Month: July 2020

26th July 2020- Premier League, Arsenal 3 Watford 2

OS Watford FCMatch Preview

Watford ObserverWatford fans still have ‘hope’ to survive in Premier League

Graham Stack wants Watford fans to feel proud of Arsenal performance

Etienne Capoue could be back from injury for Watford’s trip to Arsenal

John Barnes feels stars need to align for Watford to beat Arsenal tomorrow

What needs to happen for Watford to avoid relegation

Kiko Femenia wants Watford to be confident and to hurt Arsenal

Hayden Mullins thanks Watford fans for ‘much appreciated’ support

BBC SportPremier League final day: Champions League and relegation battles set to dominate

skyWho is staying up in the Premier League: Aston Villa, Watford or Bournemouth?

What is left to play for on the final day of the Premier League season?

guardianWatford can evoke spirit of Tevez to beat drop, says Hayden Mullins

Paying attendance:0
Referee: Mike Dean
First half
Second half
Deeney 43 (pen), 1-3
Welbeck 66, 2-3

OS Watford FC Post Match

Just like they had done with a 11-game winless start to the season, the Hornets left it all too late. They waited too long to produce their best performance since the restart and they were relegated by a point. One measly point. How terrifyingly small the margins can be at this punishing level.

To Watford Fans: From Gino Pozzo & Scott Duxbury

Watford relegated from Premier League with defeat at Arsenal

Defeat at Arsenal sends Watford out of the Premier League

Watford are relegated to Championship – what went wrong

The games that defined relegated Watford’s season

Troy Deeney: Watford skipper unsure about future

Watford captain Troy Deeney calls reporter ‘cheeky b******’

Hayden Mullins claims Watford just did not do enough after relegation

Watford players rated after they are relegated at Arsenal

Watford have a list of issues to address after relegation

Watford have the chance to rebuild and change their culture

Heurelho Gomes thinks Watford supporters deserved better

Managerless Watford were relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the season as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inspired Arsenal to victory. The Hornets, who dropped into the bottom three for the first time since 28 February in midweek, started the day level on points with 17th spot knowing a positive result could keep them up.

Hayden Mullins’ side looked dead and buried at 3-0 down but they deservedly pulled a goal back courtesy of Troy Deeney’s penalty shortly before the break, then reduced the deficit to one goal when former Arsenal man Danny Welbeck slotted home from Ismaila Sarr’s cross (66).

Minute by minute

Some of Watford’s players sank to their knees; others made for the tunnel without a moment’s delay. The whistle had just blown on their five years in the Premier League and nobody could say that, when the occasion demanded them to hurl the kitchen sink at Arsenal, they went down without a fight. This was a performance full of the crispness, urgency and aggression that have hallmarked their best work over the last half-decade but it came too late, as did the fightback that almost completely overhauled a three-goal deficit on the day. Had Emiliano Martínez not brilliantly saved Danny Welbeck’s backheel 16 minutes from time, shortly after his former teammate had tapped in to put Watford within two goals of safety, there is every chance they could have completed a comeback for the ages.

It’s been a while since we had something like this, a final day with relegation still in the balance.  We have a habit of doing relegation properly when we do it at all and our greatest escapes (1991, 1994) haven’t gone to the final day.  Only 1996 bears comparison and then… not really.  Then we were on thunderous form, trying to steal defeat from the jaws of victory.  Here, the reverse was true.  Then there was a massive sense of anticlimax as the first 20,000+ home crowd since relegation sat sullenly as results elsewhere relegated us anyway and Chelsea loanee Muzzy Izzet propelled Leicester into the play offs and towards promotion.  Here?  Here we gave ourselves a huge mountain to climb, did a reasonable job of climbing it anyway and then didn’t, leaving us in the ignominious position of finishing behind Bournemouth for good measure. In 1996 we dared to believe, propelled by GT’s explosive mini-series (nestled between his two epic screen plays).  In 2020 we had all but given up before kick-off.

Watford were relegated from the Premier League. A hearty performance at the Emirates, but one that came too late. Jon, Mike, Jordi and DCW discuss how they feel after the final whistle of what is, for a little while at least, the last Watford game in the promised land.

21st July 2020- Premier League, Watford 0 Manchester City 4

A programme was advertised as being for sale on the club’s official website a week before the game took place (most clubs continued to produce programmes during the period whilst football was being played behind closed doors because of Covid-19).

However after the sacking of Nigel Pearson this quickly disappeared and two days after the game fans who had ordered a copy were emailed to say that they’d been refunded and their order cancelled.

It must be the first time in over 100 years that Watford did not make a programme available for a competitive fixture. Very few seemed to have survived the cull that presumably took place in the 50 or so hours between Pearson’s sacking and the fixture taking place. Below is the front cover which I found posted on Facebook but I don’t have a copy and have yet find any being sold on eBay.

