Category: March

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.

27th February 2019- Premier League, Liverpool 5 Watford 0

Referee:
Graham Scott
Attendance:
53,316

Match Report: Liverpool 5-0 Watford

Gracia: “We Have To Keep Confidence In Ourselves”

Watford thrashed away at Premier League leaders Liverpool

Liverpool beat Watford by five goals at Anfield in the Premier League

Watford head coach Javi Gracia has defended his team after their five goal defeat against Liverpool

Watford players’ individual ratings following their difficult away day in Liverpool

Watford head coach Javi Gracia wants his side to accept responsibility for Liverpool defeat

Jurgen Klopp feels Liverpool proved some doubters wrong after they turned on the style to crush Watford at Anfield and stay top of the Premier League.

Watford had conceded 11 goals on their previous two visits to Anfield and they were soon facing an uphill task again as Mane netted twice inside the opening 20 minutes.

Fear stalked the Watford defence each time Salah received the ball in space, a lesson they failed to heed from United’s approach at Old Trafford. The paucity of the visitors’ attacking display was summed up by Javi Gracia withdrawing both of his forwards, Troy Deeney and the erratic Gerard Deulofeu, in a double substitution.

In many respects, Watford did well to keep it to three before the last ten minutes when the situation finally became critical, two crosses delivered into the box – one each from the two full-backs – and both headed past Ben Foster by Virgil Van Dijk.

Whilst the five goals was disappointing, what was really frustrating was the number of Liverpool fans in the away end at Anfield. I was on a mission to point them out.

31st March 2018- Premier League, Watford 2 AFC Bournemouth 2

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-23-36-22clips of Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals: 1   2

Watford Observer

RELIVE – Watford vs AFC Bournemouth: Late Jermaine Defoe goal sees Premier League points shared

Watford let lead slip twice as Bournemouth snatch late draw

Javi Gracia reflects after Watford drop two points in Bournemouth draw

Javi Gracia pleased his options are increasing as Watford’s injury list lessens

Player ratings: Jose Holebas the villain as Will Hughes and Kiko Femenia impress against AFC Bournemouth

GALLERY: A selection of images from Watford’s draw with Bournemouth

Watford vs AFC Bournemouth: Late Jermaine Defoe tough to take, says Craig Cathcart

Will Hughes: Late AFC Bournemouth leveller takes sheen off first Watford start since December

BBC SportBournemouth boss Eddie Howe praised veteran striker Jermain Defoe for his “huge” 92nd-minute equaliser that denied Watford victory at Vicarage Road.

skyWatford were hard done by but had only themselves to blame, having earlier blown Kiko Femenia’s 13th-minute opener when Jose Holebas needlessly handballed in the box, allowing Josh King to equalise from the spot (43).

TelegraphRoberto Pereyra put the home side back ahead and they protected that lead impressively until injury time, when they finally succumbed by failing to clear a free-kick and allowing the ball to bounce for Defoe. 

guardianLocked together in mid-table, both sides could reach the 40-point mark with victories on Saturday, when Watford are at home to Burnley and Bournemouth host struggling Crystal Palace.

BHappy imageThe cast list revealed a return to 4-2-3-1 and most significantly the much-discussed-amid-awkward-shuffles-of-the-feet benching of the long-since wrung-out Richarlíson with Will Hughes starting behind Troy.

FranNathan Aké started for the visitors, I know that I am not the only Watford fan who is still very disappointed that he didn’t sign for us instead.

The Hornets NestThere’s no denying that this one hurts and although we haven’t lost it certainly felt like it at the time.

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17th March 2018- Premier League, Liverpool 5 Watford 0

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Watford Observer

RELIVE – Liverpool vs Watford: Mohamed Salah hits four to condemn Hornets to 5-0 humbling

Mo Salah scores four as Watford thrashed at Liverpool

Watford boss questions Hornets’ passion and desire after Liverpool thrashing

Adrian Mariappa: Heavy Liverpool loss embarrassing for Watford

GALLERY: Mohamed Salah makes Watford suffer in Liverpool loss

Player ratings: Mohamed Salah makes Miguel Britos suffer as Liverpool hammer Watford

Miguel Britos: Watford defender sorry for fans after horror show against Mohamed Salah inspire Liverpool

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Lionel Messi have similar qualities, says Watford’s Javi Gracia

WATFORD OPINION: Hornets must make the most of home comforts after Liverpool hammering

BBC SportMohamed Salah scored four goals as Liverpool moved up to third in the Premier League table by thrashing Watford at Anfield.

skySalah struck twice in the first half and then twice again late in the game to secure his first Liverpool hat-trick and take his tally to 36 for the season in all competitions.

guardianWatford will have returned home last night wondering how they were on the end of such a sobering scoreline. They were by no means a shambles. Yet, in sport, ability generally finds a way of shining through and Salah’s class is so clearcut, so emphatic and so enjoyable that he is comfortably the Premier League’s most attractive sight at present.

