Jose Holebas

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Comical errors doom Arsenal in draw with inspired Watford

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Watford gave Quique Sanchez Flores a fine “re-debut” for the Hornets in thrilling fashion.

Well, maybe it’d be better said that Arsenal gave the manager his moment.

Arsenal made two silly mistakes in their own box, giving Watford a come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford out shot the Gunners 28-7, but needed big help to solve Bernd Leno.

The Gunners led on a pair of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goals scored 11 minutes apart in the first half, but Tom Cleverley and Roberto Pereyra had the answers thanks to grave errors from Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz.

Arsenal now sits seventh with eight points, while Watford remains 20th with two.


Three things we learned

1. Fullbacks on parade: Arsenal’s early lead came by their very different attack-minded fullbacks. Sead Kolasinac drove with power down the left to slip a ball to Aubameyang for the opening goal, while flying Ainsley Maitland-Niles found space on the right to cross for Aubameyang’s second. Beautiful stuff.

2. Leno bright early: Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno picked up where he left off in the North London Derby, making a number of key saves or claims as Watford came out the gates with brightness and purpose. He had little chance of stopping either Watford goal, and made a point-salvaging save on Abdoulaye Doucoure in stoppage time.

3. More laughs at the back:  Just when you thought Nicolas Otamendi had the “Worst Giveaway of the Weekend” award on lock down, enter Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The veteran defender couldn’t quite sense the danger in his pass to Guendouzi, could he?

David Luiz’s mistake was nearly as glaring, as he blocked Roberto Pereyra‘s 80th minute dribble into the 18. Pereyra wrong-footed Leno for 2-2.

Man of the Match: Aubameyang.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The first proper chance of the match was produced by Gerard Deulofeu, whose curling shot gave Bernd Leno a little trouble.

Leno then made a fine save on Tom Cleverley in the 11th minute to led to a corner, and had to stop another shot from the same players off the set piece.

The chances kept coming, with Deulofeu cueing up Jose Holebas for a shot that sailed well over the bar.

Arsenal went ahead 1-0 in the 21st minute through a powerful Sead Kolasinac dribble up field to find Aubameyang for a classy turn and finish.

The second goal was electric, with Ozil playing a role in the build-up to Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ perfect cross for Aubameyang.

A bad giveaway by Matteo Guendouzi opened the door for Watford, but the Hornets couldn’t challenge Leno.

A spicy affair saw a touch line skirmish between Holebas and Arsenal duo Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Watford pulled one back off a terrible giveaway from Sokratis, who gave Cleverley a wide open look at either side of Leno.

Then substitute Ismalia Sarr dragged a shot wide of the frame. Watford was knocking, and David Luiz opened the door with a block on Roberto Pereyra at the top of the 18. Pereyra fooled Leno and got the equalizer.

Controversy runs through Southampton draw with Watford

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  • Gabbiadini puts hosts ahead
  • Watford denied PK shout
  • Saints have Austin goal ruled out
  • Holebas ties it

Jose Holebas’ deflected 82nd minute strike salvaged a point for Watford against Southampton on Saturday.

Manolo Gabbiadini had given Saints a first half lead, and both teams were denied goals before Holebas’ marker.

The point gained gives Watford 20, and 7th place. Southampton is 17th with 8 points.

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Saints took a lead from a surprising source, well, as surprising as a striker goal can be for a viewer.

Gabbiadini took advantage of a Roberto Pereyra miscue and hammered a shot home for 1-0.

Striker Danny Ings left the match with an injury in the 40th minute, replaced by Charlie Austin.

Watford’s second half began well, and the Hornets believed they’d won a penalty when Nathaniel Chalobah was taken down by Nathan Redmond. No call came, however, and it was a fortunate let-off for Saints.

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Maya Yoshida had a hard shot deflected out for a Saints corner, their fifth of the game, in the 63rd minute.

Austin looked to have made good on Southampton’s threats in the 66th, but it was pulled back while Saints were deep in celebration.

Watford found its equalizer when a ball fell to Holebas outside the 18, and his shot took a wicked turn to beat Alex McCarthy.

Gabbiadini curled a ball into the hands of Ben Foster moments later.

Premier League Preview: Watford vs. Everton

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  • Watford has two wins in last 14 PL matches
  • Toffees won 3-2 at Goodison on Nov. 5
  • Watford leads all-time 19W-3D-3L

Two top half hopefuls meet at Vicarage Road in a reprise of an early season thriller when Watford hosts Everton on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Everton is in a battle for seventh with Burnley and Leicester City, and could finish the weekend there with a win and help.

