Will Hughes

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.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

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.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch ]

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.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

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.

Goalkeepers star in Watford, Bournemouth stalemate

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Watford and Bournemouth played out a 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road on Saturday as Watford still haven’t won a Premier League game this season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

The Hornets and Cherries had their goalkeepers to thank for a point as Ben Foster and Aaron Ramsdale both made superb stops at each end to keep clean sheets.

With the draw Bournemouth have 13 points, while Watford remain bottom and have five points on the board.


3 things we learned

1. Ben Foster could keep Watford up: Foster made several superb stops in the first half and if he plays well for the rest of the season, the Hornets have a chance to stay up. Foster’s experience is key to holding this Watford defense together and it hasn’t been pretty since Quique Sanchez Flores returned, but they are grinding out draws. The mauling at Man City (which can happen to any team) aside, they have drawn 0-0 at home against Sheffield United and Bournemouth and 1-1 away at Tottenham. They are proving to be tougher to break down and they are building a solid defensive foundation ahead of a big relegation battle.

2. Bournemouth improve defensively, but lacking again in attack: The Cherries have now failed to score in four of their last five games in all competitions and they looked severely lackluster in attack once again. Defensively they have always struggled to keep goals out, and that has improved this season. But it has improved at the expense of their usually fluid attack unit and Eddie Howe looked totally frustrated on the sidelines. Bournemouth are always a team neutrals love to watch because they scored and conceded goals but the boatload. They had to get better defensively and they have, and that is largely down to Billing and Lerma shoring things up in midfield. Going forward they miss the injured Brooks and out of form Fraser, and Howe needs to get a better balance back to this team. That said, Bournemouth are maturing and look way less likely to throw away points. Over the course of the season that is very important.

3. Draw sums up Cherries, Hornets rivalry: Seven of their nine clashes since they were promoted to the Premier League have ended in draws and this is a rivalry with an edge to it. Watford and Bournemouth were promoted to the PL together in 2015 and their trajectory since has been very similar. Both clubs are capable of causing upsets. Both usually (apart from this season, Watford) start the season well and then fade. Both usually finish midtable. It is early in the season but it looks like Bournemouth will finish a lot higher than Watford in 2019-20.

Man of the Match: Ben Foster – In the first half he made a string of fine saves to keep Bournemouth at bay, as Watford held on for a point. Foster has been their star man this season and if the Hornets are going to drag themselves out of trouble, they need him to stay in top form.


Watford had a glorious chance to take the lead early on but Abdoulaye Doucoure somehow smashed over after Aaron Ramsdale spilled the ball.

The Hornets went close again as Gerard Deulofeu‘s corner just missed everyone and hit the post.

Bournemouth then hit the bar as Steve Cook got free of his runner from a corner and the Cherries skipper should have scored with his header.

The Cherries looked dangerous as Philip Billing‘s shot was saved by Ben Foster and then Wilson’s curler went just over. Sergio Rico was then denied by Foster as Watford’s goalkeeper kept them in it.

Josh King then crossed for Danjuma but his low shot was saved superbly by Foster, once again.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

At the start of the second half it was Ramsdale’s turn to shine as the youngster spread himself to deny Deulofeu.

The second half turned into a feisty encounter as Roberto Pereyra caught Wilson and things boiled over between both sets of players.

Ramsdale then denied substitute Will Hughes, and Harry Wilson then went agonizingly close to a late winner but his free kick clipped the post and then Ryan Fraser was denied by Foster, of course.

The game ended in a stalemate as neither team looked confident in the final third throughout and both goalkeepers stood tall.

Watch Live: Watford v. Arsenal

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Mesut Ozil makes his first start of the season as Arsenal visits Watford and new/old manager Quique Sanchez Flores on Sunday at Vicarage Road (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Ozil has two goals and four assists in nine appearances against Watford.

Dani Ceballos is also starting for the Gunners, who will be without Alexandre Lacazette for the next few weeks.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Gerard Deulofeu heads into the Starting XI for the Hornets, who will have in-form Will Hughes on the other side of the field.


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Watford

Arsenal

Newcastle splits spoils with Watford

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Newcastle United overcame a second minute concession to draw wasteful Watford 1-1 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Will Hughes had Watford ahead, but Fabian Schar leveled the score line and both squads had to be bailed out by goalkeepers.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford remains dead last with just one point through four matches, while Newcastle climbs out of the drop zone.


Four things

  1. Bruce’s men wobble early (again) — For as many redemption songs were sung about Steve Bruce following the sturdy defeat of Spurs, his team again came out of the gates as if they thought the darn things were locked. Terribly sloppy, they conceded after 90 seconds and were lucky not to be down 2 or 3 by the time they equalized. Credit Bruce for the tactical changes that swung the tide, but a poor start.
  2. Hughes rewarded again — The former Derby County prodigy has been the bright spot of Watford’s poor start to the season, and got his first goal of the season. Also of note: His wayward blonde beard. You do you, Will.
  3. Joelinton a menace — You can see why Newcastle was tempted to break the bank for big Brazilian striker Joelinton, who scored in the win over Spurs and works harder than your typical center forward. Magpies supporters would probably trade a little bit of industry for classier control and finish, but hopefully that will come to the hopeful star. Given Newcastle’s formation, Joelinton may end up being the most fouled player in the Premier League (if they are whistled).
  4. Almiron still struggling — There was more flair from Miguel Almiron, deployed in a more natural wide position, but he was again offside multiple times from a wide position, wasteful in dangerous attacking positions, and probably should’ve seen at least one yellow card for diving. Shades of his promising second half of 2018-19.

Man of the Match: Joelinton


Newcastle was down within 90 seconds of kickoff, Hughes played through with acres of space defy Martin Dubravka. 1-0.

Atsu found Miguel Almiron for a potential equalizer in the fourth minute, but the ex-Atlanta United man butchered his stomach settle and bounded it right to the keeper.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Magpies very much grew into the game from that point, with Isaac Hayden particularly influential and dangerous. His 59th minute rip was parried out for a corner by Ben Foster.

Watford was content to counter in the final half hour, and Dubravka made a terrific intervention to deny Isaac Success but conceded a corner.

Yoshinori Muto was played through by Joelinton after a fine tackle by the forward, but the Japanese striker could not find his angle.

AT HALF: Man City, Chelsea cruising; 10 goals in 6 matches

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New boys and old alike are scoring, as surnames De Bruyne and Aguero have been joined by Haller, Abraham and… Abraham again on the score sheets of England.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Here’s where the scores stand after 45 minutes.

Man City 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

Kevin De Bruyne had the champs on the board after just 71 seconds, taking a David Silva cut back into the goal. Sergio Aguero added a goal just before half.

Aymeric Laporte left the match on a stretcher with an injury prior to the break.

Chelsea 2-0 Sheffield United

Tammy Abraham got a second bite at the apple thanks to the off-putting hustle of Christian Pulisic, and the Blues are up at half. He’d add a second before the ref whistled for the break.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Aston Villa

Nothing cooking as Roy Hodgson and Dean Smith match wits.

West Ham United 1-0 Norwich City

Sebastien Haller is scoring goals for fun.

Leicester City 2-1 Bournemouth

Jamie Vardy‘s delightful 12th minute goal was answered by Callum Wilson within three minutes, but Youri Tielemans delivered a 41st minute goal to put the Foxes ahead.

Newcastle United 1-1 Watford

The host Magpies were absolutely terrible in the first 15 minutes, highlighted by a Will Hughes goal within 90 seconds of kickoff. But Fabian Schar lashed home in traffic to put the hosts level and keep Javi Gracia‘s seat hot.