Andre Gray

Watford soars past miserable Bournemouth

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Abdoulaye Doucoure had a goal and an assist as Watford leapt out of the drop zone with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

Troy Deeney and Roberto Pereyra also scored and Ismaila Sarr was a constant threat for the Hornets.

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Watford has four wins inside of a five-match unbeaten run under Nigel Pearson and moves 17th with 22 points.

That’s two points better than the Cherries, who sit 19th with 20 points.


Three things we learned

1. Sarr shows what got him to Watford: Senegalese youngster Sarr has experienced in an uneven start to life in the Premier League, but there have been plenty of positives. Last season saw Sarr become a double-digit goal and assist man at Stade Rennais, earning a splashy move to the Hornets.

Sarr’s steal and terrific assist put Watford up 1-0, and he did the lion’s share of the lifting on the second. He entered the day with four goals and two assists in around 1000 minutes for Watford. At his best, Sarr is making himself a huge threat on the other side of Gerard Deulofeu (even if he looks dejected to come off in the 83rd minute).

2. Ice cold Wilson, snake bit Fraser killing Cherries: Callum Wilson had another rough outing to stretch a brutal run into mid-January. He finished a run of five goals in four Premier League matches on Sept. 28. His only goal or assist since that run came against Luton Town in the FA Cup last week. He had 15 and 10 last season.

Ryan Fraser is also struggling, though the effort and craft remain on display sans end product. Fraser was one of the few Cherries to show up on Sunday but has a goal and just three assists this season and nothing since Nov. 23. Last season? Eight and 15.

3. Deputy Travers gets no help : A minor injury suffered by 21-year-old Aaron Ramsdale led to an even younger starting goalkeeper for Bournemouth. Irish backstop Mark Travers got the call, his first PL match of the season after starting in all three of the Cherries’ cup outings. He kept a clean sheet against Spurs in his PL debut last season but then conceded five times in the season finale. It was more of the latter than the former in his two-save Sunday, as Travers gave the ball away a few touches before Watford’s opener.

Man of the Match: Doucoure, Sarr, Deeney, and Etienne Capoue were the standouts for Watford, and Doucoure was ready to go from Moment No. 1 to get our nod.


Ismaila Sarr raced down the right wing off a Bournemouth giveaway, but his touch put him out wide and his ball toward the back post was wide and absent receiver.

At the other end, a long Harry Wilson drive took two turns before Ben Foster recovered it to stifle the threat.

In-form Gerard Deulofeu forced a fine save out of young goalkeeper Mark Travers, who saw the ensuing corner nodded wide of the frame.

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Bournemouth had plenty of the play, but Watford went ahead through a Travers giveaway quickly turned into a goal by Sarr and Doucoure.

The game lifted a bit for the Cherries upon the introduction of Philip Billing and Lewis Cook, but Deeney shut it down with an arrow into the back of the net following incredible work from Sarr.

Deulofeu led a break that ended with a Travers save of a Deeney bounded shot.

The Hornets put it to bed when Andre Gray saw his shot cleared off the line and Pereyra settled the rebound and slotted home.

Watford, Crystal Palace play to feisty draw

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Watford and Crystal Palace played out a 0-0 draw a Vicarage Road on Saturday as the hosts squandered several chances to pick up their first home win of the season.

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Wilfried Zaha was involved in plenty of hefty of challenges, for and against, as Palace huffed and puffed but didn’t really get going in attack. Gerard Deulofeu and Ismaila Sarr both went close for Watford, who had new manager Nigel Pearson watching on from the stands.

With the point Watford remain bottom of the team and have nine points for the season, while Palace are in seventh place on 22 points.

3 things we learned

1. Pearson already having an impact: This was so much better from Watford. Similar to their narrow defeat at Leicester in midweek,  they looked compact and solid defensively and Deulofeu was a menace underneath Deeney. Pearson watched on from the directors box tentatively throughout, as caretaker Hayden Mullins oversaw a solid display which should have yielded three points.

2. Rattled Zaha targeted: Wilfried Zaha and Watford mean one thing: Fouls. Zaha was clearly targeted by the Hornets and he went down on several occasions all game long, but was booked for a foul of his own and to his disbelief his calls for fouls were often overlooked. There is previous here as Zaha was the target for the home fans and players, and Roy Hodgson did his best to calm the Ivorian winger down. Eventually he did calm down, but he was rattled. After his fine displays in recent wins, Zaha was far from his best.

3. Sarr adds cutting edge: Palace had to bring in Jairo Reidewald for Jeffrey Schlupp at half time at left back to try and stop Sarr’s driving runs down the right flank. He came close to scoring to add to his goal at Southampton last weekend, and his power and pace perfectly complimented Delofeu’s trickery. If Watford can stay solid defensively, Deulofeu, Deeney and Sarr will give plenty of defenses problems.

