Category: August

31st August 2019- Premier League, Newcastle United 1 Watford 1

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Newcastle United 1 – 1 Watford

Watford get first league point away at Newcastle United

Watford earn their first points of the new season with a draw at Newcastle United

Javi Gracia wants to build on Watford draw against Newcastle United

Javi Gracia thinks all of Watford’s players deserve to play more

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

Will Hughes thinks Watford could have got more from draw at Newcastle United

Watford earned their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle after an end-to-end contest at St James’ Park.

After a barren start to the season in which his side had conceded seven times, Watford manager Javi Gracia adjusted both the shape and personnel of the team for their trip to the north east.

Despite Newcastle’s encouraging, if unexpected, win at Tottenham last Sunday, the crowd of 44,157 was the lowest for a Premier League fixture at St James’ Park in seven years. Those that turned up saw Gracia enjoy the sort of morale-boosting start his side so desperately needed in the wake of three straight defeats. After two minutes Tom Cleverley’s 20-yard shot was deflected into the path of Will Hughes, who delighted in beating Martin Dubravka from close range.

It felt like hard work for all concerned. Two functional teams struggling to find their rhythm, delivering a contest so littered with mistakes you had to remind yourself it was a Premier League match.

Gracia finally made a double substitution with 20 minutes to go, and it was not the change that the crowd had been calling for as Doucouré made way for Chalobah and Success replaced Hughes.  I have to admit that even I booed the removal of Hughes who had been the best player on the pitch.  Will left the field on the side opposite the dugout, so walked in front of the away fans and his name was sung with some gusto.  Success showed his worth to us naysayers as he received a ball over the top and put in a low cross for Gray, but it was intercepted.  Not satisfied with the changes so far, the away fans were chanting for Deulofeu to make an appearance.

This week Jon is on the phone to Colin, who made the trip up to Tyneside and up the 14 flights of stairs to the away section at St James Park. Colin gives his views on the teams performance as well as the individuals who got the Hornets their first Premier League point of the season.

27th August 2019- League Cup Second Round, Watford 3 Coventry City 0

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3-0

Watford 3 – 0 Coventry City

Watford beat Coventry City in the second round of the Carabao Cup

Ismaila Sarr helps Watford beat Coventry City in Carabao Cup

Javi Gracia was not surprised by the quality of Watford’s goals against Coventry City

Watford players rated after their Carabao Cup win over Coventry City

Tom Dele-Bashiru insists the Watford players are firmly behind head coach Javi Gracia

Club record signing Ismaila Sarr marked his first Watford start with a goal to help the Premier League’s bottom club overcome League One Coventry in the Carabao Cup second round.

 If there’s something fundamentally wrong at the club then it clearly hasn’t extended to this lot, who made up for a little rawness and rustiness with a performance of refreshing positivity.

Coventry had been given the whole end and their fans had come in droves, which was great to see.

The first win for the Golden Boys this season and oh how good it felt. Jon, Jason and Mike gathered to discuss it, the players who shone, and played for a starting place in the first team, and those who got some minutes under their belts. They also discuss the blame game and who should we point the finger at for the poor start to the season and the poor end to last season as well.

24th August 2019- Premier League, Watford 1 West Ham United 3

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Watford 1 – 3 West Ham United

Winless Watford face West Ham United in the Premier League

West Ham United send Watford to third straight defeat at start of season

Watford vs West Ham United: Javi Gracia left to rue shortcomings at both ends

Watford players rated after home defeat to West Ham United

A selection of images from Watford’s defeat to West Ham United

Tom Cleverley wants Watford players to hold themselves accountable after West Ham United defeat

Andre Gray wants Watford to forget last season and move on

The Hornets shot themselves in the foot inside two minutes when Abdoulaye Doucoure caught Manuel Lanzini in the box, and Mark Noble stepped up to slot home from the spot on his 350th Premier League appearance.

But Watford responded to level with a well-worked Andre Gray goal, with the forward drilling home a right-foot shot from Will Hughes’ pass. However, the Hornets were punished for their wastefulness in front of goal with just three of their 23 shots finding the target.

Only Hughes will know how he did not improve that ratio when, in the 55th minute, he met Gray’s fizzed centre at the far post after the striker had skipped around Lukasz Fabianski. It was a sitter but, perhaps seeing the ball late, Hughes turned it wide from a matter of inches.

Reprieved, West Ham recovered some of the momentum they had at the start of the game and quickly punished the hosts for their failures in front of goal when Haller restored the Hammers’ lead in the 64th minute, turning home Felipe Anderson’s low cross. Haller’s second then came eight minutes later after Michail Antonio met Lanzini’s corner with a header that Ben Foster tipped onto the bar with the French striker reacting well to head home the rebound from close range.

We’ve played indisputably the best football we’ve played this season, and we’ve lost by two clear goals.  For the first time since promotion, we’re in trouble.

The post-match mood was sombre.  As last week against Everton, we faced a team that we could and should have beaten, but we were undone by our lack of clinical finishing and the generosity of our defence.  Dawson is getting a lot of criticism, but he was left exposed by Femenía who certainly adds to our attacking options but is so often missing in defence.  I was encouraged by a lot of the forward play but, too often, the players wait for the perfect sight of goal and end up losing out to a defender.

