Watford And Southampton In Stalemate
Sun 23rd Aug - 4:00pm
Watford encountered a frustrating afternoon at Vicarage Road as they were held to a second 0-0 draw in a row by visitors Southampton in a drab game. Despite looking a little predictable in attack the Hornets had the best chance of the game midway through the second half but could not find the net.
Quique Sanchez Flores made just one change to the starting line-up from last weekends draw with West Brom by recalling left back Jose Holebas in place of Miguel Layun and restoring Ikechi Anya to a wide midfield position.
Following last weekends defeat to Everton, Saints boss Ronald Koeman made two changes to his team along with a change in formation to 3-5-2. Steven Caulker came in for Dusan Tadic to bolster the backline whilst Oriol Romeu replaced Shane Long.
Both sides made a decent start to the game without really looking like scoring. Jose Manuel Jurado looked to open up the Southampton defence but his ball to Ikechi Anya was just over hit.
The first shot of the game came after ten minutes when Odion Ighalo held the ball up well on the edge of the Southampton penalty area found Allan Nyom but the defender shot wide from distance.
Southampton kept the ball nicely but rarely threatened going forward until the twenty minute mark when a good ball forward from Victor Wanyama found Sadio Mane in behind the Watford defence. Heurelho Gomes brought him down as the pair collided but the Saints striker was flagged offside.
Following that collision Mane picked up an injury that hampered him for the next five minutes, going down to receive treatment on a couple of occasions, before being substituted.
The next chance of the game also fell the way of the visitors when good build up play saw Cedric Soares receive the ball wide and cross for substitute Shane Long but he could not guide his header on goal.
A few minutes later and Southampton had another half chance when an in swinging corner was met by Graziano Pelle but he could only tamely head straight at Gomes.
The best chance of the half fell the way of the Hornets as half time approached. Jurado picked the ball up centrally and found Anya who went past his man and crossed low across the box only for Ighalo to miss the ball as it went through his legs at the back post.
Half Time: Watford 0-0 Southampton
Quique Sanchez Flores decided to introduce new signing Alessandro Diamanti at half time with the Italian coming on in place of Jose Holebas with Anya switching to left back as Watford looked for more options in attack.
However, it was the visitors who had the first two chances of the second half. Firstly, Pelle found space in a wide position inside the box and fired goalwards but saw his effort parried over by Gomes. From the resulting corner Long got his head to the ball at the near post but could only put the ball over the bar.
The Hornets continued to press forward in the second half but with little joy as most of the play seemed to breakdown as they entered the final third. Troy Deeney did have a rare sniff at goal when he latched onto a loose ball but saw his effort blocked.
Watford did have the next chance of the game which was also the best chance of the game. Diamanti's in-swinging corner was flicked on by Deeney to the back post where Etienne Capoue headed over from about four yards out.
The game became more open as both teams showed endeavour to win it. Wanyama tested Gomes with a long range effort from 25-yards but the Brazilian held on well.
There was one late chance for the Hornets to snatch a winner when Diamanti's deep free kick was cleared only as far as substitute Ben Watson but he fired over the bar.
Full Time: Watford 0-0 Southampton
Watford: Gomes, Nyom, Prodl, Cathcart, Holebas (Diamanti), Capoue, Behrami (Watson), Anya, Ighalo, Jurado, Deeney
Subs Not Used: Arlauskis (GK), Britos, Layun, Abdi, Forestieri
Southampton: Stekelenburg, Caulker, Fonte, Yoshida, Soares, Romeu, Wanyama, Davies (Ward-Prowse), Targett, Mane (Long), Pelle (Rodriguez)
Subs Not Used: Davis (GK), Martina, Juanmi, Tadic
Att: 20,166 (1,938 visitors)
Ref: Mr Andre Marriner