Player Ratings: Watford v Southampton

Jacob Culshaw analyses each Watford players’ contribution during the 0-0 draw with Southampton at Vicarage Road on Sunday, giving each one a rating out of 10.

Heurelho Gomes: Gomes didn’t have too many difficult saves to make, but looked assured when he was called into action. The most notable of which saw the Brazilian deny Graziano Pellé at his near post in what was a comfortable afternoon. He will be important player for Watford this season. 7

Allan Nyom: Another energetic display from the full-back, who looked very tidy defensively, more so than he did against West Brom in fact. Nyom showed good composure and was rarely caught out of position, while also supporting Jurado by making several attacking runs down the right-hand side. 7.5

Sebastian Prödl: The imposing Austrian turned in another solid performance at the back, reducing arguably one of the best aerial players in the league (Pellé) to scraps. 6.5

Craig Cathcart: Cathcart and Prödl have looked extremely comfortable in their first three Premier League games together and hopefully this will continue throughout the season. He’s quickly becoming Watford’s ‘Mr Dependable’ but will have Uruguay international Miguel BrIitos nipping at his heels from now on. I find it hard to believe that the former Blackpool man won’t hold down a regular spot, however. 7

Jose Holebas: Holebas didn’t feature against West Brom, so was making his home debut against Southampton. The Greece international clearly likes going forward and saw a sweetly-struck effort that looked to be heading for the bottom corner blocked by his team-mate Troy Deeney.  He was substituted at half-time by the new signing Alessandro Diamanti, which saw Ikechi Anya pushed to the left-back position. 6

Etienne Capoue: Capoue showed great desire and determination throughout Sunday’s game. His athleticism is commendable and, alongside Behrami, he broke up play well before attempting to kick-start the transition from defence to attack. The Frenchman spurned the best chance of the game on 68 minutes when Deeney’s flick on from a Diamanti corner made its way to him at the back post, but he could not keep his effort down when it looked harder to put over than score! 6.5

Valon Behrami: Behrami was a rock in the middle of the park. The Switzerland international never shied away from a challenge and worked hard throughout, which has seen him emerge as a bit of a fan favourite since joining the Hornets in the summer. 7.5

Ikechi Anya: The Scotland international gave, in my opinion, one of his best performances in a Watford shirt. He has noticeably raised his game a level last season and was a real menace down the flanks, committing defenders and running at them with pace. Anya also showed his versatility by playing two different positions. 8.5 (MotM)

Odion Ighalo: Ighalo was very ineffective against Southampton and seeming failed to understand the role he was playing; not knowing whether he was supposed to be ahead of Deeney or behind him. Missed a golden first-half chance at the far post which he (like Capoue) won’t want to see again. 5.5

Jose Manuel Jurado: A bit of a let-down, compared to his last home game for the Hornets. The previous week the Spaniard was running at the full-backs with pace and commitment, on Sunday less so. Although he linked up well with Nyom, Jurado didn’t look natural playing out wide and always looked to go on his right foot which became predictable. For me, it was a disappointing performance. 6

Troy Deeney: A tough afternoon for Watford’s captain. Deeney had half chances blocked Jose Fonté, and didn’t really have a sniff at goal. He was extremely isolated and surely would have benefitted from the introduction of Vydra who could have run in behind the Saints’ defence. 6.5

Subsitutes

Alessandro Diamanti: Looked to get involved, at every opportunity on the left and delivered some inviting balls into the box. He looked out of match fitness, so he couldn’t have survived more than 45 minutes and it became increasingly apparent as the game went on. 6

Ben Watson: It was written in the stars when a ball came to him on the edge of the 18 yard box and it sat up on the half volley; unfortunately he skied it into Row Z. Didn’t really have time to make an impact in what was an uninspiring substitution by Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores. 5

Southampton point pleases Flores

Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores declared himself happy following his side’s goalless draw against Southampton on Sunday, despite the fact that the Premier League newcomers are still looking for their first win of the season.

