BHappy: The other eye-catching addition to the eleven was Andre Gray, starting his first game for almost a month in the absence of the suspended João Pedro. Not a given that he’d get the nod I don’t think, but fourteen minutes in he made a mockery of his meagre form this season by clinically finishing off a move that, like so many, rolled down the right wing via Kiko and the irrepressible Sarr. No surprise, I guess, that a striker should enjoy playing in a confident attacking side creating plenty of chances more than he does the constipated Watford team that he struggled in front of for much of the season, but nonetheless. Surprising how easy he made it look, suddenly. In common with our best moves at the moment, particularly down that flank, we looked mercilessly precise.
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.
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.
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.
clips of Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary Goals: 1
Not 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.
Troy 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.
Six 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.”
But 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.
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.