Ben Foster

Watford Wolves recap
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Watford holds on through red card to topple Wolves

Leave a comment

Watford built a two-goal lead and held on through a 71st minute red card to beat Wolves 2-1 at Vicarage Road on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Nigel Pearson‘s men have now won three of four matches and are two points back of safety with 19 points.

Gerard Deulofeu and Abdoulaye Doucoure scored the goals, the latter on his 27th birthday.

As for Wolves, they fail in a bid to strengthen their top-end credentials and sit seventh with 30 points.


Three things we learned

1. Deulofeu one of the season’s X-factors: Watford got 10 league goals with five assists out of the Spaniard last season, but the 25-year-old hasn’t been able to do as much this go-round. Ismaila Sarr is now humming along, too, and Watford’s attack finding it footing.

Wednesday’s goal was Deulofeu’s fourth of the season, and it’s interesting to note the change in production from his first Premier League stint. At Everton, Deulofeu had eight goals and 19 assists in 75 matches, compared to now 17 and eight in 63 for the Hornets.

2. Wolves losing hope of Top Four: Wolves are playing as many games as anyone in Europe, and maybe this was all a big ask given the brutal fixture list; Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men were unlucky versus Liverpool but not sharp enough Wednesday in losing a second-successive loss. Their twin wins over Man City show that anything is possible, but they really needed to grab these points before the Europa League fixture list begins to torture them again.

3. Mentality fixed under Pearson: Nigel Pearson’s men could’ve wilted given the opposition and the red card, but stood firm against a very good Wolves side to move even closer to the safe spaces. They’ll finish the day between two and four points back of safety, which seemed silly mere weeks ago. Right now, it looks like Watford has a chance to return to their plucky and potent team of last season.

Man of the Match: Most of the best individual days belonged to Wolves, but Deulofeu was part of a lively attack and gets our nod.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Conor Coady sent Matt Doherty through to goal in the 13th minute, but Ben Foster continued his fine form with a big save.

Wolves wanted a penalty when Pedro Neto hit the deck in the box, but a yellow card was given and VAR stayed with the call.

Deulofeu gave Watford the lead with a curling finish around Rui Patricio. Ismaila Sarr continued his good form with the assist, as the Hornets scored with their fifth attempt of the night.

Sarr came close to a goal of his own when Troy Deeney played him into the right of the 18.

Doucoure made it 2-0 coming out of the break when Deulofeu dribbled to the middle and laid off wide, a hard deflected strike leaving Patricio for dead.

The hour mark saw the match back in play thanks to Neto’s first Premier League goal, a deflected effort from distance.

Jonny Otto won a dangerous free kick for Wolves and a man advantage, too, when he was fouled by Christian Kabasele in the 72nd. The Watford defender sent off, and Wolves were unable to equalize up a man over 19 minutes.

Foster, Watford take point off hosts Sheffield United

Leave a comment

Watford is out of the basement following a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Gerard Deulofeu scored for the Hornets, who are six points back of safety but one better than 20th place Norwich City.

Oliver Norwood converted a penalty for the hosts, as Chris Wilder‘s men sit sixth with 29 points.


Three things we learned

1. Blades unrewarded: Sheffield United’s calling card this year has been hard work and defensive organization, but the Blades could not find a winner against Watford despite 57 percent of the ball and a 16-5 edge in shot attempts. Blades even won the tackle battle, snapping off 18 to Watford’s eight, but only a point came to Bramall Lane.

2. Deulofeu will be key to Hornets hopes… The Spaniard wasn’t particularly good, but Deulofeu remains one of the few Watford players capable of making a moment count for something big.

3. As will Ben Foster: American actor Ben Foster has starred in a few superhero movies, so it’s fitting that his Premier League namesake has been unreal in trying to keep the Hornets in the top flight. Speaking of flight, he was airborne for a number of big saves. All three came inside the box, including this phenomenal defiance of Lys Mousset.

Man of the Match: Foster.


Nigel Pearson‘s Hornets are showing fight, but more importantly finding the back of the goal.

Watford scored on one of its first proper chances, a Ben Foster goal kick flicked to Deulofeu by Chalobah. The Spaniard made the most of his opportunity for a 26th minute lead.

The advantage lasted 11 minutes, as George Baldock won a penalty off Will Hughes and VAR said the call was good. Norwood dispatched the penalty for 1-1.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Lys Mousset came off the bench and forced another fine save out of Foster, one which had to have Chris Wilder wondering if his Blades could find a winner.

Pulisic: ‘I feel confident but the hard work does not stop now for me’

Leave a comment

Another victory for Chelsea, another league goal for Christian Pulisic.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Red-hot Chelsea – now third in the Premier League table – edged winless Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road, and Captain America picked off right where he left off: scoring the decisive goals for Frank Lampard‘s side, who has in-form players to spare.

But even four goals – all which have come in the last two league games – and two assists later, the 21-year-old American is far from being the player who is going to rest on his laurels, and justifiably so. To the BBC:

“I want to make an impact for the team and I am enjoying it a lot,” Pulisic said following the Blues’ eighth consecutive league victory. “I feel confident but the hard work does not stop now for me.” 

“It is so much fun to play with these guys up front who help me so much,” he added.