The Hornets were forced to settle for their third straight draw, while it was also their second consecutive stalemate at Vicarage Road.

However, Watford boss Flores was upbeat after the match, particularly as the Saints had to change their style of play to keep his side at bay.

“It was really difficult to play against Southampton as they changed the plan, shape and system. They think about consolidating the space a little bit,” Flores told Sly Sports.

“OK, that is not bad for us if other teams are thinking ‘we can match them’, so it was difficult to find space.

“We had to think again how is it possible to attack better for us. It was difficult to create spaces, to create at times clear chances.

“But finally, we have a couple of attempts, the most important of them during the match, and we tried to win. We draw, the team is unbeaten, we are confident and we are going to grow in the future.”

Watford ‘working like a family’ says Flores

 

Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores declared himself happy with his side’s start to the 2015-16 Premier League campaign, despite the 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion at Vicarage Road.

After their 2-2 draw at Everton last weekend, the Hornets put in another strong performance but ultimately failed to take their chances in a game that they perhaps deserved to win.

Flores told Sky Sports: “I was pleased with the performance of the players. I think we had control of the match but maybe we missed a little bit with an end product to score a goal.

“But I’m really happy because we had control. It was very difficult to break West Bromwich Albion down and when you put a lot of players together in a block it is difficult.

“We played well. We tried to find the space and we switched play really well. We crossed the ball and I think we did everything we can do.

“At the moment we are really happy with the players and we are very competitive. It’s our first year in the Premier League and we are expecting for the next few months.

“I am very happy with our introduction to the Premier League. I can show my worth to this historic club in England.

“With the feelings I have with the fans and the players, we are working like a family and I am very happy in this kind of work.”

Diamanti a ‘done deal’ as Watford continue to strengthen

Watford have completed the signing of Alessandro Diamanti on a season-long loan from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

The 32-year-old has passed his medical and agreed personal terms, but the Hornets are waiting on international clearance before officially announcing the deal.

This will be the midfielder’s second spell in the Premier League; the Italian spent the 2009-10 season at West Ham United, during which he found the net seven times in 27 appearances.

Discussing the move for Diamanti, Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores said: “He is the type of player we need, as he can unlock defences.”

Diamanti, who will become the Hornets’ eleventh summer signing, spent the second half of the 2014-15 campaign on loan at Serie A side Fiorentina.

Player Ratings: Everton v Watford

A spirited and gutsy display from Watford FC saw the newly-promoted side leave Goodison Park with a point, despite squandering two leads late in the game.

Miguel Layun’s first half strike was cancelled out by a Ross Barkley thunderbolt, before Odion Ighalo’s effort on 83 minutes was cancelled out by Arouna Kone.

Any tinge of disappointment is tempered by the fact that the performance was everything we, as Watford fans, hoped for – and the fact that we’d have been delighted with a point pre-match.

Here’s how each individual got on:

Heurelho Gomes – 7

Saved impressively from Gareth Barry and Ross Barkley in the first half and was assured throughout.

Came out on top in a couple of physical encounters with Romelu Lukaku in the second half and played a part in the second goal with a giant long throw.

As expected, he’s going to be a big player for us this season.

Allan Nyom – 8

Just falls short of a defensive colleague for Man of the Match, but still a highly impressive debut.

Kevin Mirallas, on his day a top class Premier League wide player, wasn’t given a sniff by the Cameroonian, who’s physicality and presence marked him out.

May need to improve slightly with the ball at his feet, but looks a class above what we’ve seen at full-back in some time.

Sebastian Prodl – 7

The first giant of a centre-half at the club since Fitz Hall, the Hornets finally have a centre-half who can deal with the physical threat of monstrous centre-forwards.

There were question marks over Romelu Lukaku’s fitness but he was still a handful, and Prodl looked totally assured.

His pace wasn’t really tested but another encouraging debut.

Craig Cathcart – 8 – Forza Watford! MotM

Picked up from exactly where he left off last season and shaded the Man of the Math award. Cathcart was never flustered and mopped up any of the rare errors of those around him with ease.

