Watford

Welbeck’s Goal of Year candidate sends Watford past Norwich City

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Danny Welbeck’s incredible overhead goal gave Watford three huge points and likely sealed Norwich City’s fate in the bottom three as the Hornets picked up a huge 2-1 win at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.

Craig Dawson also scored for Watford, who joins West Ham four points above the bottom three on 31 points.

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Emiliano Buendia put Norwich ahead early but the Canaries couldn’t find the end product on a day they arguably deserved a point.

WATFORD – NORWICH CITY FULL MATCH REPLAY

Norwich now sits 10 points back of safety with only 12 available in its remaining fixtures, a perilous path at that considering West Ham-Watford and West Ham-Aston Villa will see teams ahead of it catch points.


Three things we learned

1. Hornets safe(r), Canaries almost done: The rate that the bottom five have been winning lately means Watford’s 31 points feel a lot safer than they probably should. Conversely, Norwich City needed this one. The Canaries still have West Ham and Burnley but will also need to beat Chelsea and Man City away to beat the drop. Sorry, Norwich faithful, but that would be the greatest escape in the history of great escapes.

2. Welbeck’s still got something special in his locker: The former Arsenal and Manchester United forward has endured a lot of struggles, most of them injury-related, but he reminded us of his special talent with a terrific bit of improvisation to produce his first PL goal with Watford. Welbeck’s overhead kick came with tremendous athleticism from 15 yards or so after a cross from Ismaila Sarr was deflected to him at the back post. Stunning stuff, and his first PL goal since scoring for Arsenal on Aug. 25, 2018, versus West Ham.

2. Canaries don’t quit: There’s something admirable about Norwich continuing to scrap despite clearly possessing the least depth in the league following big injuries to defenders. Norwich had more of the ball but couldn’t find a way through, which isn’t a new problem. Emiliano Buendia is a special talent, Teemu Pukki a good finisher, and there are quality pieces in Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons, but Norwich doesn’t have enough to produce goals; Buendia’s beauty was the Canaries’ fifth in PL play in 2020.

Man of the Match

Etienne Capoue — The ex-Spurs man is such a good ball mover, even apart from his assist on Dawson’s opener. Capoue completed 95 percent of his passes including a pristine 5-of-5 on long balls (SofaScore). He won duels and made two interceptions in helping the Hornets come closer to safety.


Watford – Norwich City recap

Watford’s Ben Foster made a flying save on a 3rd minute free kick.

It was a warning, and Buendia delivered on the warning with a well-hit left-footed shot across goal after Onel Hernandez dribbled from left to right to find the Argentine.

It was level within moments, as Dawson got the back post to meet Etienne Capoue’s cross and power a header off Tim Krul and into the goal.

Danny Welbeck was on the doorstep in the 42nd minute but couldn’t keep his header from sailing over the bar.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Foster made a great save to deny Max Aarons and Buendia in quick succession nine minutes after halftime.

Welbeck put the Hornets ahead with a sensational bicycle kick goal when Ismaila Sarr’s cross was deflected into the air.

Premier League standings

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The Premier League is back a three month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Below you will find a reminder of the Premier League standings as we get back to business.

[ MORE: Latest PL TV schedule ]

With five matchweeks remaining in the 2019-20 Premier League season, there is plenty to play for up and down the league and the standings are extremely tight.

Liverpool have wrapped up the Premier League in stunning fashion over Man City, with the reigning champions and current second-place side eager to focus on cup competitions.

Three of the top four should stay there unless Leicester City’s form dips considerably, but the race for fourth and fifth should be fierce. We may know whether fifth is a Champions League place after scheduled June 8-10 meetings to hear Man City’s appeal over its European ban.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

With between nine and 10 matches left for everyone and eighth potentially being a Europa League spot, all the teams between fourth and 11th still have European hopes in the balance. That would change should Norwich City or Newcastle win the FA Cup, so call it 13 clubs.

The action is going to come fast and often, with the league putting together a staggered schedule of kickoff times that will make matches even more of an all-weekend affair.

