Category: September

26th September 2020- Championship, Watford 1 Luton Town 0

The 14 year gap since our last meeting is the longest since we started playing each other in 1885.

Statement: Watford v Luton Town

Match Pack: Watford v Luton Town

Foster: “This Is A Big Deal”

Watford Observer Watford tell fans to stay at home for Luton Town derby

Watford board up Graham Taylor statue ahead of Luton Town game

Ben Foster wants Watford ready for Luton Town derby

Vladimir Ivic wants Watford to beat Luton Town for the fans

Ben Foster claims fans were taken for granted ahead of Watford Luton derby

https://www.skysports.com/football/watford-vs-luton/teams/429739
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Whatever career João Pedro goes on to have, and the signs are it will be a damn good one, he is assured of his place in Watford folklore and a place in the hearts of Watford fans after emerging as the winner in the long-awaited derby.

Watford victorious against Luton Town in the Championship

The Brazilian, who turned 19 today, capitalised after good work on the left flank from Ken Sema, his finish deflected past Luton keeper Simon Sluga, who was called upon to make some more good saves on a day when the hosts should have scored more.

Vladimir Ivic thinks Watford’s performance in their derby day win over Luton Town was their best yet since he joined the club, but hopes there is more improvement to come.

Watford players rated after Luton Town victory

The fixture between keen rivals had not been played since April 2006 but although the match was played behind closed doors, police still insisted on a 12.30pm kick-off. As a result, there was little resembling a derby atmosphere in a cold and biting wind and Luton, in particular, struggled to raise their game against a Watford side whose recent Premier League pedigree gave them a decided edge.

The Hatters really ought to have led when Collins could not keep his shot down from six yards from Harry Cornick’s cross, and Pedro punished them – albeit with the help of a deflection off defender Sonny Bradley on its way in.

Whilst we were on top it would be wrong to paint this as a completely one-sided contest. The visitors were the strongest side we’ve faced thus far, defended well for the most part, desperately on occasions but doggedly enough to stay in it and always looked dangerous on the break where their attacks were neat and tidy.  Harry Cornick was the biggest threat in the first half, too often finding space down the right.  His ball across was smacked off the underside of the bar by Collins with Foster doing well to come out and force the Luton striker to lift the ball.  That goes in it’s a different game;  as it was we broke and scored, and never really looked back.

Jon, Mike and Jas gather after the game to discuss what turned out to be a fairly routine win for the a Hornets, with Vladimir Ivić starting to have a real impact at Vicarage Road.

19th September 2020- Championship, Sheffield Wednesday 0 Watford 0

Post Match

It may be a few weeks before we see this new-look Hornets side at its fluent best, but they have picked up the very useful habit of racking up points while being in transition.

Watford play out goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday

Ivic made one change to the team that beat Middlesbrough on the opening day of the season, with Glenn Murray replacing the unwell Kiko Femenia and Ken Sema dropping into the left-back position.

Vladimir Ivic happy with Watford’s clean sheet at Sheffield Wednesday

Watford players rated after draw against Sheffield Wednesday

The Owls got on top in the first half against their sloppy opponents but were unable to make their dominance count, with Tom Lees coming closest to breaking the deadlock when his unmarked header grazed the post.

Watford came on strong in the final half hour but Owls keeper Cameron Dawson made a pair of fine low saves to thwart Stipe Perica and Tom Cleverley.

So what have we learned?  Hardly news given Ivić’s reported stylistic preferences but we look an awful lot better at stopping the other lot than scoring ourselves.  But for our marking at set pieces we looked pretty impenetrable today, as you’d hope from that extremely proficient back three with Cleverley and Chalobah sitting in front of them.  Chalobah, as an aside, is becoming a candidate for that all-but-forgotten mantle of boo-boy, a role largely unoccupied for a decade or so but was excellent today, strong defending and effective supporting attacks.  Better.  All that’s stopping him dominating football games at this level is a need for a bit more assertiveness.

Hear the boys dissect Watford’s stalemate in Sheffield, which ended up being the classic game of two halves. The Athletic’s Watford correspondent Adam Leventhal joined Jon, Mike and Jason before and after the game to talk everything from transfers to tactics, as Vladimir Ivić continues to shape his Watford side.