OS Watford FCMatch Preview

Watford ObserverPep Guardiola claims Nigel Pearson did an incredible job at Watford

Hayden Mullins calls on his Watford squad to remain professional following Nigel Pearson sacking

Referee: Michael Oliver
Paying Attendance:0
First half
Second half

OS Watford FC Post Match

So, after more twists and turns than a water chute at an Orlando waterpark, this 38-game, 11-month season will go right down to the wire next Sunday.

Watford ObserverWatford lose to Manchester City in search for Premier League safety

BBC SportSterling took the game away from the home side before half-time, firing in a rising shot to open the scoring before doubling the advantage by following up his own saved penalty – awarded for a foul on him by Will Hughes.

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster admitted his side’s confidence is “crazy low” after a 4-0 defeat by Manchester City plunged them into the relegation zone.

sky Phil Foden grabbed City’s third in the 63rd minute to better his goal tally of seven from last season before Aymeric Laporte headed in a simple fourth as Watford capitulated (66).

guardian Minute by minute

Mullins had set up to contain and the pre-match feeling was that even a narrow defeat might not be the worst result if goal difference was to be a factor in Watford’s bid for survival. Mullins and his players did not even get that. This was as one-sided a game as could be imagined, the gulf in class and, as significantly, belief yawning wide. Sterling got his second when he followed up to score after Ben Foster had brilliantly kept out his penalty and the second half was an ordeal for everybody that holds Watford dear.

“I don’t think we helped ourselves,” said Foster, the only Watford player to emerge with credit. “I don’t think we did enough to do anything but what the result suggested. The confidence is so crazy – crazy low. I don’t know why it should be but you get into a state of trying to minimise as much damage as you can and it’s a dangerous way to do things. They’re Man City. They’re very, very good.”

TelegraphIn fact Watford playing City at any time has been traumatic of late with this result meaning the aggregate score from their last three meetings alone – including last season’s FA Cup Final – is 18-0 (6-0, 8-0, 4-0) while scrolling even further back it increases to 39-3. That is simply extraordinary as is the truth that it could have been far worse without an outstanding display from goalkeeper Ben Foster who did not hold back afterwards with his criticism.

BHappy imageBut that Pearson did well to drag us up by our bootlaces and that Pearson is not the right person to be in charge of this club longer term are not mutually exclusive.  I’ve got some sympathy with the view that, if Pearson was going at the end of the season anyway, given the awfulness of much of our football and of West Ham in particular and if he’s been stupid enough to mouth off to his boss, perhaps this wasn’t quite the crass stupidity that kneejerk assessments have painted it.

19th July 2020- Nigel Pearson and Craig Shakespeare leave the club

https://www.watfordfc.com/news/club/club-statement-nigel-pearson

Nigel Pearson has been sacked as Watford head coach with just two games of the Premier League season remaining. The Hornets hierarchy have acted following Friday’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham United which left the club three points above the relegation zone going into the final week of the season.

Watford sack Nigel Pearson and Craig Shakespeare – recap

Watford have confirmed the sacking of Nigel Pearson

Nigel Pearson thanks fans for support after Watford sack head coach

Watford taking a big gamble with Nigel Pearson sacking

BBC Sport Watford sack Nigel Pearson with club just above relegation zone

Nigel Pearson: Former Watford boss ‘overwhelmed’ by support messages

sky Nigel Pearson sacked after ‘frank exchange’ with Watford owner Gino Pozzo

guardianNigel Pearson sacked by Watford with two games of season remaining

While the Pozzo family have perhaps turned the club into a laughing stock, they have also turned it into one for whom relegation from the top flight is considered failure

TelegraphWatford have taken the extraordinary decision of sacking Nigel Pearson with just two games remaining of the Premier League season after he had a disagreement with club owner Gino Pozzo.

Without Nigel Pearson, Watford might have been dead and buried by now – we’ll soon know if dismissal was right call

Nigel Pearson regrets not finishing the job he started at Watford

FTRE imageAfter another seismic day at WD18, from the Rookery End is back, as we try to untangle the events that lead to Nigel Pearson departing Watford FC late on Sunday night. Jon and Mike are joined by David Cameron Walker and The Athletic’s Watford correspondent Adam Leventhal, who discuss what has happened and perhaps more importantly, what has to happen next.  

17th July 2020- Premier League, West Ham United 3 Watford 1

OS Watford FC Match Preview

Watford Observer Nigel Pearson expects tough match with Watford and West Ham fighting for survival

Nigel Pearson hopes he will still be Watford head coach next season

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Paying Attendance: 0
First half
Second half
Troy Deeney 49, 1-3

OS Watford FC Post Match

A defeat here was definitely not what the doctor ordered, especially when it eroded the goal difference in the process. The confidence and belief will have taken a hit and everyone will be watching Bournemouth take on Southampton on Sunday from behind the sofa, but alas the season now boils down to 180 minutes, albeit excruciating ones, and the Hornets go into that with a three-point buffer, however precarious that may look. There is hope, there is belief and it’s still all very much to play for. Yes, the last two look difficult on paper, but games are never won and lost on paper. Liverpool at home in February looked difficult on a sheet of A4

