb performance.

16th March 2019- FA Cup Sixth Round, Watford 2 Crystal Palace 1

Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
18,104
1-0
2-1

FA Cup Report: Watford 2-1 Crystal Palace

Gomes: “I Feel So Proud”

Gray: “A Little Bit More Special”

Gracia: “It’s Something Amazing For Us”

Gallery: Watford v Crystal Palace

Affleck’s Angle: Deulofeu’s Determined Defence

Watford and Crystal Palace going head to head in FA Cup quarter final

Gracia On Gray: “I Am Happy For Him”

Watford beat Crystal Palace in FA Cup quarter-finals thanks to Andre Gray winner

Watford vs Crystal Palace: Javi Gracia praises Heurelho Gomes after FA Cup quarter-final triumph

Watford vs Crystal Palace: Javi Gracia stresses the Hornets’ strength as a team

Adrian Mariappa says Watford are not getting carried away over FA Cup semi-final

Andre Gray said his goal for Watford against Crystal Palace was ‘special’

Second-half substitute Andre Gray scored two minutes after coming on to send Watford into the FA Cup semi-finals with victory over Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road.

Gray’s goal 11 minutes from time booked Watford’s place at Wembley for the second time in four years after a passionate quarter-final at Vicarage Road, which the hosts were good value for edging. They took advantage of increasing first-half momentum to move ahead on the half-hour when Etienne Capoue was teed up by Craig Cathcart after Vincent Guiata missed a punch from a corner. But Michy Batshuayi then levelled after half-time following a horrible mistake from Adrian Mariappa.

As it happened

Nearly 35 years since their solitary appearance in the FA Cup final under Graham Taylor, Watford now have the chance under Gracia to emulate that famous side by reaching the Wembley showpiece match in May for a second time. The Spaniard’s name reverberated around the stadium at the final whistle as the veteran goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes – who is planning to take up a new career as a pastor at the end of the season – wept tears of joy. “When the team was suffering in the second half they were very important for the team,” Gracia said of his club’s fans. “I think they really lifted our players.”

It had been a long time coming, but finally Watford have their revenge. After losing to Crystal Palace in the 2013 Championship play-off final and the 2016 FA Cup semi-final, they have made it past their bogey team. As the crowd sang loud at the final whistle, Javi Gracia’s side are on their way to Wembley. And in the process they have consigned Roy Hodgson to another season without an FA Cup semi-final appearance.

The tide of confidence was rolling by 11.15. That’s when “it’s bloody Palace, isn’t it?” was swept over and crushed. But in effect the build up to that wave, the little ripples, started at least a week earlier as Palace lost to Brighton, Southampton and Newcastle earned unlikely wins and the Eagles started looking over their shoulders again. So when Zaha pulled a calf muscle in training it was never going to be risked.

The 1881 had put incredible efforts into making sure that there would be a tremendous atmosphere.  When we took our seats, the ground was already full of people waving flags.  The big screen was showing footage of earlier quarter-finals.  I enjoyed watching John Barnes lobbing Tony Coton in 1984, but it is the Arsenal game in 1987 that always comes to mind.  I loved that day out at Highbury.

Prior to the game there was a lot of talk about Watford refusing to give Crystal Palace fans the entire Vicarage Road End and instead allocate them the absolute minimum number of tickets they could. This involved a lot of netting having to be put out in the stand…

Watford’s road to the FA Cup final: Andre Gray strike beats Crystal Palace in quarter-final

9th March 2019- Premier League, Manchester City 3 Watford 1

Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
54,104
Goal 1

Match Report: Manchester City 3-1 Watford

Capoue: “We Worked So Hard”

Highlights: Manchester City 3-1 Watford

Gracia: “We Have Competed Really Well”

Gallery: Manchester City v Watford

Affleck’s Angle: Best Laid Plans

Watford lose 3-1 away at Manchester City in the Premier League

Raheem Sterling scores a hat-trick as Watford are beaten at Manchester City

Javi Gracia believes Raheem Sterling goal was clearly offside as Watford lose to Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has apologised for Raheem Sterling’s first goal against Watford for Manchester City

Watford players rated following their Premier League defeat to Manchester City

A selection of images as Watford lose to Manchester City

Javi Gracia defends decision to make seven changes for Watford’s Premier League game away at Manchester City

Raheem Sterling’s quick-fire second-half hat-trick sent Manchester City four points clear at the top of the Premier League, but there was controversy over the opener that broke down a stubborn Watford side.

Sterling’s first goal, 40 seconds after half-time, was initially ruled out for offside but after a long discussion, referee Paul Tierney overturned his own decision, with Daryl Janmaat’s attempted block just before Sterling struck ruled as having played the winger onside.

