Andre Gray

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.

Abraham leads Chelsea past Watford; Pulisic scores again

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Tammy Abraham had a goal and an assist as Chelsea won its fifth-straight Premier League outing, getting another goal from Christian Pulisic in a 2-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

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Chelsea will finish the weekend with a six-point cushion on fifth place, now sitting third with 23 points.

Watford got a late penalty from Gerard Deulofeu, awarded by VAR, to score its goal. The Hornets remain dead last with five points through 11 matches.


Three things we learned

1. Abraham the genuine article: The Championship loan high-flyer might’ve entered this season with five Premier League goals from a Swansea City loan, but his bonafides are undoubtable now. Abraham calmly converted Jorginho‘s amazing early cross before setting up Pulisic for a goal in the second half. The 22-year-old now has nine goals and two assists in just over 800 league minutes this season.

2. Watford a one-man show: Maybe a long-awaited return for Troy Deeney can do the trick for winless Watford, but every single promising moment of Saturday’s match came from Gerard Deulofeu. There are other players with promise, including Will Hughes, but Roberto Pereyra, Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Andre Gray were absent. That had a lot to do with trying to meet Chelsea’s attacking energy, but it doesn’t make it any easier to be a Watford supporter.

3. Pulisic keeps league run going: The American winger was charged with being very active in the wide areas and took a satisfactory first half to another level when he doubled Chelsea’s lead. Pulisic adjusts his back post to cut in front of Christian Kabasele and add a fourth goal to his Premier League collection.

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Man of the Match: This one is tough. Mateo Kovacic was a beast, and Abraham weighed in on both goals. But Pulisic’s stat line was also complete, and he honestly was as important as any Blue. Ben Foster really was the reason this match wasn’t a blowout. We’re going to give it to Abraham.


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Too easy.

That’s the only way to describe Chelsea’s opener, with Jorginho sweeping a cross around the back of Watford’s back four and Abraham timing his run to pop the ball over a charging Ben Foster for 1-0.

Chalobah fired a shot to Kepa Arrizabalaga after Kurt Zouma mishit a cross in the 16th minute.

Pulisic headed Willian‘s corner toward the back post in the 19th minute, but Ben Foster leapt backward to make a fantastic fingertip save.

Gerard Deulofeu drove a shot wide of the far post in the 39th.

Foster made another fine save when Mason Mount tore into an effort from distance just before halftime.

Deulofeu led another break after halftime, but it ended with a superb block from Kurt Zouma.

Willian cued up a Chelsea chance, but Foster made a good stop on a Mount rip.

If anyone was going to get Watford on the board, it was Deulofeu. VAR said he was caught by Jorginho, sending the Spaniard to the spot in the 80th. He rolled it in.

Kepa Arrizabalaga made a diving save on a flying Foster header — yes, you read that right — on the final play of the night.

Watford, Sheffield United wallow in scoreless draw

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A forgettable draw at Vicarage Road saw Watford and Sheffield United each take a point.

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The visitors move 12th with nine points, while last-place Watford remains winless after eight matches and has three points.


Three things we learned

1. Chances untaken by Hornets…: When your club is playing poorly, even the good things go sour. Roberto Pereyra was a spark plug, and should’ve had Watford up 1-0 inside of 10 minutes when he swept a cross around Tom Heaton and onto the path of Andre Gray. Gray might’ve been proven offside by VAR but it didn’t get that far as the former Burnley man slapped his shot over the bar.

2. …Or anyone for that matter: Between goalkeepers Ben Foster and Dean Henderson, there was a total of five saves. Watford was credited with the only big chances created in the match (three)

3. Norwood the star man: Look to the captain. If anything was going to happen, it seemed like the Blades skipper was going to be the man who got it done. Our Man of the Match, Norwood had 115 touches and completed 88 percent of his passes in the middle of the park. A lackluster Man of the Match? Sure, but it was a lackluster game.


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There were chances for both teams in the early stages — see Point No. 1 above — and Watford was unable to take care of some disorganization from the Blades at the back.

But Sheffield United’s pursuit of a goal seemed more likely to produce something, creative rather than relying on errors from the Hornets.