TelegraphIt is hard to imagine, after this brutal dismantling, that the two sides had shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road back in August.

FranThere were some positives for the Hornets.  Karnezis, despite letting in five goals, put on a decent show.  But my highlight was a decent performance from Pereyra, who put together some lovely moves which cheered me up greatly on a day when there were few moments of joy.  He seems to shine against more talented opposition as he clearly feels that he is less likely to be clattered.

The Hornets NestWhilst in the ground I obviously took a few obligatory selfies.  As I was taking them a very kind steward asked if I would like him to take a proper photo of me. What a kind gesture I thought and so I took him up on the offer.  I always get very anxious about other people taking a photo for me. It has to be done right and I can get a little bit picky about what needs to be in it and angles and stuff.

This steward however had a different idea.  Instead of taking a few dodgy ones where I’d have to be very British and say “they’re great, thanks very much” he in fact held the camera button on my phone down and put it into ‘burst’ mode and thus took 100 photos.

Yes, you read that right. 100 awkward photos of me at Anfield.

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11th March 2018- Premier League, Arsenal 3 Watford 0

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Watford Observer

RELIVE – Arsenal vs Watford: Troy Deeney misses penalty in Premier League loss

Watford: Troy Deeney backed to recover from Arsenal penalty miss by Kiko Femenia

Heurelho Gomes: Watford stopper dismisses personal reasons as answer for missing Arsenal game

Watford player ratings: Sebastian Prodl and Troy Deeney struggle in Arsenal loss

Arsenal looked to answer Troy Deeney’s cojones comments against Watford, says Rob Holding

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3rd March 2018- Premier League, Watford 1 West Bromwich Albion 0

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-23-36-22 clips of Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals:  1

Watford Observer

RELIVE – Watford vs West Bromwich Albion: Troy Deeney strikes to seal Premier League win

Troy Deeney goal the difference as Watford beat West Bromwich Albion

Javi Gracia reflects on the positives after Watford’s win over West Bromwich Albion

Watford vs West Bromwich Albion ratings: Adrian Mariappa impresses on his 250th start, while Troy Deeney and Will Hughes play important roles

GALLERY: A selection of images from Watford’s win against West Bromwich Albion

Troy Deeney: Watford captain plays ‘massive’ role at club, says Adrian Mariappa

Stefano Okaka: Watford striker feeling the love again after tough season, says Troy Deeney

skyTroy Deeney’s second-half goal deepened West Brom’s relegation woes and piled the pressure on Alan Pardew as Watford continued their resurgence with a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road.

guardianNot that the home supporters cared. Having roared with delight in response to a goal that lifts them up to ninth, they turned their attention to the opposition manager. It soon spread to the away end and all Pardew could do was stand motionless and look on. His suffering may soon be over.

BBC SportTroy Deeney profited from a West Brom mistake, as Grzegorz Krychowiak gave away the ball in midfield and Will Hughes played in the Watford captain, who coolly clipped the ball over Ben Foster in the 77th minute.

TelegraphSix points in two games have sent Watford into ninth, and all those fears of being dragged into the relegation zone have washed away since the arrival of Javi Gracia. “I think today we have many positives,” the Watford manager said. “One of them is Troy scored again. I am very happy with him.”

BHappy imageBut it was the arrival of Hughes that was the catalyst for the victory. As with Femenía’s return last week, the Spaniard missing ill today, it was gratifying that the transformative effect that injured players are inevitably imbued with in our mind’s eye had a basis in reality. Hughes announced himself with a resilient holding off of aggressive Albion attention, and then set about his nimble, clever, precise work from the right flank. It set a tone… Okaka was unlucky not to score, receiving Holebas’ cross, stepping across a challenge and slamming a low drive past Foster only to find Gibbs on the line.

FranMariappa was in action at both ends of the pitch, flicking on a corner that didn’t quite reach Deeney and then clearing Rondón’s cross after Capoue had lost out in midfield.

The Hornets Nest Another ugly 1-0 win at home, another clean sheet and another Deeney goal almost in the exact same minute. Great Scott! It was like someone had crammed the whole of Vicarage Road into a DeLorean and sent us on our way at 88mph back to last Saturday.

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