Janmaat’s involvement did not change some basic facts, namely that Sterling had been offside from Agüero’s flick-on and was going for the ball, prominently involved in play. Yet Tierney came away from a lengthy discussion with his assistant, Adrian Holmes, by deciding to overrule the original decision and declare Sterling was, in fact, onside. Confused? Well, join the club. Javi Gracia, the Watford manager, tries not to be a critic of referees and showed commendable restraint afterwards, noting only his belief it was very much the wrong decision. As for Guardiola, he pointed out that English football should have had VAR in place long before now.

Minute by minute report

After the floodgates opened in the second half, Watford did strike back with one goal, coming from the first two touches of their two substitutes, introduced moments earlier on 65 minutes. Troy Deeney’s flick-on was finished well by Gerard Deulofeu.

Like the majority of Watford fans, I don’t travel to places like City expecting anything out of the game, so the fact that the home side had the vast majority of the possession and Watford had only the single shot on target came as no surprise.  Unlike the trip to Liverpool, Watford were more effective in defence and, had the referee not interfered, the result may have been more favourable. 

3rd March 2019- Premier League, Watford 2 Leicester City 1

This game was given added spice by the announcement five days beforehand that former Watford manager Brendan Rodgers had left Celtic to take over the vacant manager’s job at Leicester City. The Guardian detailed the story of his time at Vicarage Road.

The new Leicester City manager is likely to get a hostile reception at Vicarage Road after an abrupt departure in 2009 but his players remember him warmly

Referee:
Jonathan Moss
Attendance:
20,062
Goal 1
Goal 2

Match Report: Watford 2-1 Leicester City

Gray: “A Great Feeling”

Gracia: “All My Players Want More & More”

Highlights: Watford 2-1 Leicester City

Deeney: “You Can See The Passion And Desire”

Another Angle: Gray Scores 92nd Minute Winner!

Watford host Leicester City and former manager Brendan Rodgers in the Premier League

Andre Gray scores injury-time winner for Watford against Leicester City

Javi Gracia stresses Watford’s ambition following Leicester City victory

Watford vs Leicester City: Javi Gracia praises contributions of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray

Watford players’ individual performances rated after earning late win against Leicester City

A selection of images from Watford’s victory over Leicester City

Watford’s Andre Gray has dedicated his winning goal against Leicester City to his auntie after her recent death

Troy Deeney has spoken about his understanding with Andre Gray after Watford’s late win over Leicester City

A last-gasp goal from Andre Gray denied Brendan Rodgers his first point as Leicester manager as Watford earned a 2-1 win in the Premier League on Sunday. Rodgers’ debut saw him return to the club where got his first managerial job after being appointed at Leicester on Tuesday, but it was a terrible start for the former Celtic boss as Troy Deeney scored inside five minutes.

Troy Deeney insists there will be no Watford “meltdown” this season after the Hornets continued their impressive campaign with a late victory over Leicester in Brendan Rodgers’ first game in charge of the Foxes.

Watford boss Javi Gracia says his team “deserved” the win after beating Leicester City 2-1 at Vicarage Road, the Spaniard is also pleased with the “ambition” his players continue to show, saying they want “more and more” as the Hornets aim to finish the season strongly.

A late goal from the substitute, Andre Gray, gave Watford all three points as Brendan Rodgers began life at Leicester with a defeat

Among all the accusations that have swirled around since Brendan Rodgers swapped Celtic for Leicester, there has been little suggestion that he picked the easy option. Watford provided an instant crash course in the perpetual uncertainty of the Premier League’s middle third and, when the substitute Andre Gray ran through in added time to send a charged-up Vicarage Road into raptures, it felt like enough to stop even the most incorrigible optimist in their tracks.

Leicester were indebted to Kasper Schmeichel and then Wes Morgan for keeping Watford out from a third-minute free-kick, only to fall behind to another free-kick two minutes later. Gerard Deulofeu curled in the dead ball with such ferocity that Troy Deeney needed only to allow it to skim the top of his head to beat Schmeichel.

The beginning, strictly speaking, is Tuesday’s management announcement in Leicestershire which confirmed that for the third home game in a row we would be facing a former boss. The third of the three home games this calendar year incidentally versus nine away of which only two defeats, a figure distorted by cup draws and Spurs’ stadium nonsense… but these statistics which highlight how well the present incumbent is doing and how the identity and history of the Other Bloke only matters up to a point.

Leicester’s decision to dispense with the services of Claude Puel and appoint Brendan Rodgers meant that this was the third home game in a row in which we would face a former manager.  It also ensured a better atmosphere than may have been expected on a Sunday lunchtime as Mr Integrity returned to Vicarage Road.