Gerard Deulofeu

Watford
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Ranking every Watford player

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Watford’s roller coaster season was suspended just above the drop zone, as there’s been plenty of fun for the Hornets after an 11-match winless run to start the Premier League campaign.

The Hornets — for now — look to have saved their season with an inexplicably strong navigation of the congested festive fixtures, and they’ll continue to relish ending Liverpool’s run at a perfect season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Individual grades, however? Those are a bit tougher.

Below we give each Hornets player a grade, ranking and group them together based on their season(s) so far.

If a Watford player is listed in this ranking it is because they’ve played in more than five games in all competitions.


A-GRADE

Etienne Capoue: The Hornets leader in tackles and interceptions doesn’t get the acclaim of Abdoulaye Doucoure, but this year he’s been better for the side. Come to think of it, last year, too.

Gerard Deulofeu: His torn ACL in the big upset of Liverpool. Snapped to life under Nigel Pearson to propel Watford out of the bottom three.

Troy Deeney: The club legend has taken a beating in producing six goals and two assists in 18 appearances. Deeney’s 7.6 aerials won per match is second only to Sebastien Haller.


B-GRADE

Ismaila Sarr: There’s still work to do in adjusting to the Premier League, but just ask Liverpool how he can change a game (or season).

Christian Kabasele: The big center back remains with the Vicarage Road set, which is a serious boon to the Hornets. His 5.2 clearances per game join 1.6 tackles and 1.7 interceptions to make another fine line on the resume.

Abdoulaye Doucoure: At his best, he makes the Hornets a force in the middle of the park but this season was a step back in attacking production.

Daryl Janmaat
Ben Foster
Adam Masina

Ismaila Sarr celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal against Manchester United (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

C-GRADE

Craig Cathcart: A steady if unspectacular season doing a little bit of everything at the back. Call it a C-plus.

Will Hughes: After two-straight seasons of improvement, Hughes slipped a little bit. The versatile midfielder also missed out on two of Watford’s five wins.

Nathaniel Chalobah
Tom Cleverley
Craig Dawson
Kiko Femenia


D-GRADE

Andre Gray: Was having the least productive season of his career, with two goals in 716 minutes.

Roberto Pereyra: Still capable of the sublime, but he’s done it so rarely this season. Also saw his minutes sliced nearly in half.

Danny Welbeck
Adrian Mariappa
Jose Holebas

(Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

INCOMPLETE

Isaac Success, Domingos Quina, Ignacio Pussetto, Sebastian Prodl, Dimitru Foulquier

Deulofeu out for season in massive blow to Watford

Gerard Deulofeu
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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As big of a win as Watford’s 3-0 defeat of Liverpool was on Saturday, they suffered a loss of similar magnitude.

Gerard Deulofeu tore a meniscus and ruptured an ACL and will miss the rest of the season and likely the start of next.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“We wish him all the best, we wish his family well,” said club captain Troy Deeney. “Unfortunately this is the game that we play. It’s going to be a real tough one and we wish him well. I said to him at half-time ‘we’re going to win this for you’, and thankfully we did, thankfully I’m a man of my word.”

Deulofeu had four goals and five assists in just over 2,100 minutes this season, chipping in 1.2 tackles and .9 interceptions per contest.

He’s also averaging 1.6 key passes and 2.2 successful dribbles per game (all stats via WhoScored). Both of those figures are top 20 in the Premier League.

Deulofeu is a huge loss for the Hornets, who will need more magic from Ismaila Sarr and consistency from Roberto Pereyra. Will Hughes has impressed as well but there are few playmakers like Deulofeu in the league, let alone Watford.

The good news is that Watford is currently outside the drop zone on goal differential, and still face five bottom half sides.

Everton overcomes two-goal deficit, red card to beat Watford

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Watford’s bid to leave the drop zone was canceled out in unlikely fashion as resolute 10-man Everton scored a 3-2 comeback win at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra helped Watford to two-goal lead, but unlikely hero Yerry Mina scored twice in first half stoppage time for Everton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Theo Walcott scored late as Everton overcame Fabian Delph‘s sending-off to secure three points and ninth place on the table.

Watford sits 19th, two points off the safe spaces.


Three things we learned

1. Ancelotti’s contending Everton doesn’t quit: Down 2-0 away to Watford, Everton ironically showed how different they’ve become since firing former Hornets boss Marco Silva for Carlo Ancelotti. Mina stepped up with two clutch goals before the break. Delph’s second yellow card might’ve been reason to doubt the outcome, but the Toffees truly deserved all three points and Walcott delivered the goods. Everton is now a factor in the race for Europa League places.

2. Goalkeepers struggle: Ben Foster is one of the most consistent goalkeepers in this generation of Premier League backstops, and Jordan Pickford is England’s No. 1. You wouldn’t imagine either of those things are true in this five-goal match, which saw seven shots on target but just two saves (both from Foster). Woof.

3. Mina brace comes out nowhere: Mina entered first half stoppage time with one Premier League goal in 36 appearances for Everton. He left with three in what was a miniature version of Newcastle’s stunning second half comeback through Florian Lejeune.

Man of the Match: It’s Mina.


Gerard Deulofeu continued his remarkable return to form by setting up Masina’s goal, and the Hornets doubled their advantage through two other usual suspects.

Pereyra took advantage of a poor clearance and some quick thinking from Troy Deeney, cutting into the box to make it 2-0.

But hold on! Mina scored twice in four minutes of stoppage time, the first a close-range finish and the second an unmarked header.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Fabian Delph put hopes of any or all the points in the balance with a second yellow card in the 71st minute.

Remarkably, the Toffees got the winner. Moise Kean was the playmaker for Walcott’s stoppage-time winner.

Aston Villa scores at the death to beat Watford

Aston Villa v. Watford match recap and highlights
Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Tyrone Mings scored deep in stoppage time as Aston Villa leapt out of the Bottom Three with a huge 2-1 comeback win over Watford at Villa Park.

Douglas Luiz also scored for Villa, whose 25 points find them in 15th.

Troy Deeney scored for Watford, whose resurgence stalls at 23 points and 19th place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

American teen Indiana Vassilev again came off the bench for Villa, playing 13 minutes.


Three things we learned

1. Mings continues MVP season: You read all the time about Jack Grealish because the hometown hero and captain is gathering so many great attacking moments for Villa, but Tyrione Mings has been so, so good at the back. His 95th minute winner was deserved after another fine day at the back with 91 touches and a six-for-six record on duels.

2. Don’t get us wrong, Grealish is solid: The Villa captain passed at 86 percent and scooped up four key passes while completing five of eight dribbles. Grealish got stuck into 21 duels, winning 13, and was fouled an absurd seven times.

3. Deeney a villain to the Villans: Troy Deeney has scored 43 Premier League goals, making his career-high six against Aston Villa good for 14 percent of his top-flight outfit. Those six have come in four matches. Four. Adding to the storyline is Deeney’s status as a Birmingham City supporter.

This is a delightful cross from Gerard Deulofeu, too.

Man of the Match: Mings


Watford had less of the ball but took a lead in the 38th minute, Gerard Deulofeu continuing a lively day by assisting a powered Deeney header.

Deulofeu looked to have Abdoulaye Doucoure for a possible second only to go it alone and fire wide of the frame.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Villa had more of the ball in the first half and nearly all of the danger in the second, but Watford’s calm back line had plenty of blocked crosses and clearances.

The Villans got their just desserts.

Luiz was at the back post to thunder home a loose ball before celebrating with the Villa faithful, and who else but Mings saw a stoppage time winner turn off him and past Ben Foster?

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.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

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.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

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.