Watford Observer Watford defeated on the road at West Ham United

Two early goals from Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek were added to by a stunning Declan Rice effort that meant Troy Deeney’s second-half consolation strike was ultimately of little consequence and that the Hornets have plenty of work to do in their remaining fixtures with Manchester City and Arsenal

Nigel Pearson claims Watford defeat at West Ham was ‘annoying’ and a ‘missed opportunity’

Watford players rated after losing away at West Ham United

Will Hughes claims Watford did not do the basics in West Ham defeat

BBC Sport Heading into the game, the Hornets had shown decent form by picking up back-to-back victories but a desperately poor first half could prove fatal. Pearson’s men remain perilously placed – they need four points to be certain of staying up but finish the season with a daunting home fixture against Pep Guardiola’s City and a trip to Arsenal

Watford: Troy Deeney denies fight at half-time rumours at West Ham

sky With both sides locked on 34 points and three above the drop zone ahead of kick, the match was billed as somewhat of a relegation cup final, but there were no cup final nerves from West Ham.

guardian Minute by minute

Watford deserved nothing despite a belated rally. They were timid without Étienne Capoue in midfield, shambolic at the back and incapable of containing West Ham’s attackers, who ripped the game away from the visitors inside the first 10 minutes.

Telegraph“There’s no getting away from the fact this result is bitterly disappointing,” said Pearson, who appeared to be struggling to contain his anger afterwards. “It’s a really poor result for us. It’s a case of finding solutions. I’ll look at it again and the players will get honest feedback. There isn’t time to dwell on it. It was not good enough.”

BHappy imageThe sound of a bucket clunking on the bottom of an empty well seems pretty appropriate, on this occasion. Early on this Saturday morning, the morning after, the sun is shining. Blue sky, bluer sea, fresh breeze. Tea, but not yet breakfast. I can hear Fred in the living room, cooing at a programme about puppies. Andrea’s having a lie-in. It isn’t a day to be wasted on inquests. What would that achieve?

11th July 2020- Premier League, Watford 2 Newcastle United 1

OS Watford FC Match Preview

Watford Observer Nigel Pearson wants Watford to remain calm and focused

Nigel Pearson believes his Watford players still find it difficult without fans

Referee: Craig Pawson Paying Attendance:0
First half
Second half
Troy Deeney 52 (pen), 1-1
Troy Deeney 82 (pen), 2-1

OS Watford FC Post Match

The upshot of Deeney’s 28th and 29th successful penalties for the club he has served for nearly ten years is that the Hornets’ destiny remains firmly in their own hands with three games remaining. It isn’t quite snookers but Bournemouth alone now, because of the goal difference, need seven points to overtake the Golden Boys in their last four games, one of which is against Manchester City. And that’s without the Hornets getting anymore points.

Watford beat Newcastle United 2-1 at Vicarage Road

The Hornets were underwhelming in the first-half and the visitors deservedly led through Dwight Gayle. However, two second-half penalties from Troy Deeney turned the game in Watford’s favour, taking them six points clear of the bottom three.

Nigel Pearson thinks Watford still have work to do before they are safe

Troy Deeney insists Watford should be doing better despite important wins

Watford players rated after Newcastle victory

Will Hughes praises Troy Deeney’s impact in Watford win over Newcastle

BBC Sport Watford, who hit the post through Danny Welbeck, were indebted to a vital save by Ben Foster from Allan Saint-Maximim before the break – leaving them in position to mount another recovery in the second half.

sky The hosts improved after the restart as Kiko Femenia was brought down inside the box by Matt Ritchie, allowing Deeney to level (52). The Watford captain completed the turnaround with a carbon copy from the spot after Javier Manquillo upended Ismaila Sarr (82), as Nigel Pearson’s side moved six points clear of the relegation zone.

guardian Minute by minute

The basis of Pearson’s success has been his ability to organise this team defensively. At times since the restart it has been tempting to wonder if there is another gear in there, if Watford are programmed to start every game like a team clinging on to a narrow 1-0 lead in the 88th minute against Barcelona 2011

BHappy imageThe build up to both penalties was agonising.  Not having showered yet as I write this on Sunday morning my hair is still bent in the twisted contortions my fingers forced it into in the interminable build up, exacerbated by the TV director’s fondness for dramatic close-ups at the expense of following what and when was happening on the pitch.   Both penalties were dispatched with exactly the bloody-mindedness, venom and decisiveness that you’d been praying for, that you’d seen in your mind’s eye, like something out of a Marvel movie.  The first bang down the middle, the second high to the keeper’s right, both were pressure shots.  Taking a kick like that in front of a full stadium is one thing, taking it in front of an empty stadium with the responsibility undiminished but without the will of the crowd behind you something else.  Goes without saying, this took cojones (thanks Pete).  Dubravka would have needed to be right behind either to stand a chance.  He wasn’t.

FTRE-WFC-Podcast It was (yet another!) must win game for Watford…and they did it! With their blood pressure slowly settling down and smiles on their faces, Jon, Jas and Mike gathered to discuss the latest valuable victory for the golden boys.