Category: December

28th December 2019- Premier League, Watford 3 Aston Villa 0

1-0
2-0
3-0

Match Report: Watford 3-0 Aston Villa

Pearson: “They Showed An Incredible Unity”

Extended Highlights: Watford 3-0 Aston Villa

Deeney: “The Atmosphere Has Gone Through The Roof”

Mahon: “They Look More Organised And Compact”

Relive our coverage of Watford’s victory over Aston Villa

Troy Deeney scores twice as Watford beat Aston Villa

Nigel Pearson praises Watford’s ‘incredible unity’ following sending off to beat Aston Villa

Nigel Pearson praises Watford skipper Troy Deeney following Aston Villa brace

RATINGS: How we scored the Watford players in Aston Villa victory

Images from Watford’s victory over Aston Villa to boost their survival chances

Watford’s revival under new manager Nigel Pearson continued as the Hornets survived being reduced to 10 men to beat relegation rivals Aston Villa 3-0 and move within three points of safety.

Hornets’ ‘incredible unity’ pleases Pearson

Despite Adrian Mariappa’s red card with more than half an hour remaining, Watford added to the one-goal lead they held at that point with a Deeney penalty and Ismaila Sarr’s second goal in three games sealing a vital victory for Nigel Pearson’s resurgent side, to pull them back within two points of 18th-placed Villa.

The hosts dominated during the opening exchanges and, despite a brief rally from Villa, it remained that way for much of the first half – though Ben Foster had to be alert in the 25th minute, diverting Wesley’s downward header over the crossbar after Conor Hourihane’s smart cross. Minutes later Wesley appealed for a penalty after a clash with Craig Cathcart, but VAR ruled that no foul had been committed.

Centre-back Ezri Konsa was at fault by allowing Deeney to charge down his clearance and Abdoulaye Doucoure’s shot was parried by the diving Heaton, but Watford’s number nine nipped in to slot the rebound through the goalkeeper and beyond a defender sliding over the line.

Targett, run ragged by Sarr all afternoon, goes down with a hamstring injury inside Villa’s half.  Villa continue their attack but are dispossessed;  Sarr bypasses his downed marker to release Deeney, who uses the prone Targett to stay onside.  Dean Smith is later to suggest that he’d hope his team would have played the ball out in reversed circumstances, but they’d had the chance to and not done so. More desperation from a lost manager. Troy thunders into the area before being felled by Luiz;  again, Smith is to claim shoulder to shoulder, suggesting once again that he doesn’t know his arse from his elbow since the clumsy barge is with the hip, not the shoulder.  It’s not a dirty challenge, it’s just rubbish.  There’s nothing tentative about Troy’s contribution this time.

The nerves were properly calmed on 70 minutes when Deeney released Capoue who played a gorgeous cross for Sarr who sped into the box to meet it and shot past Heaton.  My heart sank when VAR was invoked for a possible foul in the build-up and I begged for that gorgeous goal not to be disallowed.  After an agonising wait, the referee pointed to the centre circle and I punched the air again.  On 72 minutes, GT’s face came up on the big screen adorned with both Watford and Villa badges and the great man’s name was sung with gusto as I wiped a tear from my eye.

26th December 2019- Premier League, Sheffield United 1 Watford 1

Referee: David Coote
Attendance: 30,222
1-0

Match Report: Sheffield United 1-1 Watford

Pearson: “We Showed Real Resilience”

Kabasele: “Everybody Is Involved In This Battle”

Extended Highlights

Watford off the bottom with draw at Sheffield United

Ben Foster saves help Watford draw with Sheffield United

Nigel Pearson praises Ben Foster after Watford draw with Sheffield United

Watford players rated after draw with Sheffield United

Images from Watford’s draw at Sheffield United

Nigel Pearson says he has renewed hope his Watford side can avoid relegation after they moved off the foot of the Premier League table with a draw at Sheffield United.