15th September 2020- League Cup Second Round, Oxford United 1 Watford 1 (Watford won 3-0 on penalties)

The programme was only an online publication
https://www.skysports.com/football/oxford-utd-vs-watford/435931
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Daniel Bachmann was the hero as Watford left it late to knock out Oxford United on penalties in a dramatic Carabao Cup tie at Oxford United.

Bachmann: “I’ve Never Experienced Something Like That!”

Watford beat Oxford United in the Carabao Cup on penalties

The goalkeeper saved all three of United’s spot kicks, while the Hornets scored all of theirs to send the visitors through with a 3-0 scoreline in the shootout after clawing the game back from the brink of defeat.

Daniel Bachmann praised by Watford coach Vladimir Ivic

Watford players rated after penalty win over Oxford United

Watford’s Daniel Bachmann insists penalty heroics at Oxford United were ‘instinct’

Rob Hall’s 20-yard strike after good work from Joel Cooper gave League One Oxford the lead and they were seconds away from seeing out the win. But Ken Sema sent the game to penalties when he scored into an empty net after receiving Joao Pedro’s scuffed shot.

Some might question the wisdom of forking out a tenner for a stream to watch a single-camera view of the early stages of the League Cup.  Those same people would probably leave early at the end of a 6-0 pasting, or opt against long drives across the country to watch irrelevant end of season dead-rubbers in the rain.  This is a fundamental part of the process.  To skip it would be like skipping puberty.

2 games, 2 wins. Just! Daniel Bachmann was the hero as Watford snuck past Oxford Utd in the Carabao Cup and you can hear all about it in the brand new episode of From the Rookery End!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020%E2%80%9321_EFL_Cup

11th September 2020- Championship, Watford 1 Middlesbrough 0

https://www.skysports.com/football/watford-vs-mboro/teams/42971
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The Hornets reacquainted themselves with the Championship after a five-year absence with the sort of gritty win you need to chisel out regularly if you are going to have a real crack at navigating a way out of this notoriously difficult division.

RELIVE: Hornets beat Boro in Championship opener

There was always going to be a new look as Watford set out on life back in the second tier, but it’s fair to say the team didn’t have quite the look most fans would have hoped for.

Vladimir Ivic wants Watford to improve after scrappy Middlesbrough win

Watford players rated after beating Middlesbrough

Craig Cathcart claims scrappy Middlesbrough win will boost Watford

Defender Craig Cathcart scored the winner after 11 minutes, heading past Boro goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Boro’s Britt Assombalonga came close to levelling the scores on several occasions and the visitors’ best opening came when the frontman’s curling free-kick was tipped over the bar by Hornets ‘keeper Ben Foster.

Whether Ivic can maintain the momentum rests largely on which players are sold before the transfer deadline, with Deeney and Welbeck reportedly close to joining Premier League clubs. But in young, hungry players such as Pedro and Jeremy Ngakia – making his debut at right-back following his move from West Ham – coupled with old hands such as Foster, Murray and the match-winner Cathcart, he will be hopeful of a successful first campaign in English football.

The official justifications for our many, many absences – 17, reportedly… that it’s hard to keep track tells you everything – range from injured to ill to unfit, often vague and understandably so.  There’s injured and there’s “injured”, one suspects. Twitter rumour claims that Craig Dawson has refused to play, which if true given his miserable half-arsed effort against Spurs is comparable to Andy Cole’s notorious retirement from international duty.

5th September 2020- Friendly, Watford 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

With Championship football kicking off at Vicarage Road on Friday night and the Hornets looking to mount a promotion push, Vladimir Ivić’s side showed they still have some Premier League quality about them with a convincing win against Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road.

Post Match

Wilmot: “We Needed A Test Like That”

Spurs Website: Heung-Min Son’s late penalty wasn’t enough as we suffered a 2-1 defeat at Watford in our final match of pre-season on Saturday afternoon.

No, not a full-strength Spurs, yes, a pre-season friendly and no, I’ve not spent too long dwelling on the detail.  It’s a pre-season friendly after all, and if you cared you probably watched it yourself.  But we beat Spurs, with a thing that has fun bits and gnarly bits and sparkly bits but is fundamentally a thing that isn’t fully formed yet.