Man of the Match:


Both teams went close early as Troy Deeney‘s scuffed effort was cleared by James Tomkins, James McArthur sent a volley wide of the far post and then Ismaila Sarr’s shot was deflected wide at the other end.

Watford took the game to Palace early on as Pearson’s arrival as their new manager on Friday, even if he wasn’t in the dugout, had an impact. Gerard Deulofeu was popping up time and time again and his deliveries from set pieces caused Palace problems.

Once again in a game between Palace and Watford it was Wilfried Zaha who was at the center of things as the players piled in after he was caught by several defenders as he was on the floor, then he was booked moments later before Craig Cathcart also received a yellow for fouling Luka Milivojevic.

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Watford pinned Palace back in the second half as they peppered the goal and Deulofeu raced clear before smashing just wide.

The Spaniard then crossed for Sarr but his effort was saved by Vicente Guaita as the game opened up in the closing stages with Ayew firing just over on the counter and then Gary Cahill twice denying Sarr with brilliant blocks.

Andre Gray shanked a shot goalwards after more good work from Sarr, while Deeney went down in the box in stoppage time and wanted a penalty kick, as tempers flared late on with Zaha involved again.

In the end the two teams canceled each other out with Palace lackluster in attack and Watford disappointed not to take three points to lift themselves closer to safety.

Southampton beat Watford thanks to dramatic late comeback

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SOUTHAMPTON — The Saints are alive.

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Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men rallied from 1-0 down to beat Watford 2-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday, as Southampton secured their first home win since April in dramatic fashion.

After Ismaila Sarr gave Watford a first half lead, Saints fought back as Danny Ings equalized (although replays show there was a handball in the build up to it) and James Ward-Prowse scored a late winner.

The victory moves Saints on to 12 points for the season, two points off safety. Watford sit bottom of the table on eight points, six points from safety.

3 things we learned

1. Southampton rally for Hasenhuttl: This was a gutsy comeback win. Southampton were being booed by some of their home fans for the first 60 minutes for being too negative and they hadn’t won at home since April. St Mary’s has become a very tough place to play for them. But they stuck to their plan, high pressed Watford and got the win for Hasenhuttl. They deserved it for the second half display, even if there were a few nerves late on, and they now face Norwich, Newcastle, West Ham and Villa in their next four games. Saints’ season has lift off.

2. Boufal, Djenepo the difference: Their talented wingers from Morocco and Mali gave Watford a torrid time and dragged them back into the game. Boufal’s arrival off the bench was a game-changer and Djenepo’s skill to set up Ings was sublime. Saints are better when they go at teams and if these two stay fit, they hold the key to Saints pushing into midtable.

3. Negative Watford cut adrift: Saints were there for the taking in the first half and Watford should have been 3-0 up. But they weren’t clinical and fell apart in the second half. Quique Sanchez Flores was too negative with his tactics and he is likely to be fired as they are now six points off safety. Next up: in-form Leicester, Palace, Liverpool, plus a clash with Man United. The Hornets look doomed.

Man of the Match: Sofiane Boufal – He made such a huge difference after coming off the bench and the only reason he didn’t start this game was because he stubbed his toe in his kitchen this week. Seriously. The Moroccan winger is loved at St Mary’s after his season away on loan and his flair lit up this game.


Watford had the first big chance of the game as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg gave the ball away but Ismaila Sarr shot right at Alex McCarthy. At the other end Hojbjerg fired just over as Saints tried to get on the front foot.

Nathan Redmond fired a shot in on goal which Ben Foster saved easily, as the game turned into a tight, tense encounter.

Watford then took the lead as one ball over the top caught Saints out, Sarr raced onto it and fired over McCarthy and in.

The Hornets were buoyed by that opening goal as Sarr hammered in a volley on goal which McCarthy saved and moments later Gerard Deulofeu crossed but Sarr couldn’t get on the end of it.

Saints settled down as the first half played out as James Ward-Prowse’s clever flick almost snuck in at the back post.

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At the start of the second half Sarr then dribbled clear and sent an effort just over the crossbar as Watford looked dangerous on the break.

Substitutes Shane Long and Sofiane Boufal made a big difference when they came on as Southampton forced the issue in the second half. Danny Ings pressed Ben Foster into a horrible situation as the Watford goalkeeper won a free kick with Ings adamant he deserved a penalty kick as the home side pushed to get back on level terms.

Boufal surged into the box and pulled it back for Long who scuffed his shot towards the goal but Foster, at full strength, heroically tipped the ball onto the crossbar. Ings then set up Long who looked to have scored but Craig Cathcart somehow cleared the ball off the line.