Pearson praises Hornets for ‘digging deep’ to earn draw

Blades couldn’t find final bit of quality – Wilder

Gerard Deulofeu had given Nigel Pearson’s newly-buoyed side a 27th-minute lead against the run of play, before Oliver Norwood’s spot-kick (36) restored deserved parity for the hosts.

Gerard Deulofeu’s first‑half strike was vital but the heroics of Foster at the other end were equally important. Foster’s form has been a rare highlight throughout a largely miserable season and fittingly his magnificent saves – the pick a sensational point-blank effort to deny John Fleck – ensured their upturn in form continued.

It says plenty about Sheffield United’s season that Watford will see this as a well earned point while Chris Wilder will view it as a chance missed, given that his team have occupied the European places in their fairytale campaign. 

Four days since Manchester United but a very different challenge… the two United’s might occupy similar areas of the table but there’s a world of difference between a vaunted side that’s less than the sum of its parts and a less glamorous opponent fully exploiting theirs, even if it leaves them in the same place.

22nd December 2019- Premier League, Watford 2 Manchester United 0

Referee: Lee Mason
Attendance: 21,488
1-0
2-0

Match Report: Watford 2-0 Man Utd

Pearson: “The Work Ethic Was Exceptional”

Hughes: “We Can’t Take Our Foot Off The Pedal”

Mariappa: “The Boys Are Putting Their Bodies On The Line”

Deeney: “We’ve Stopped Feeling Sorry For Ourselves”

Watford pick up first home win of the season against Manchester United

Watford beat Manchester United to claim first home league win of season

Nigel Pearson hails Watford’s work ethic in Manchester United victory

Nigel Pearson say he is “very confident” that his Watford team can avoid relegation from the Premier League after they collected just their second win of the season against Manchester United at Vicarage Road.

Watford needed win before Christmas – Pearson

We didn’t deserve to beat Watford – Solskjaer

David de Gea’s poor form lurched from bad to worse as his goalkeeping howler helped Watford secure a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Vicarage Road.

Five minutes of the second half had been played when Watford were presented with a free-kick by the right touchline. Will Hughes swung the set piece into the area and, following a flick-on, the ball landed at the feet of Sarr. He hit a shot and, as had been the case at Anfield, it was poorly executed on the part of the 21-year-old Senegalese. De Gea seemed set for an easy catch at his near post but instead the ball squirmed through the Spaniard’s hands like a bar of soap and dropped into the net.

Minute by minute

De Gea could do little about the second, scored by Deeney from the penalty spot just three minutes later. Again it was Sarr causing problems, surging between two United defenders before he was cleaned out by the sliding Wan-Bissaka. There could be no doubt about the decision and Deeney calmly struck his first goal of an injury-ravaged season.

The first half is tight and scruffy, and United get the better of the chances through Martial, who slips a shot wide, and Lingard, who is played through when a worryingly simple ball over the top peels us open.  His lob is too high.  Perhaps that was a break for Nige, the break that Quique didn’t get when Craig Dawson didn’t score his late header against Sheffield United.  But we look tough and emboldened and up for this, and if the lingering concern is that we still aren’t creating an awful lot then that kicking of opponents up in the air mentioned previously, abetted by a tolerant performance by Lee Mason, is providing entertainment value.

Six minutes into the second half and, suddenly, all was right with the world again.  A free kick from Hughes was met by Sarr who tried to hit the top corner, de Gea looked to have it covered, but the ball went through his hands and hit the net, sending the Rookery into raptures, apart from two rather gloomy blokes sitting just behind me.  The visitors had an immediate chance to break back, but the header from McTominay was straight at Ben Foster.  Instead, a foray by Sarr into the United box was stopped by Wan-Bissaka and the referee pointed to the spot.  It appeared to be a nailed-on penalty, but I was still holding my breath while the VAR check went on.  “Decision Penalty” had to be the best news of the afternoon.

West Ham United v Liverpool to be played at a later date due to Liverpool’s participation in the Club World Cup.