Below are the Premier League standings in full, as we will updated them throughout the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

PREMIER LEAGUE STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Liverpool 33 29 2 2 72 25 47 17-0-0 12-2-2 89
 Manchester City 33 21 3 9 81 34 47 12-2-2 9-1-7 66
 Leicester City 33 17 7 9 63 31 32 10-4-3 7-3-6 58
 Chelsea 33 17 6 10 60 44 16 9-3-5 8-3-5 57
 Manchester United 33 15 10 8 56 33 23 10-5-2 5-5-6 55
 Wolves 33 13 13 7 45 36 9 6-7-4 7-6-3 52
 Arsenal 33 12 13 8 49 41 8 8-5-3 4-8-5 49
 Tottenham Hotspur 33 13 9 11 52 44 8 10-3-4 3-6-7 48
 Sheffield United 33 12 12 9 34 33 1 8-3-5 4-9-4 48
 Burnley 33 13 7 13 37 46 -9 8-3-6 5-4-7 46
 Everton 33 12 8 13 40 48 -8 8-5-3 4-3-10 44
 Newcastle United 33 11 10 12 35 45 -10 6-8-3 5-2-9 43
 Southampton 33 13 4 16 42 55 -13 5-2-10 8-2-6 43
 Crystal Palace 33 11 9 13 28 40 -12 6-4-6 5-5-7 42
 Brighton & Hove Albion 33 8 12 13 35 44 -9 5-6-5 3-6-8 36
 West Ham United 33 8 7 18 40 58 -18 5-3-8 3-4-10 31
 Watford 33 6 10 17 29 52 -23 4-6-6 2-4-11 28

 Aston Villa 33 7 6 20 36 62 -26 5-3-8 2-3-12 27
 Bournemouth 33 7 6 20 32 59 -27 4-5-7 3-1-13 27
 Norwich City 33 5 6 22 25 61 -36 4-3-10 1-3-12 21

Chelsea cruises past relegation-worried Watford

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Chelsea got goals from Willian, Ross Barkley, and Olivier Giroud in a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

USMNT star Christian Pulisic drew a penalty for Willian’s goal and helped set up Barkley’s third goal in his fourth-straight start in 10 days.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch – USMNT star shines again ]

Chelsea moves back atop Manchester United for fourth place, one point behind Leicester City.

Watford’s 28 points are one point better than two of the bottom three, with Aston Villa holding a match-in-hand and set to visit Liverpool on Sunday.

[ MORE: Pulisic reacts to Hazard comparisons ]


Three things we learned

1. Chelsea holds serve in top four fight: Wins for Manchester United and Leicester City meant the Blues could finish the day in either fourth or fifth. The decisive performance was a welcome one for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard following a late loss at West Ham earlier in the week. The Blues meet Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, and Norwich City before Liverpool and Wolves make for a dangerous final two league fixtures.

2. Pearson plans for midweek: Norwich City looks as down-and-out as any club right now, so it’s not likely a coincidence that Etienne Capoue and Troy Deeney came off the pitch with the score line 2-0 and 26 minutes to play. Watford will aim to find points in its home ground against a poor Canaries side on Tuesday.

3. Kante limps off: While Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have remained fit and available to Lampard, the manager won’t be happy that N’Golo Kante’s injury-hit season saw a possible concern with a 78th-minute sub for Billy Gilmour.

Man of the Match

It was either Pulisic or Willian, and we’re going to go with the Brazilian if only because CP gets a lot of run in these parts.


Chelsea – Watford recap

Christian Pulisic came out of the gates in lively form and within minutes Olivier Giroud had an odd-angled chance to head toward goal.

The Blues were all over Watford for the first 20 minutes, Pulisic, Willian, and Giroud very involved in the display.

Giroud put the Blues on the board with an experienced, spinning strike in the 29th minute. Getting the ball off a Ross Barkley feed, the Frenchman hit a cushioned low shot across his body and just inside the far post.

Pulisic played a role in the second goal, dribbling to the end line and getting manhandled by an out-of-his-mind Christian Kabasele on his cut back toward play. Penalty, Willian. 2-0.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

The second half was mostly Chelsea, too, and Willian forced Foster into a terrific 68th-minute save and corner kick to the Blues.

Watford had their moments late, including a Danny Welbeck effort that Kepa Arrizabalaga did very well to save.

Pulisic had a shot blocked in the 90th minute, and Will Hughes couldn’t convert a Welbeck-inspired play at the other end.

Instead, the American would settle for a “hockey assist,” slipping the ball to Azpilicueta inside the 18 before the Chelsea veteran set up Barkley’s exclamation point.