Not Jumping off the deep end

17th August 2019- Premier League, Everton 1 Watford 0

Referee: Lee Mason
Attendance: 39,066

Everton 1 – 0 Watford

Watford lose poor match against Everton in first away game of the season

Early Bernard goal enough gives Everton victory over Watford

Everton vs Watford: Javi Gracia felt a ‘good performance’ deserved more

Watford players rated after another winless trip to Everton

Watford head coach Javi Gracia: ‘I don’t know when it’s a penalty or not’

Gerard Deulofeu feels Watford deserved something from their game against Everton

A selection of images from Watford’s defeat at Everton

Watford boss Javi Gracia pleased for Danny Welbeck after striker’s return to action

Bernard’s first Premier League goal of the season helped Everton edge a 1-0 win over Watford in a tight contest at Goodison Park. The Brazilian’s deflected strike into the bottom corner in the first half (10) proved the difference in the swirling conditions on Merseyside, but the visitors came close when Craig Dawson’s header hit the woodwork midway through the first half. Richarlison squandered two great chances to score for Everton. Despite Watford’s sporadic efforts to equalise, including Troy Deeney’s strike which forced a brilliant save from Jordan Pickford, the hosts held on for their first win of the season.

The Hornets are on a poor run having won just one of their last eight league matches, and have yet to score in this campaign.

Moise Kean, a late substitute, missed two chances to secure victory for Everton, but Watford were the stronger unit throughout the second half. Keane and Mina proved immovable obstacles and the visitors, despite showing a vast improvement on last week’s performance against Brighton, departed empty handed once again.

Deulofeu impressed most for Watford, albeit – rather like the whole team – the threat sometimes exceeds the end product. When Deulofeu sent Troy Deeney through on 57 minutes it forced Pickford into a brave save to keep the score level.

It should be clear to all who indulge in such things that the First Home Game Of The Season and The First Away Game Of The Season are distinctly special things. The First Game Of The Season has a lustre of its own, of course, but above and beyond that there’s something special about returning to the Vic and something equally special about hitting the road again.

Everton had placed flags at each seat in the home stands which were to be waved as the players emerged from the tunnel.  It has to be said that they were not a patch on the flags at Vicarage Road.  Maybe we were unlucky with our positioning, but we were surrounded by some of the worst of our fan base and started the game with our ears being assaulted by an abusive song aimed at Silva.  Now I have no love at all for the man, but he won’t give a damn what we think about him (that was obvious when he left), neither will the Everton fans, so chanting abuse at him is totally futile and detracts from supporting our own team.

Goodison Park has never been a happy hunting ground for Watford, and this week wasn’t again!! In this pod, Jon, Mike and Jason gathered to talk about the issues in the Rookery during the Brighton game, talk to Matt Rowson about the disappointing, yet better performance, and then look into the rest of this season.

10th August 2019- Premier League, Watford 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 3

Referee: Craig Pawson
Attendance: 20,245

Watford 0 – 3 Brighton and Hove Albion

Watford beaten comfortably by Brighton and Hove Albion on the opening day of the 2019/20 season

Poor Watford slump to Brighton & Hove Albion defeat

No excuses from Javi Gracia following Watford’s defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion

Watford players rated after sloppy defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion

A selection of images from Watford’s defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion

Craig Cathcart labels Watford’s defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion as a wake up call

New Brighton manager Graham Potter said his side’s winning start to the Premier League season was a “dream” as the Seagulls put three past a stunned Watford.

Watford – well below their usual standards – had no answers as Potter’s second-half substitutes Florin Andone (65) and new signing Neal Maupay (77) netted in what was a very comfortable opening day success.

If Brighton were not flawless, then Watford barely got anything right. They could not blame the swirling winds, which if anything should have played greater havoc with Brighton’s possession-based approach. After a brisk start they became maddeningly imprecise and it was no shock when they fell behind.

Watford manager Javi Gracia said: “Maybe it was a good wake-up call for the rest of the season because we have time to improve. We are disappointed today but I prefer to wait and trust that we can do better in the second game. We have time to analyse and improve. They played much better than us. And when we realised we had to play better, it was too late.”​

The ground, as is becoming traditional, looks ever smarter after a summer’s work – seats in the Rookery/SEJ corner now, and big screens mounted high on the roof of the stand at each end of the pitch.  New signings Sarr and “England international” Welbeck are presented to the crowd and hysterically received, the former making his way slowly across the pitch without breaking his applause to the stands.  There are new montages on the screens, and then Z-Cars chimes in back in it’s traditional place and the cheer as the teams enter is peppered with grins and high fives and a particularly guttural roar.  Fair play to the club for being honest and brave enough to reverse a bad decision.

The final whistle went to boos from the Watford faithful and, while the Brighton players spent some time celebrating with their fans, the Watford players disappeared pretty quickly.  But, fair play to Deeney, he did his usual lap of the pitch to applaud the fans in each stand and, despite the anger and disappointment in the crowd, he was warmly applauded for it.

Not the start of the season we dreamt of, especially after an exciting week in the transfer window. Jon, Jason and Colin start the podcast to discuss the recent transfer business, Jon shares what his Thursday was like then Jon and Jason try to figure out where the Brighton game went wrong. Finally, Mike pops by to discuss the clubs scheme to Keep the Vic Full and head to the Z-Cars Derby and seeing the snake again.