Saints eventually got their deserved equalizer as Djenepo danced away from his marker, pulled the ball back and Ings bundled it home. Replays showed Djenepo handled the ball and it should have been chalked off by VAR, which missed the angle shown on TV.

Saints played on and soon the winner arrived.

Ward-Prowse then whipped home a fine free kick at the near post to make it 2-1, as Foster pushed the ball into his own net and will feel he should have done better.

Late on Watford threw everything at Southampton as Andre Gray fired wide and McCarthy tipped a cross over the bar as Saints held on.

Watford beat Norwich for first PL win

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Friday night’s win for Watford was sweeter than some victories it’s celebrated in the past.

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In the middle of a difficult start to the 2019-2020 Premier League season, Watford secured its first league victory of the year, beating Norwich, 2-0, on the road. Watford played the last 25 minutes down to ten men after Christian Kabasele was shown a second yellow card, but the Hornets appeared to only improve as the game wore on.

With the win, Watford jumps out of the Premier League basement and over Norwich into 18th place, while Norwich with the defeat sinks into last place in the league, just seven points from 12 games.


3 things we learned

1. Flores has brought defensive mindset back to Watford: Friday’s clean sheet was Watford’s third in its last five Premier League games, and even when it’s given up goals, it’s kept things close, with only three goals allowed in that span and one defeat. Clearly, Quique Sanchez Flores has helped Watford rebound from the 8-0 smashing v. Manchester City and they stand a chance at this rate of surviving for another season in the Premier League.

2. No Pukki, no win: If it wasn’t clear before, now it is. Norwich City is completely Pukki dependent. The Canaries looked woeful in the attack and although Pukki had a couple of chances, he wasn’t able to score. The Flying Fin hasn’t scored since mid-September in Norwich’s 3-2 win over Manchester City, a streak now extended to seven Premier League games

3. Big players make big plays: Watford spent millions of dollars to bring in attacking talents like Deulofeu and Gray, and on Friday at least, they showed they were worth the price. The pair each scored a goal and helped lift a struggling Watford team to a crucial win just before the international break.

Man of the Match: Gerard Deulofeu – The Spaniard slalomed through defenders to put Watford up early and then set up Gray with his goal in the second half to round off a great performance.


Watford needed less than two minutes to get on the scoreboard after a poor error from Norwich midfielder Emiliano Buendia. After Buendia coughed up the ball in midfield, Gerard Deulofeu raced ahead, evaded defenders and eventually finished into the far post end of the goal with his weaker left-foot.

It was the beginning of a back and forth affair with chances at either end. Darryl Janmaat and Deulofeu had chances to increase the lead in the next 20 minutes, but both players put their strikes wide of goal. Meanwhile, Alexander Tetty put a shot just wide and Onel Hernandez had a shot saved after Watford’s Ben Foster raced off his line to cut down the angle.

Early in the second half, it was Watford which went on the ascendency. Deulofeu raced down the left side before delivering in a cross into the middle. Andre Gray, a first half substitute, stuck out a leg and redirected the ball in to put Watford up 2-0 in the 52nd minute.

Kabasele was given his marching orders in the 65th minute, after a strong tackle on Norwich’s Josep Drmic and put Watford down a man. However, the team sat back into a low block with two blocks of defenders, and Norwich had no answer the rest of the match to break them down.

The Canaries lack of big-time players came back to haunt them as Todd Cantwell, Teemu Pukki and Drmic all failed to truly threaten Foster in goal.

WATCH LIVE: Norwich City v. Watford

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The two sides at the bottom of the Premier League table do battle in an absolutely critical matchup as Norwich City hosts Watford at Carrow Road at 3:00 p.m. ET live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Norwich City has won just twice all year, while Watford has yet to pick up a single win in 11 matches, so both teams will come into this matchup knowing the time is ripe for all three points. A draw does neither side any good, so it can be expected that both teams will go for it all.

However, finding the back of the net has been difficult for both squads of late. Both sides have scored just two goals over their last six matches, and putting together an attacking mentality will be critical not only in this massive meeting but also moving forward in the battle against relegation.

Quique Sanchez Flores makes three changes to his side that narrowly lost by one goal to Chelsea last time out, dropping Andre Gray to the bench to add another midfielder in Etienne Capoue. The Norwich lineup, meanwhile, sees no changes from last time out against Brighton Hove & Albion.

LINEUPS

Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Hernandez, Lewis, Buendia, Stiepermann, Trybull, Pukki, McLean, Tettey.
Bench: Fahrmann, Byran, Vrancic, Cantwell, Drmic, Amadou, Srbeny.

Watford: Foster, Janmaat, Dawson, Deulofeu, Cathcart, Doucoure, Hughes, Holebas, Kabasele, Capoue, Pereyra.
Bench: Gomes, Mariappa, Deeny, Masina, Chalobah, Gray, Femenia.