Chelsea – Watford preview: How to watch, stream info, prediction, odds

Chelsea - Watford preview
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Chelsea – Watford preview: Chelsea looks to rebound from a surprise loss to a relegation candidate when it hosts another scrapper on Saturday at Stamford Bridge (start time, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

The Blues failed to take hold of third place after falling 3-2 at West Ham earlier this week, and will now face an ornery and underachieving Hornets side.

STREAM CHELSEA-WATFORD LIVE ONLINE

Watford’s 28 points are enough to be outside the drop zone, but just. Aston Villa and Bournemouth have 27 points each and also face top-four chasing sides this weekend.


Team news

Andre Gray, Domingos Quina and Nathaniel Chalobah are available for Watford after being scratched from the Hornets last start for a reported quarantine infraction.

Christian Pulisic makes his fourth start in 10 days for Chelsea, who deploys Olivier Giroudat center forward.

What they’re saying

Chelsea’s Frank Lampard on the loss to West Ham: “Not the story of our season, but we have had many of these moments. Chance to go third but you have to do every part of the game to get them. The players in those moments have to show an extra mentality to get through a game like this. I have seen us play great games, but then I have seen opportunities to jump teams or close points, but we haven’t taken them. It shows the work we have to do.”

Troy Deeney on Watford’s struggles near the bottom three: “We’ve had chats. Everyone was frustrated so we’ve tried to park it as quickly as we can in regard to moving onto the next one, but there’s certainly been a lot of things said. It’s important we are able to do that as it doesn’t help anybody if people are not speaking up and saying what’s on their minds, so we had to get to a point where we understood everyone wants to win, no-one’s playing bad on purpose, but if you don’t get to the required standards you’re going to get called out and that’s ultimately what’s happened.”

Odds and ends

The odds reflect the task at hand for Watford at +750. A Chelsea win is -235.

Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham scored in a 2-1 Chelsea win at Vicarage Road earlier this season.

Prediction

The Blues bounce back, though not without warts in another 2-1 win.

Ings powers Southampton past worried Watford

Watford - Southampton recap
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
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Danny Ings pulled to within one goal of the Premier League lead after scoring a brace in Southampton’s 3-1 defeat of Watford on Sunday.

Ings’ 18 goals are one back of Jamie Vardy and one more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah.

A Jan Bednarek own goal gave Watford 10 minutes to tie the match, but James Ward-Prowse’s pristine free kick restored the 2-goal lead within minutes.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

The match started with inauspicious news, Watford omitted three players for “health reasons” after reports of a 20-person party at Andre Gray’s house attended by Domingos Quina and Nathaniel Chalobah.

Southampton moves 13th with 40 points, while Watford’s 28 remain just one point above the drop zone.


Three things we learned

1. Gold-Ings boot (TM): Ings’ first goal was wonderful and his second aided by Watford, but there’s no denying that he’s firmly in the Golden Boot race with six matches to play. None of his 18 league goals this season have come from the spot and it would be a wonderful story if his injury-riddled years at Liverpool give way to etching his name in PL lore in the same season the Reds finally lift the Premier League trophy.

2. Ward-Prowse delivers the goods: There are few players in England more deadly standing over a free kick, and even fewer as overlooked or unknown as Ward-Prowse. The Southampton captain’s late goal was a marvelous, powerful, dipping bit of goodness.

3. Watford’s path very clear: The Hornets will have wanted all the points here, but it’s clear that a 9-day span will define their season. After meeting Chelsea next, Watford meets Norwich City, Newcastle, and West Ham between July 7-15. When you consider the season concludes with Man City and Arsenal, the Hornets need to get their act together now. No more parties, gents.

Man of the Match

It’s gotta be Ings, doesn’t it?


Watford – Southampton recap

Danny Ings set up Shane Long for a 15th-minute shot that was driven well but right at Ben Foster.

Ings’ first goal was a beauty, the Golden Boot-chaser dribbling to the center of the box and stroking a sweet strike inside the post.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

His second was most certainly the product of a decent effort from him and a poor one from Ben Foster.

Bednarek was under pressure from Danny Welbeck when he redirected a cross into his own goal, but Ward-Prowse answered with vigor.

Che Adams nearly made it 4-1 late but Ben Foster was on the case.