Recovered brilliantly when he made a mistake of his own in the second half up against Lukaku and his partnership with Prodl is a match made in heaven.

This has been going on for too long to be fluke now – Cathcart really is a class act.

Jose Holebas – 7

Easy to see why he was good enough to play for Roma last season.

It didn’t always come off at Everton, but Holebas clearly has the ability going forward to become a force from left-back.

A drive to the byline in the first half, and a jinking run inside in the second proved what he’s capable of in the attacking third and, while he defended solidly, the forwards will be hoping for more of the same.

Valon Behrami – 7.5

May well have been Man of the Match were it not for a mistake in his final few moments on the pitch which led to Everton’s first equaliser.

The bleach-blonde Swiss is a pest, someone you’d hate in the opposition’s ranks but love in your own. He ferreted around the pitch, far from limiting himself to just a holding midfield role, and won the ball back expertly on a number of occasions.

A shame that cramp(?) led to a crucial error but showed signs of becoming a cult hero.

Etienne Capoue – 6.5

His athleticism and desire was there for all to see, though you suspect that he will come into his own when his side are dominating games more than they did at Goodison.

He won the ball back effectively and was powerful in attack, but Quique Flores’ gameplan probably limited him more than he’d have liked.

We should see much more of the Frenchman at home to West Brom next week. 

Ikechi Anya – 7

A suspicion that Anya may spring a few surprises in the Premier League is justified after this display.

Pace is a defenders’ nightmare at any level and Anya has it in bucket-loads, using it to his advantage more and more as the game wore on.

Clearly the final ball is an issue, he got to the byline in the first half and, from a presentable position, couldn’t pick out a team-mate, but there’s something likeable about the Scot.

His work ethic is extraordinary and no-one could begrudge him another go next week, even with others returning from injury.

Jose Jurado – 6

After a bright start, the Spaniard’s lack of fitness and game time over the last couple of weeks caught up with him.

While there’s little doubt that he has serious class and will come good, a few flicks and tricks didn’t work out yesterday and he looked a little lightweight.

An early nutmeg was the highlight, but Flores needs to be sure he’s fully fit before selecting him for West Brom.

Miguel Layun – 7

A ‘surprise’ choice (although plenty suspected it), and a choice which was justified, in both halves of the pitch.

Picked primarily to limit the threat of Seamus Coleman, his selflessness, which was on evidence plenty of times last season, came to the fore again as he put in a strong defensive shift in support of Holebas.

Had more going forward than in the past and now has his place in Watford history as he slammed home the club’s first goal back in the Premier League.

You’d suspect he may only feature when his defensive qualities from midfield are called upon, but an encouraging start.

Troy Deeney – 7

Another selfless display from the skipper, though it seems likely that Deeney will never be able to show off his best football at this level without a partner.

He was at his most effective in the attacking third when Ighalo entered the fray, but Deeney may have to be content in the knowledge that he is doing a fine job for his side even if the goals aren’t flying in.

Perhaps a small sign of frustration at his isolation was the two-footed lunge on Brendan Galloway in the first half, which could have led to consequences far more dire than the yellow card he received.

He ruffled a few of the impressive John Stones’ feathers, winning plenty in the air, and no centre-half will fancy coming up against him in that bullish mood.

Substitutes:

Juan Carlos Paredes – 6

Looks more comfortable in midfield than at the back, but was still a little sloppy with possession.

His athleticism could be an important tool for Flores’ but unlikely to be a regular on this display.

Odion Ighalo – 7.5

Two rousing renditions of ‘Gold’ from the travelling support were dissected by Ighalo producing just that – a moment of magic which could have seen his side come away with all three points.

His classic ‘scoop’ skill left Stones and Jagielka on their backsides before he finished neatly past Tim Howard.

His verve in celebration proved what it meant to him to get off the mark at this level, and one suspects that may be the first of many.

Ben Watson – N/A

Didn’t let the team down but was hardly involved in anything of note in his 10 minutes off the bench.