Watford has to chance to finish in the top half. It’d be there already had it not coughed up a 2-0 lead to then-caretaker manager David Unsworth‘s Everton in a 3-2 loss on Nov. 5.

What they’re saying

Watford’s Jose Holebas on the match“We have to do something in this game. When we played there, we were 2-0 up and gave the game away in that way – it is unacceptable for me. I was a little bit emotional because I know that this season we have lost some points [from winning positions].”

Everton’s Sam Allardyce on his style critics“The type of football we’ve produced isn’t rubbish, we’ve produced proper football in terms of what we’ve tried to achieve. The past reputation is not the reality if you ask the players, so you look at the football we’ve played since I’ve been here.”

Prediction 

2-1 to the Toffees. Neither team is in great form but Everton have more potent attacking options.

Everton 3-2 Watford: Toffees climb back for win

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  • Richarlison nets 4th PL goal
  • Kabasele nabs first
  • Niasse pulls one back
  • Everton first win since Sept. 23

Leighton Baines converted a stoppage time penalty to complete a big comeback for a 3-2 win over Watford at Goodison Park after a thrilling five-goal second half on Sunday.

Ex-Toffee midfielder Tom Cleverley missed a 101st minute penalty during 12 minutes of stoppage time.

[ MORE: Baines, Unsworth react ]

Oumar Niasse and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored to lead Everton back from a 2-0 deficit, and out of the drop zone. The Toffees climb into 15th, sending West Ham into the drop zone.

The Hornets got second half goals from Richarlison and Christian Kabasele, but drop 10th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Richarlison worked around Jordan Pickford but couldn’t maneuver his shot inside the gaping frame, letting Everton off the hook in the first half’s best chance.

The Brazilian had a similar chance to start the second half, and buried it.

Another Brazilian, Watford goalkeeper and captain Heurelho Gomes, had to leave the match with injury and was replaced before the hour mark by Orestis Karnezis.

Kabasele made it 2-0 when he got past Phil Jagielka to head home, but Niasse struck within three minutes to bring the Everton deficit back to one. Calvert-Lewin then supplied this equalizer:

Then Jose Holebas, who infamously won a late goal against Liverpool, took down Aaron Lennon in the box to set up a huge chance for Everton. Baines buried it.

The Toffees held on through 12 minutes stoppage to ice the huge win.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Middlesbrough 0-1 Watford: Holebas stunner sends Hornets into top half

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It wasn’t pretty, but it worked as Watford earned its third win of the season behind an absolute peach of a goal from Jose Holebas shortly after halftime.

Watford did most of its damage on the break as its pace and directive down the flanks proved effective in breaking down the defensively stout Middlesbrough.

The first half was a chippy affair with plenty of fouls but few true chances on net. The opening 20 minutes was all Middlesbrough, with the hosts holding nearly 70% of the possession as the clock ticked towards halftime. There were few true efforts on goal, but they worked a solid chance on 25 minutes with Stewart Downing firing just wide after a popped-up ball fell in his lap.

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Middlesbrough could consider themselves lucky past the half-hour mark as Antonio Barrigan, already booked nine minutes prior, hauled down Isaac Success on the break, but was not given his marching orders by referee Roger East. The resulting free-kick was the best chance of the half for the visitors, but neither Holebas nor Younes Kaboul could get a head to the dangerous delivery.

Success, on his full debut for the club after five substitute appearances, proved bright on the counter-attack, drawing a host of fouls that put Middlesbrough in danger. Cristhian Stuani was also lucky to stay on the field, already having been booked when he kicked Success in the chest with an errant boot just after halftime.

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After 54 minutes, the game sprung to life suddenly. Out of nothing, a wonder strike from Holebas put Watford in front. Success went down in the penalty area screaming for the referee to point to the spot, and with Roger East not biting, the clearance fell to the feet of Holebas outside the penalty area, who ripped a screamer into the top corner of the net.

The game exploded open as Watford continued to counter with pace. Success remained dangerous, and again Barrigan got away with hacking down the Nigerian on the touchline as Watford looked to counter past the hour mark, with what again seemed a card-worthy incident went completely unpunished. The Spaniard was immediately withdrawn by Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka along with the booked Stuani.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Boro would finish the match with 64% of possession, but couldn’t do much at all with it, putting 10 shots towards Watford’s net, but only three on target. They also racked up a whopping 15 fouls and four yellow cards, proving to be their undoing. The win for the visitors pushed them into the top half of the table on 11 points, while Middlesbrough remained on eight points. Watford’s clean sheet is also its first of the season.