Before the game it was announced that Rob Edwards, who had just secured promotion to League One with Forest Green Rovers would become our new Head Coach at the end of the season.
Sky Sports: Forest Green chairman Dale Vince accused Watford of “doubling down on deceit” after Edwards left the club earlier on Wednesday; Watford say Edwards “had a contractual provision allowing him to leave Forest Green Rovers at any time to discuss employment opportunities at other clubs”
The Guardian: Edwards is to take over from Roy Hodgson, who will leave at the end of this season. The selection of the 39-year-old former Wales defender marks a significant change in the type of appointment typically made by Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family. He becomes the club’s ninth permanent manager in five years.
Sky Sports: Chances were at a premium with Ben Foster’s fine save to deny Richarlison in the second period the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock – but Leeds’ 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea edges Everton further away from the danger zone.
The Guardian: After a turgid first half, the most likely source of a goal seemed to come from Watford’s João Pedro, who, like Richarlison, joined the club from Fluminense but has yet to make quite the same impact. Pickford was off his line quickly to beat the lively Brazilian forward to a long through ball a few minutes after the restart. Richarlison then called Ben Foster into serious action for the first time when his goalbound shot deflected off Christian Kabasele.
BHappy: There’s a stoicism about our play. Not much more than stoicism, admittedly, but let’s be realistic… we’ve been falling quickly and any kind of foothold, anything to stay the momentum is welcome. On WhatsApp, my co-editor asks why the League Cup first round is being played in May – and there’s something of that annual landmark’s curiosity about the return to view of some fringe players. Former Evertonian Dan Gosling – whose ability to time runs into the box must surely owe something to having spent two years playing with Tim Cahill – does an inconspicuously disciplined job… scrapping, scraping, getting a foot in. For someone who’s not played all season he’s straight back on his game. So too is Jeremy Ngakia, who is bold and assertive while Samuel Kalu is far more convincing than during his most recent cameo at Molineux. The world doesn’t collapse. We’re doing OK. It is, however, a monumentally terrible game. Quite epically banal stuff, the 1970s supermarket own brand corn flakes of Premier League football. If you’re here for entertainment you’re going to be sorely disappointed
Fran’s Watford Blog: At this point the 1881 had started singing, “We’ve got the ball/We’ve lost the ball”, the latter being a bit on the negative side for me until they followed it up with “We’ll win it back” and, suddenly, everyone joined in and there was a really fun atmosphere. This song went on for about 15-20 minutes. The visitors continued to attack as Gordon tried a shot from distance, but it was an easy catch for Foster. Then a cross from Richarlison bounced off Kalu and into the air, coming down into Foster’s arms. Gordon won a free kick, which he took himself, but his effort was straight at Foster. Lampard made a second substitution replacing Delph with Allan. Doucouré really should have done better after receiving a pass from Iwobi in a dangerous position, but he hit a very soft shot straight at Foster. I must say that it was the first time that I noticed he was playing. Hodgson made his first change bringing Cathcart on for Kalu, who was exhausted. The visitors threatened yet again as Mykolenko got himself into space, but his shot was straight at Foster. The next Watford change involved a surprise appearance by Etebo, “back from injury”, who came on in place of Kayembe. In time added on, the Hornets won a corner which was taken by Sema whose delivery was met by the head of Kabasele, but Pickford was equal to it. Kabasele was then in action at the other end blocking a cross from Gordon. That was the last action of note, so the game ended goalless.
The wonderful football cartoonist David Squires featured Roy’s return in his weekly Guardian strip.
Sky Sports: Ranieri has failed to turn around the team’s fortunes since being appointed in October, with the Hornets dropping into the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season after Friday’s 3-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Norwich.
Watford Observer: The embarrassing loss was the final straw for club chiefs, who had become increasingly concerned about the Italian’s record, which ends with just two wins and a draw from 14 games in all competitions.