From start to finish, Chelsea, fresh off  a cup loss against Manchester United midweek, controlled the tempo on Saturday against Watford, who are far from forming an identity in Quique Sanchez Flores’ second spell at the club.

Still, as the game began to come to an end, the Hornets desire to finish strong in front of the home crowd, coupled with some complacency from Chelsea, caused for a close-call ending.

“We played really well, our midfield was outstanding, but we just cannot have that sloppy bit near the end,” Lampard admitted following his team’s win. “It was a terrible 10 minutes considering how the game had gone. We need to be more clinical, we got a bit sloppy.

“We rely on our goalkeeper for those moments at the end of the game and he did what we needed him to do,” he added. “I am happy with how the players are playing. It’s great to watch.”

It was during those final ten minutes that Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu converted from the spot, following what Pulisic calls a “soft penalty” call.

“Those last five or 10 minutes felt like a really long time,” Pulisic said. “In the second half we felt like we were dominating. We needed to get a third to put the game away but then we gave away a soft penalty in my opinion.”

Coming off in the 83rd minute for Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic shot on target in three different occasions. Out of the bunch, however, only a lightly tap-in inside a few yards from the white line proved to be enough to go past Ben Forster and into the back of the net. That needs to change, according to the crafty winger.

“We had opportunities to put the game away but we gave a penalty and they made it close at the end,” he added. “The penalty seemed to come from nowhere and that’s why we needed to score more goals.”

With this latest sample size, though, there are plenty of context clues to guess where Chelsea’s goals are going to be coming from in the games to come.

At this point, if your guess is Captain America, you’re probably playing it safe.

Fortunate Spurs take point from woeful day v. winless Watford

Leave a comment

Watford can’t buy a break, drawing lackluster Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 in North London on Saturday.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s first half goal looked like it would be all Watford needed to collect its first win of the year, but Dele Alli poked home after a late Watford mix-up.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs’ 12 points have them seventh, while Watford stays winless in taking its fourth point.


Three things we learned

1. Rudderless Spurs get gift for Dele: Take away Heung-Min Son‘s early second half rip off the bar, and Tottenham did nothing. However, a massive 86th minute mix-up for Watford’s back line opened the gates for Dele Alli to poke home an equalizer. VAR said he didn’t handle the ball, and Spurs had their path to a point. Can the fortunate finish help Dele refind his form?

2. Deulofeu active, defied by VAR: The ex-Barcelona prodigy was everywhere for Watford and should’ve earned a penalty in the first half, where we learned that VAR is not going to overrule a referee anything unless there’s blood or a visible broken bone in the box. There would’ve been no chance of an overturning had it been ruled a penalty on the field.

3. Son important for Spurs: While much of Tottenham’s team has looked out of sorts this season, South Korea’s Heung-min Son continues to produce (sometimes in solo fashion). He rattled a second half shot off the bar to help shake the cobwebs from Spurs, and his dribbles showed an energy not present in many of his teammates. It’d be fair to say he kept his team alive long enough for a moment like Dele’s fortunate finish.

Man of the Match: Dele Alli — It was a day for a bit of redemption, as the struggling playmaker got his goal and was dangerous despite very little help. Son was good, but Harry Kane and Lucas Moura were among those to toss up the shoulder shrug emoji for most of the day.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

An early injury to Danny Welbeck could’ve lowered the morale for the visitors, but the defiant Hornets went ahead in too easy fashion.

Spurs back Danny Rose lost his way tracking a long diagonal ball, and Doucoure waltzed behind the back line to collect a Daryl Janmaat cross that swept around no less than three Tottenham players. Nice looking goal, pitiful defending.

Jan Vertonghen‘s sloppy slide then clipped Gerard Deulofeu, but VAR would not deem the decision a clear and obvious error.

Heung-min Son struck and inspired move out of halftime, working Craig Cathcart to rip a shot that Ben Foster just touched onto the cross bar in the 49th.

At the other end, Deulofeu found Roberto Pereyra, but the Serge Aurier made a supreme intervention to block the shot.

Spurs had so few answers on the day, with Deulofeu remaining a menace, but that mix-up at the back allowed Dele to pounce for a point.

WATCH: Man City scores five times in first 18 minutes

Leave a comment

What a start. Emphasize it, bold it, underline it.

Manchester City scored five goals in the first 18 minutes of play on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium, relegating Watford to also-ran status before the match was a quarter finished.

[ STREAM: Man City v. Watford ]

It took 54 seconds for De Bruyne to assist David Silva with an outstanding opener, but Gerard Deulofeu nearly answered when he danced around Nicolas Otamendi to force a conceded corner out of Ederson.

Silva, marked for Inter Miami in a mid-week report, was the finisher for the 55th time in his Premier League career and 72nd for his club.

Ben Foster then gave away a useless penalty when he slapped a through ball out of bounds before felling Riyad Mahrez for an easy penalty. Aguero stepped to the spot calm as you like and dispatched the No. 2 to the scoreboard.

That was hardly the end to Watford’s woes, as Mahrez dazzled with a dribble through the heart of the field to earn a free kick atop the 18. There was only one destination, given the series of events. 3-0.

Bernardo Silva then got in on the act, when Otamendi nodded a De Bruyne corner to the back post for a prone finish and 4-0.

Not to be outdone, Otamendi was back post for a finish of his own, giving City its fifth goal off an Aguero assist.