14th December 2019- Premier League, Liverpool 2 Watford 0

Referee: Andre Marriner
Attendance_ 53,311

Match Report: Liverpool 2-0 Watford

Pearson: “We Must Play With That Intensity Every Game”

Deulofeu: “The Results & Wins Will Come”

Hughes: “We Will Start Turning It Around”

League leaders Liverpool beat Watford at Anfield

Watford beaten by Liverpool despite improvement in Nigel Pearson’s first game

Nigel Pearson disappointed after Watford impress in Liverpool defeat

Watford players rated following defeat at Liverpool

Will Hughes calls on Watford to take chances after they paid the price for misses at Liverpool

Mohamed Salah’s superb double gave an under-par Liverpool a 2-0 victory over bottom side Watford to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.

Watford missed chances in both halves, while Liverpool’s Sadio Mane had a header ruled out for offside following a review by the video assistant referee (VAR).

This was far from a vintage display from the unbeaten leaders. They played within themselves and were flattered by the margin of victory delivered by two outstanding finishes from Mohamed Salah. Had Nigel Pearson inherited a player with even a hint of composure in front of goal then Watford would have given their new manager something more tangible from his first game than just an encouraging performance. The visitors created and squandered several excellent openings, with Ismaïla Sarr and Abdoulaye Doucouré the chief culprits.

As it happened…

Having periodically raged at the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Salah, Jurgen Klopp said afterwards that this had not been a bad day for his league leaders, just a difficult game. He was impressed with the way in which Nigel Pearson had organised his new players in the space of one week to close down the usual channels through which Liverpool like to pass the ball. Klopp also charitably suggested that the raw wind whipping around Anfield had contributed to a calamitous miskick from Ismail Sarr in front of the Kop in the first half.

It is strange to feel so positive after a defeat, but the performance had been very encouraging and we felt very unlucky to have lost.  Given the relative positions of the two teams at each end of the table, this game was much closer than it should have been and, but for the terrible finishing from the Hornets, this could have been an upset.

https://www.11v11.com/competitions/premier-league/2020/matches/

7th December 2019- Premier League, Watford 0 Crystal Palace 0

Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
20,070

Match Report: Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace

Mullins: “The Lads Gave Absolutely Everything”

Added Time: Capoue Reacts To Palace Draw

Capoue: “The Fans Were Incredible”

Relive our coverage of Watford’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace

Watford held to goalless stalemate by Crystal Palace

Mixed feelings for Hayden Mullins after Watford draw with Crystal Palace

Watford players rated in draw with Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson optimistic about Watford’s prospects under Nigel Pearson

The Premier League’s lowest-scoring teams Watford and Crystal Palace played out a disappointing goalless draw at Vicarage Road.

New head coach Nigel Pearson was watching from the stands as caretaker boss Hayden Mullins oversaw duties from the dugout for the second game running.

Pearson spoke to the Watford players in the dressing room before kick-off and the interim manager, Hayden Mullins, admitted his leadership qualities were evident immediately. “That’s one of the reasons why the club have appointed him because they know that about him, they know his pedigree, he’s a top manager and he’s got a good group of players to work with,” he said

Flores’s exit and a 4-3-3 formation did not liberate them as they shuffled and jabbed at the opposition while again failing to find a knockout blow.

There’s a “new broom” air about the place which didn’t really come when Quique returned, partly because he was an old broom in any case and partly because we were still reconciling ourselves to the knowledge that we needed a new broom at all.  The new broom himself passes in front of the Rookery before kick-off en route from the Black Seats in the Upper GT to being presented to the crowd in front of the SEJ stand.  He looks less like the formidable, intimidating ex-centre back of our mind’s eye than he does an accountant… smart suit, specs, and smaller somehow than he should be?  Either way, looking convincing whilst being introduced to the crowd will only take him so far in the job he’s taken on but he does this compellingly enough – I’m cheaply bought, and a raise of both fists to the Rookery with gritted teeth is more than enough.  Good luck to him.

As it was Watford’s “Rainbow Laces” match, there was a rainbow carpet welcoming all to the Hornet shop and there were Premier League representatives handing out laces to passing fans.