Premier League
SwanseaSwansea City1WatfordWatford0

Swansea City 1-0 Watford

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport at the Liberty Stadium
Ashley Williams scores for Swansea against Watford
Ashley Williams' winner was the first league goal by a Swansea defender since March 2014

Swansea City climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a gritty win against Watford.

With new head coach Francesco Guidolin watching from the stands, Swansea edged an uneventful first half thanks to Ashley Williams' header.

Watford's Miguel Britos and Jose Manuel Jurado had chances to equalise but the hosts defended stoically to hold on.

Swansea, who are now 17th in the table, almost got a second but substitute Bafetimbi Gomis hit a post late on.

Having started the season in sparkling fashion, the Hornets' fourth straight loss leaves them eight points above the bottom three.

The spectre of relegation still looms large for Swansea but this crucial victory sees the Welsh side leapfrog Newcastle to go one point above the bottom three.

Francesco Guidolin
Francesco Guidolin (centre) will have the final say on selection while working alongside Alan Curtis

Guidolin arrives

Having won only one of their previous 11 Premier League games, Swansea sought to arrest their decline by appointing former Udinese manager Guidolin to work alongside interim boss Alan Curtis.

New Swansea boss 'provided incentive'

On an evening of new arrivals, former Chelsea midfielder Gabriele Ambrosetti also joined the Swans' coaching staff and Watford announced the signing of Morocco forward Nordin Amrabat from Malaga.

Guidolin may not have been entertained by a drab first half, but he will have been encouraged to see Swansea take the lead for only the fifth time in 22 league matches this season.

After a corner was half-cleared, Ki Sung-yueng's fine cross found Williams, who headed in firmly for the first top-flight goal by a Swansea defender since he struck against Everton in March 2014.

Watford in freefall?

Ashley Williams clearances
Ashley Williams was the stand-out defender, with this graphic illustrating the number of clearances the Swansea captain made

Watford were aiming to recapture their early-season form, a run of three successive league defeats denting what had been an unlikely push for the European places.

Strikers Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney had scored 19 league goals between them prior to this match - the same amount as the entire Swansea team - but their influence was limited as Watford created precious few chances, their best falling to Britos, who nodded narrowly over from Ben Watson's whipped free-kick.

Sensing only a third win from 18 Premier League games was within their grasp, Swansea retreated and had to withstand heavy pressure from the visitors late on.

Jurado had two good chances for the Hornets but fired wide on both occasions.

The Swansea defenders threw themselves at the flurry of Watford shots, and they almost scored a second in added time but Gomis' shot came back off the post.

Man of the match - Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams
As well as scoring a crucial - and rare - goal the Swansea captain was also imperious defensively, making several important challenges.

What the managers said

Swansea interim coach Alan Curtis: "It was massive. We talked beforehand about the need to pick up three points. I thought in the first half in particular we were excellent. Over the course of the 90 minutes, we deserved it.

"We got a little bit edgy in the second half - that's probably more the situation we find ourselves in. I thought the players were fantastic.

"It takes us out of the bottom three and psychologically that will give us a big lift."

Quique Sanchez Flores unconcerned by losing run

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores:

"We are not happy with the first half. We had to correct at half-time. In terms of the attack, it was too bad. We were playing against very good players.

"In the second half, we didn't lose the ball, we created attempts. The players are human beings and the last match was very tough against Southampton.

"I don't like to lose, players don't like to lose… All the teams are tough for us. I am really happy with my squad. Twelfth in the table is a very good position."

The stats you need to know

  • Swansea have scored 79 Premier League goals since their last by a defender in the top flight - Williams' against Everton in March 2014.
  • The Swans secured their first win in their past four top-flight games and only their second in their past 12 (D3 L7).
  • Watford have now lost four consecutive Premier League games for the first time since May 2000.
  • After winning four Premier League games in a row, the Hornets have picked up just one point in their past five top-flight games.
  • Bafetimbi Gomis has been flagged offside 33 times in the Premier League this season, 12 more than any other player.
  • Swansea have hit the woodwork a 14 times this season (the joint-highest in the Premier League with Arsenal).

Line-ups

Swansea

  • 1Fabianski
  • 26Naughton
  • 33Fernandez
  • 6Williams
  • 3Taylor
  • 24Cork
  • 7BrittonBooked at 62mins
  • 23G SigurdssonBooked at 90mins
  • 4Ki Sung-yuengSubstituted forAmatat 87'minutes
  • 15RoutledgeSubstituted forBarrowat 66'minutes
  • 10A AyewSubstituted forGomisat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Amat
  • 11Emnes
  • 13Nordfeldt
  • 18Gomis
  • 20Montero
  • 22Rangel
  • 58Barrow

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 2NyomBooked at 33minsSubstituted forParedesat 74'minutes
  • 15Cathcart
  • 3Britos
  • 16Aké
  • 29Capoue
  • 8BehramiSubstituted forOularéat 87'minutes
  • 23Watson
  • 7JuradoBooked at 22mins
  • 24Ighalo
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 5Prödl
  • 10Oularé
  • 14Paredes
  • 17Guédioura
  • 21Anya
  • 22Abdi
  • 34Arlauskis
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
20,430

Match Stats

Home TeamSwanseaAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home10
Away12
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Swansea City 1, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Swansea City 1, Watford 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

  4. Booking

    Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

  6. Post update

    Bafétimbi Gomis (Swansea City) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

  7. Post update

    Hand ball by Mamadou Obbi Oularé (Watford).

  8. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Kyle Naughton.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jurado (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Mamadou Obbi Oularé replaces Valon Behrami.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Swansea City. Jordi Amat replaces Ki Sung-yueng.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Federico Fernández (Swansea City).

  13. Post update

    Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jurado (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Leon Britton.

  16. Post update

    Offside, Swansea City. Jack Cork tries a through ball, but Bafétimbi Gomis is caught offside.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Swansea City. Bafétimbi Gomis replaces André Ayew.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ben Watson (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Federico Fernández (Swansea City).

  20. Post update

    Odion Ighalo (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Monday 18th January 2016

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal22135437211644
2Leicester22128239261344
3Man City22134543212243
4Tottenham22109338182039
5Man Utd2210752820837
6West Ham229853426835
7Stoke229672422233
8Crystal Palace229492324-131
9Liverpool228772528-331
10Southampton228683124730
11Everton2261153932729
12Watford228592525029
13West Brom227692230-827
14Chelsea226793134-325
15Bournemouth2266102637-1124
16Norwich2265112438-1423
17Swansea2257102030-1022
18Newcastle2256112439-1521
19Sunderland2253142745-1818
20Aston Villa2226141838-2012
View full Premier League table

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