Watford edge Cardiff in five-goal thriller

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  • Deulofeu, Holebas, Quina score
  • 6th away defeat on spin for Cardiff
  • Watford up to ninth in the table
  • First win in seven for Watford

Watford beat Cardiff City 3-2 at Vicarage Road on Saturday, as the Hornets were in control of the game at 3-0 but then survived a late scare to secure all three points.

Superb goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Jose Holebas and Domingos Quina did the damage, while Cardiff’s Neil Etheridge also made a string of fine stops to keep the score down. But Junior Hoilett curled home a magnificent strike and then Bobby Reid made it 3-2 within a few moments, as Cardiff almost pulled off an incredible late comeback.

With the win Watford climbed to ninth in the table and have 24 points, while Cardiff remain on 14 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford started well and Deulofeu had an effort but Cardiff’s defense sat back to soak up the pressure.

The Hornets took the lead as Deulofeu danced past two tackles and slotted home to put the home side 1-0 up.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Cardiff threatened on the break every now and then with Josh Murphy surging down the left whenever he could, but Watford looked comfortable and they were only denied a second after a fine save from Neil Etheridge.

Roberto Pereyra was found on the left side of the box after good work from Deulofeu but his shot was deflected away by Etheridge. Cardiff’s goalkeeper then denied Pereyra superbly with a save from his free kick right on half time.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

At the start of the second half Pereyra was again denied by Etheridge as his side-footed shot was saved, but soon Watford did grab a well-deserved second.

Deulofeu cut in from the left and found Holebas on the edge of the box and the Greek defender curled home a stunner to double Watford’s lead.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Watford wrapped up the lead late on as Quina curled home with another fine finish as the Hornets continued their clinic of wonderful composure around the box. In the process the 19-year-old former West Ham midfielder became Watford’s youngest-ever Premier League goalscorer.

At the other end Hoilett headed just over and the Canadian winger then grabbed a superb goal, which looked like being a consolation, as he bent an effort into the far corner.

But two minutes later Reid tapped home after mayhem in the box following Sol Bamba’s miss to make it 3-2. The Bluebirds pushed hard to find an equalizer but Watford held on in a game of high drama.

FOLLOW LIVE: Southampton v. Derby County

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Southampton and Derby County chase the final spot in the fourth round proper of the 2018-19 FA Cup with a replay at St. Mary’s on Wednesday.

[ FOLLOW: FA Cup scoreboard ]

The clubs drew 2-2 at Pride Park on Jan. 5, with a Nathan Redmond 2-0 lead going to waste for the Premier League visitors.

The victor gets a trip to the Crown Ground to face League One’s Accrington Stanley on Jan. 26.

Full fourth round fixture list

Jan. 25
Arsenal v. Manchester United

Jan. 26
Accrington Stanley v. Derby County or Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v. West Bromwich Albion
Bristol City v. Bolton
Doncaster Rovers v. Oldham Athletic
Man City v. Burnley
Middlesbrough v. Newport County
Newcastle United v. Watford
Portsmouth v. Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City v. Gillingham
Shrewsbury Town v. Wolves
Millwall v. Everton
AFC Wimbledon v. West Ham United

Jan. 27
Crystal Palace v. Spurs
Chelsea v. Sheffield Wednesday

Jan. 28
Barnet v. Brentford

Leeds’ Bielsa admits he spied “all the rivals”; How widespread is spying?

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Managerial darling Marcelo Bielsa spoke out Wednesday as fallout continues from a Leeds United scout caught spying on Derby County last week.

Bielsa says he’s spied on every team the club has played in the Championship this season.

[ MORE: Neymar praises Weah ]

How rare is this? And how big of a role has it played in Leeds’ 4-point lead in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League? From the BBC:

“I observed all the rivals we played against and watched the training sessions of all opponents,” he said. “All the information I need to clarify, I gather it without watching the training session of the opponent, so why did I send someone to watch them? Just because I thought I wasn’t violating the norm. I gathered information that I can obtain in another way.

“We feel guilty if we don’t work enough, it [watching the opponents train] allows us to have less anxiety and in my case I am stupid enough to allow this kind of behavior.”

The 63-year-old Argentine has spent time at Lille, Lazio, Marseille, Athletic Bilbao, and Espanyol in addition to running the national teams of Argentina and Chile.

It does raise the question of how much spying is done in soccer. We know that the NFL’s New England Patriots cheated during a game against the New York Jets and that MLB teams try to steal signals, but sneaking around a training session… is that okay? Should it be?

55-goal Martinez re-ups with Atlanta through 2023

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Josef Martinez has signed a new deal with Atlanta United, with a contract tying him to the club through the 2023 Major League Soccer season.

Martinez, 25, has 55 goals in 61 games for the Five Stripes since arriving from Torino in 2017, a strike rate unlike anything the Venezuelan had been able to do in his career with the Serie A club, Young Boys, or Caracas.

[ MORE: Neymar praises Weah ]

That development has him happy to lock down a new Designated Player deal in Georgia, one that certainly would raise his transfer value. From AtlUtd.com:

“This means a lot to me because of the affection that the fans have shown me, that the fans show all of the players. It’s unique,” Martinez said. “They recognize the effort that you give and they know you did everything to win, and I think that’s why we love playing here. I have to thank everyone. My teammates, the city, my family and friends, because this is a dream I’ve always had. I’ve said before that I don’t want to go anywhere because this is my home. You can expect more work, more intensity, because that’s who I am. I want to win. I want to do everything for my teammates and for the city.”

With neither Newcastle nor Real Betis ready to meet Atlanta’s transfer fee for Miguel Almiron, the Five Stripes are in a bit of a bind with a reported deal for expected DP Pity Martinez despite having the league maximum three DPs in Martinez, Almiron, and Ezequiel Barco. Perhaps the European clubs are trying to force Atlanta’s hand.

Men In Blazers Podcast: De Gea heroics; Liverpool, Man City wins

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Rog and Davo applaud David De Gea‘s goalkeeping heroics in Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham. Plus, wins for Liverpool and City in the title race.

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