Monthly Archives: February 2022

26th February 2022- Premier League, Manchester United 0 Watford 0

Attendance: 73,152

BBC Sport: The Red Devils dropped two more points in their quest for a Champions League place and left the field to boos after being frustrated by the lowly visitors, despite dominating at Old Trafford.

Sky Sports: In a poignant moment before a ball had been kicked, both sets of players, led by United interim boss Ralf Rangnick, displayed a sign calling for peace following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Guardian: In added time, Sarr nearly performed a late smash-and-grab but his 30-yard shot sailed wide.

BHappy: There’s no knocking a draw at Old Trafford.  As at Villa – before one point became three – there’s the suspicion that it’s not quite enough but a third League point at this venue and the first since November 1985 is not to be taken lightly. As for what comes next…  it should be stating the obvious that our home form is the biggest obstacle to our escape since there are still plenty of games to be played and plenty of bad teams within reach. 

23rd February 2022- Premier League, Watford 1 Crystal Palace 4

WFC.Net Jon Marks Goal Commentary: 1


BBC Sport: Wilfried Zaha scored two late goals to wrap up the points for Patrick Vieira’s side after Conor Gallagher had put them ahead in the first half.

Sky Sports: Palace opened the scoring through Jean-Philippe Mateta (15), who was handed a stroke of good fortune when his left-footed shot on the turn struck the back of Kiko Femenia and flew past the wrong-footed Ben Foster. But instead of getting mad, Watford got even, levelling the scores when Femenia’s wicked inswinging corner was powered home by Moussa Sissoko (17). 

The Guardian: “We certainly weren’t inferior in terms of our play between the penalty areas,” Hodgson said. “What was different was what Palace did when they had the ball around our penalty area and what we did when we had the ball around theirs.”

19th February 2022- Premier League, Aston Villa 0 Watford 1

WFC.Net Jon Mark’s Goal Commentary: 1

Attendance: 42,000

BBC Sport: Villa dominated but Watford grabbed all three points when Emmanuel Dennis powered home Ismaila Sarr’s 78th-minute cross after an opportunistic counter-attack.

Sky Sports: Imran Louza did well to switch play from left to right as the visitors counterattacked, finding Ismaila Sarr in space on the right edge of the area and the forward then picked out Dennis in the box, with the Nigeria international heading home his ninth goal in 24 games this campaign.

BHappy: If you permit yourself to glance at the fixture list you’ll see reasons for optimism.  The fact remains that we’ve won once in three months and that other corpses around us are stirring too.  This is still a big ask.  But if you were going to set up a great escape you could do worse than plan six of seven remaining home games being against teams in the bottom half.  Not to mention the next two games being against opponents in the same sort of precarious introspection that we found Villa in today.  That guarantees nothing.

12th February 2022- Premier League, Watford 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 2

Attendance: 20,795

BBC Sport: Roy Hodgson says his Watford side “will need a lot of mental strength” to secure Premier League survival this season after Brighton inflicted further misery on the relegation-threatened Hornets at Vicarage Road.

Sky Sports: Watford only managed their first shot on target in the 88th minute and are deep in the relegation mire. They remain in 19th with Burnley and Newcastle yet to play this weekend.

The Guardian: A match that started with the stands reverberating to cheers as Roy Hodgson was introduced as Watford’s latest manager ended with a sixth successive home defeat and to the sound of away fans singing about him getting sacked in the morning.

BHappy: A miserable first half saw us obstruct Brighton up to a point….  Samir impressed in the backline, doggedly getting a foot in, revelling in challenges.  But we didn’t obstruct enough to prevent those chances… Moder forced a good save from Foster, then put in a cross for Gross to head wide unchallenged;  Maupay shot from long range in too much space, Foster saved comfortably; Dunk headed over unchallenged from a deep corner.  Whether Maupay’s looping shot was quite what he intended or otherwise we had allowed Brighton enough bites not to be able to complain when they got lucky.  This wasn’t Bowen at West Ham.

