Nathaniel Chalobah

Foster, Watford take point off hosts Sheffield United

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

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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.

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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.

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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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.

England calls up new faces, Southgate deal confirmed

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Straight into the fire, boys.

Gareth Southgate is going to test some new faces in England’s UEFA Nations League matches in Croatia and Spain.

Confirming reports from Thursday, England also announced a new contract for Southgate which extends through the 2022 World Cup.

[ MORE: Atlanta eyes Almiron replacement ]

The FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, has lofty expectations for the program:

“We have great ambition. We will win a World Cup. We will win a Euros. We’re going to give ourselves the best possible chance with the players we have got. We want to see progress. We can feel progress. The public can sense and feel it. We want to see progress on and off the pitch.”

Derby County’s Mason Mount, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, Leicester City’s James Maddison, Spurs’ Harry Winks, and Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah are the fairly unusual names in the bunch.

Luke Shaw is back in the fold, the lone Manchester United player on the roster.

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Alex McCarthy (Southampton), Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham).

Defenders: John Stones (Man City), Kyle Walker (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Spurs), Danny Rose (Spurs), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Luke Shaw (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Eric Dier (Spurs), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Derby County), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford), James Maddison (Leicester City), Harry Winks (Spurs), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund).

Forwards: Harry Kane (Spurs), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Man City)

Watford set to lose Chalobah for months

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One of Marco Silva‘s prime captures this summer was Nathaniel Chalobah from Chelsea, and the youngster is going to miss some serious time with a knee injury.

The Daily Mail calls it a broken patella — ouch! — and Watford said Chalobah suffered the injury in training.

[ MORE: Kane on UCL hat trick, win ]

Chalobah, 22, has started all five Premier League matches for Watford this season, and has been one of the better performers in the Hornets’ surprising start.

He could be out until 2018, though Watford’s performance director Gavin Benjafield is hopeful that’s not the case, via The London Evening Standard:

“Whilst we can’t put an exact timeline on his recovery, we are expecting to see him re-integrating into the squad well before the New Year.”

Watford does have depth at center mid, with its corps including Etienne Capoue, Will Hughes, Tom Cleverley, Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Ben Watson. Still, it’s a tall order replacing Chalobah and we’ll get our first look when Watford hits the Hawthorns to face West Brom on Saturday.

Premier League 2017-18 preview – Watford

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Like many of the teams towards the bottom of the Premier League table last season — and in most years — Watford had the classic killer combination of a lack of offensive firepower and an equally disappointing struggle of allowing goals.

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Marco Silva has been brought in to help Watford improve upon its 17th place finish from 2016/17, and with several key additions in the midfield the Hornets just might be able to climb the PL table in the Portuguese manager’s first season with the club.

Best, worst case scenarios – Watford will likely be lumped in with many of the usual mid-table suspects, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. If the Hornets can find another stable goalscorer alongside Troy Deeney up front, then perhaps the squad can make a push into the upper half of the table, which is likely the team’s ceiling. The club has also been reported to be close to a deal with young Brazilian Richarlison, and if successful, the 20-year-old Fluminense attacker could be a promising piece to the squad.

Worst-case scenario might just see Silva’s side drop down to the Championship. It’s not far-fetched considering how close Watford was a season ago to falling into England’s second flight. There were major concerns defensively last season, with the club allowing 68 goals in 38 matches, and as mentioned above, Deeney really didn’t have much support in the goalscoring department. He was the only Watford player to crack the 10-goal mark, and that’s something that must change in 2017/18 if the Hornets are to stave off relegation.


Best possible XI is…

Gomes

Janmaat — Kaboul — Britos — Holebas

Doucoure — Chalobah

Amrabat — Cleverley — Pereyra

Deeney


[ MORE: 2017-18 PL season preview hub ] 

Transfers In: Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea, Undisclosed), Daniel Bachman (Free agent), Kiko Femenia (Alaves, Undisclosed), Will Hughes (Derby County, Undisclosed)

Transfers Out: Juan Carlos Paredes (Emelec, Free), Mario Suarez (Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng, Undisclosed)

Last season:

— 17th in Premier League
— FA Cup 4th Round (lost to Millwall)
— League Cup 2nd Round (lost to Gillingham)

Star player: Troy Deeney — As stated above, Deeney was the only player to crack 10 goals last season. This is a squad that desperately needs somebody to finish chances, and at this very moment, it appears Deeney is the most likely candidate to do so.

Coaches’ Corner: Marco Silva — Say what you will about Silva’s performance at Hull last season, but there really wasn’t much to work with for the Portuguese boss or the Tigers roster. This isn’t a terribly different scenario for the manager, but the club has added some solid pieces this summer, such as Chalobah and Femenia. He’ll certainly have his work cut out for him, and Silva will have to keep a sharp eye out for more additions during January if he is to keep this team afloat.

PST predicts: Goals have been hard to come by for Watford, and at the end of the day that’s what keeps you in the Premier League. The Hornets squeaked by last season with just 40 goals to get them into 17th place, but it’s hard to say if that will be enough again in 2017/18. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, somebody other than Troy Deeney has to emerge on the goalscoring-front, and it has to start earlier rather than later in the season because that could spell doom for Silva and this squad.