The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW35): Watford 2-1 Newcastle
Watford sit three points above Bournemouth in the relegation race and would like to use their home advantage to extend that gap. Watford have not lost to Newcastle since returning to the Premier League, with the Toon’s injury problems improved with captain Jamaal Lascelles and talisman Allan Saint-Maximin back in the starting eleven.
The Hornets were the team to start more positive, with them trying to find space between the Newcastle defence. The first real chance of the game was created by the home team, which saw Danny Welbeck hit the post in the 14th minute after connecting with a cross from the right wing, and the resulting shot had to be cleared off the line by Jamaal Lascelles. This scare woke up Newcastle, with the visiting team more aggressive in getting the ball up the pitch. Shelvey and Lascelles began playing exquisite long balls that Watford couldn’t deal with.
The change of tide in this game was concerning for Nigel Pearson, especially when a corner in the 23rd minute reached the head Fernandez who flicked the ball on and found a lurking Dwight Gayle tap it into an empty net. Watford were made to pay for wasting their best chance. Newcastle could have doubled their lead in the 34th minute through Saint-Maximin who collected another deep pass from Shelvey, and the Frenchman powered ahead of the Watford defenders into their box, and were it not for a smart low save from Ben Foster to thwart the in-form winger.
Newcastle were the brighter of the teams in the start of the second half. Saint-Maximin’s pressing won the ball back in a dangerous area, and the Frenchman and Matt Ritchie both delivered dangerous cross, with Ritchie’s finding Dwight Gayle who shot over the ball. On the next play, Kiko Femenia is fouled in the box by a chasing Matt Ritchie, with the ref awarding the penalty. Deeney steps up and powers in the penalty to level things. The performance hadn’t warranted a goal, but Watford won’t care what puts them level in this game.
Watford found momentum in the game after the penalty, and they could have taken the lead after Fernandez lost the ball at the edge of his own box, with Deeney picking up the ball, and his shot found the diving arms of Dubravka to keep things level. This was their best open play opportunity with a free shot on goal. Doucouré also had a chance from range that just went over the bar, with the Hornets more involved the game and causing Newcastle problems.
Watford’s ascendancy saw a hotly contested second half, and in the 80th minute Manquillo brings down Sarr in the penalty box for another penalty. Deeney steps up once again and delivers an identical penalty, with Dubravka diving the same way again. An absolute carbon copy for the first penalty. Manquillo was reckless in bringing down Sarr and was moved over to left-back as Hughes rung in the changes, and the first thing he did was give away a penalty. Newcastle have given Watford the lead in the second half.
Newcastle failed to get back into the game, it was typified by two moments of Troy Deeney that defined this win for Watford. This was a seasoning defining win for the Hornets, with the bottom three effectively decided due to this result.
Goal Contributions: Watford
Goals: Deeney (2)
Assists: Femenia (1), Sarr (1)
Goal Contributions: Newcastle United
Goals: Gayle (1)
Assists: Fernandez (1)
Man of the Match: Troy Deeney (WAT)
The game was decided by key moments, there weren’t many chances of note in this game, and two thirds of the goals were decided by penalties. The Welbeck moment hitting the bar, Gayle’s goal, and these two penalties defined this game. Watford found rhythm in the game once Deeney netted the equaliser and capitalised from poor defending from their opponents. Deeney is credited with the Man of the Match because he had to stand up and be counted to give Watford a chance, and he did.
WAT 2-1 NEW - Insight and Analysis:
This game defined the saying: football is a game of two halves.
Newcastle were great today in the first half, the loss against Man City was just a very predictable blip against the most expensive side ever assembled. Just like their performance against Bournemouth, they were relentless driving forward. Saint-Maximin and Almirón are a real threat on the counter, and there was one moment Almirón fearlessly ran most of the pitch after defending a corner, and Watford were scrambling.
Their downfall in the second half underpins one of the major issues with Steve Bruce in charge…they aren’t a resilient unit. Newcastle have been played off the park so many times this year, and the results have papered over some alarming cracks in the team. Newcastle in the second half was more familiar with what most Toon supporters have come to know as well.
The second half saw Newcastle stagger and not capitalise on their lead. Watford turned it on and knew that if they got their men in the box Newcastle would be vulnerable in their box. Over the last few weeks, I said that Welbeck should be playing now, and the only chance in the first half fell to him, without him they wouldn’t even have that. His drive and energy have gotten his team out of a tight spot and has been Watford’s best player in their last three games.
Venue: Vicarage Road Stadium
Manager: Nigel Pearson
GK: B. Foster
DEF: K. Femenía
DEF: C. Kabasele
DEF: C. Dawson
DEF: A. Masina
MID: E. Capoue
MID: W. Hughes
MID: I. Sarr
MID: A. Doucouré
MID: D. Welbeck (Gray 90+2)
FOR: T. Deeney (Cleverley 85')
Gomes, Mariappa, Cleverley, Chalobah, Cathcart, João Pedro, Gray, Pussetto, Pereyra
Manager: Steve Bruce
GK: M. Dubravka
DEF: J. Manquillo
DEF: J. Lascelles (Lazaro 87')
DEF: F. Fernández
DEF: D. Rose (Krafth '78)
MID: A. Saint-Maximin
MID: F. Schär
MID: J. Shelvey
MID: M. Ritchie (Joelinton 72')
MID: M. Almirón
FOR: D. Gayle (Bentaleb 78')
Joelinton, Muto, Krafth, Yedlin, Lazaro, Darlow, Atsu, Bentaleb, M. Longstaff
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