Fran’s Watford Blog: The match had been designated as Trust Awareness Day and the half time guest on the pitch was Ann Swanson, who has agreed to be a Patron of the newly re-launched Junior Hornets.  For those who were fans of the Hornets in the 80s, even those who were too old for the Junior Hornets at that point, Ann is remembered as a Watford legend.  She was the driving force behind the organisation of the Family Enclosure and Family Terrace as well as the Junior Hornets trips to away games.  At that time, there was a lot of violence attached to football and many people avoided going to games for that reason.  Ann, in collaboration with GT, made Vicarage Road a safe place to visit and encouraged families to attend.  Many of the young fans that attended games in those days still remember her with great fondness and they are now bringing their own children to games.  Ann said that she will be travelling to Southampton with a group of Junior Hornets, just like old times.  At the end of the interview with Tim, he told her (and us) that the Family Stand would now be known as the Ann Swanson Family Stand.  She was visibly moved and quite emotional about it, as was I.  I don’t think that there was a dry eye in the place.

8th February 2022- Premier League, West Ham United 1 Watford 0

This game took place in the wake of the release of a video showing West Ham’s Kurt Zouma kicking a cat. There were calls for him to be dropped for the game which were ignored by Hammers boss David Moyes. Zouma was eventually sentenced to 180 community service and banned from keeping cats for 5 years. His cats were rehomed by the RSPCA.

Attendance: 59,581

BBC Sport: West Ham climbed back into the Premier League’s top four with a narrow victory over Roy Hodgson’s Watford, as Kurt Zouma controversially started for the home side.

Sky Sports: Bowen netted the winner for the Hammers on 68 minutes when his speculative effort from range deflected past a helpless Ben Foster. It was tough on Watford, who looked set for a second clean sheet in a row under Roy Hodgson in a much improved defensive showing.

The Guardian: There was, though, a much-needed reminder of football’s heart with West Ham paying tribute to seven-year-old Isla Caton who tragically passed away recently following a five-year battle with neuroblastoma. A moving message from her mother, Nikki, lit up the big screens pre-match and a pair of warmly observed minutes’ applause followed.

Fran’s Watford Blog: The game kicked off and the first thing to note was the boos (mostly from the away end) every time that Zouma got the ball.  On 7 minutes the mood changed as Isla’s picture appeared on the big screen and everyone in the ground stood and applauded.

5th February 2022- Premier League, Burnley 0 Watford 0

The game was scheduled to be played on 15th December but was postponed after a covid outbreak in the Watford squad. It was re-arranged for the 18th January but was postponed again because of an outbreak affecting Burnley. As both sides were already out of the FA Cup it was eventually played on the day when the majority of 4th Round ties were held but had the slightly odd kick off time of 6pm.

Attendance: 19,527

BBC Sport: Roy Hodgson said his return to the Premier League as Watford manager was a “baptism of fire” after his side secured a point in his first game at bottom side Burnley.

Sky Sports: With defences – or the weather – ultimately coming out on top, Watford kept their first clean sheet in 30 Premier League games since a famous 3-0 win against Liverpool in February 2020. Burnley have now kept a clean sheet in each of their last four league games against the Hornets.

BHappy: The match itself is carnage.  The extraordinary wind is urgent but directionless – we realise at one point that the corner flags are almost horizontal, but pointing in a variety of different directions.  The game itself follows the same pattern with everything – ball, players, officials, tumbling haphazardly around the pitch as if the whole surface is tipping. At times it resembles Flash Gordon’s confrontation with Prince Barin more than a football match…  I’ve not read any reports, but I’d imagine that “low on quality” features prominently, and that those watching on TV, certainly those uninvested, would have been reaching for the remote control as quickly as Prince Vultan.  In the stadium, fuelled by the wind and the rain and the frantic urgency it’s utterly brilliant, and Daughter 1 – in between sassing at the comments behind us (“yeah, sure, like he could do better”) – is rapt throughout.

Fran’s Watford Blog: Following the Norwich debacle, the departure of Ranieri had been unsurprising, but I don’t think any of us were expecting him to be replaced by Roy Hodgson.  As soon as his name was mentioned, I was thrilled at the thought that Ray Lew would be returning.  The media appearances since Roy’s arrival have been very positive.  I was particularly impressed to hear that he has been speaking to the players in their own languages, including Ken Sema, although “he speaks better English than I do.”