Ten Man Watford Defeat Swansea
Sat 12th Sep - 3:00pm
Watford picked up their first victory since their return to the Premierleague with a 1-0 home victory over Swansea. Odion Ighalo celebrated his new five year contract with the winning goal after an hour but the Hornets had to see out the last 25 minutes with ten men after Valon Behrami was dismissed for stamping on Andre Ayew.
Quique Flores made just one change from the Watford side that lost 2-0 at Manchester City before the International break with Ikechi Anya replacing Jose Holebas at left back.
Swansea boss Gary Monk restored fit again Jefferson Montero to the squad after injury though he was only named as a substitute.
Watford started the game with Odion Ighalo partnering Troy Deeney rather than playing in a deeper role as in previous games. And the Hornets benefited from the more attacking approach as they had a number of near misses in the first half.
Watford first went close after eight minutes when Ikechi Anya found Jose Manuel Jurado on the left before he cut inside and crossed towards Troy Deeney but the ball was cleared.
Watford's first shot of the game came after eleven minutes when Anya's cross was cleared to the edge of the box where Sebastien Prodl controlled the ball before volleying just over the bar.
After 20 minutes the hosts had another effort when Allan Nyom broke down the right and crossed for Deeney who controlled the ball but fired just wide from the edge of the box.
The Hornets were getting closer and went close again moments later after a good passing move Almen Abdi collected the ball on the edge of the box before seeing his shot deflect just wide of the post.
The visitors sparked into life moments after Watford's latest effort and went close to taking the lead. Bafetimbi Gomis held the ball up on the edge of the box before turning Prodl and shooting goalwards but he was denied by a good save from Heurelho Gomes.
The Swans had another chance to take the lead as the first half drew to a close after Anya was dispossessed by his own corner flag by Andre Ayew who drove into the box and found Gomis but his shot was well saved by Gomes.
The last chance of the first half fell to the hosts as Ighalo showed tremendous strength to hold off three Swansea defenders as he ran into the box but his shot was saved by the legs of Fabianski.
Half Time: Watford 0-0 Swansea City
The opening to the second half was played at a more sedate pace than most of the first with the visitors dominating the ball but struggling to create any opportunities against a well organised defence.
The first chance of the second half fell to Watford and it was Abdi who picked the ball up inside the Swansea half and took a shot at goal but it lacked the power to test Fabianski.
However, the score did not remain 0-0 for long as just moments later the Hornets took the lead. A long ball forward from Gomes was knocked down into the box by Deeney for Ighalo to run onto and side foot low past Fabianski into the back of the net.
The hosts were not in the lead for long before they suffered a setback when Valon Behrami was shown a straight red card by referee Robert Madley. Behrami was challenged by Ayew in the middle of the pitch with the Swiss International raising his studs and appearing to stamp on the Swansea striker.
Despite being down to ten men it was Watford who created the next good chance of the game. A good run forward by Anya opened up the Swansea defence before Etienne Capoue saw a shot blocked and Jurado volleyed the rebound just wide.
As the game wore on Swansea became more and more dominant as the Hornets defence looked to hold out for the victory. Shelvey tested Gomes with a long range effort that nearly spilled from the Brazilian's grasp.
Watford nearly sealed the game on the counter-attack in the second of the seven minutes added time when Jurado raced clear and found substitute Steven Berghuis in the box but he shot straight at Fabianski.
There was one final chance for the Swans to equalise when a deep cross found Federico Fernandez in the box but he headed harmlessly over the bar.
Full Time: Watford 1-0 Swansea City
Watford: Gomes, Nyom, Prodl, Cathcart, Anya, Abdi (Watson), Behrami, Capoue, Jurado, Deeney (Diamanti), Ighalo (Berghuis)
Subs Not Used: Arlauskis (GK), Holebas, Dyer, Ibarbo
Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork (Ki), Shelvey, Sigurdsson (Eder), Routledge, Ayew (Montero), Gomis
Subs Not Used: Nordfeldt, Bartley, Rangel, Emnes
Att: 20,057 (2,194 Swansea)
Ref Mr Robert Madley