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Aug 19, 2019, 7:34:00 AM

Watford improve in Everton defeat

Watford showed significant improvement in their second Premier League fixture of the season on Saturday, but ultimately lost 1-0 to a tough Everton team.

Speaking after the game, Everton manager Marco Silva, who previously managed Watford, said that he wanted to turn Goodison Park into a fortress. The Toffees have now won their last five home games in a run of form stretching back into last season, and astonishingly, they haven’t conceded a goal at home since a 2-0 defeat against Manchester City in February.

Bernard scored the opening goal, on ten minutes, and despite consistent pressure from Watford in the second half, the Hornets were unable to force a goal. However, they can take some credit from the way that they played against a team with a strong home record, and showed marked improvement from their opening-day defeat at home to Brighton, particularly in the second half.

The closest they came to levelling was through a header by new signing Craig Dawson, but his effort hit the bar. Watford captain Troy Deeney also came close in the second half. Put through on goal, he was denied by a fine save from Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Deeney was involved again late on in the game, helping to set up a chance for Abdoulaye Doucouré. A powerful shot from Deeney was deflected by Michael Keane, and fell for Doucouré inside the area, but the midfielder pulled his shot wide of the Everton goal.

The defeat for Watford was their sixth in a row in all competitions, including their loss in the final of the FA Cup last season. However, speaking after the game, manager Javi Gracia, who said that he wanted his players to be hungry for improvement, focused on the positives:

“I think we deserved a better result. We had more possession and more shots on target, we dominated some spells, but we didn't score, and we need to try better next time.”

Other positives included the appearance of the former Manchester United and Arsenal player Danny Welbeck. The 28-year-old started the game on the bench, but came on as a second-half substitute, and showed enough to encourage Watford fans that he will be able to add a cutting edge to their attack when he is fully match-fit. The Hornets will have an ideal opportunity to get off the mark this season with a home game against West Ham next weekend.

Words: Josh Dixon

Images: PA