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Brighton 0-0 Watford: Ben Foster makes string of saves to earn Hornets draw

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Gracia praises 'amazing' Foster after stalemate at Brighton

Watford manager Javi Gracia said goalkeeper Ben Foster produced a "special performance" after preventing Brighton from claiming their first league win of 2019.

Foster pulled off a string of impressive saves in the goalless draw at the Amex Stadium and the Hornets boss said the 36-year-old is a "very important player for us".

"He has an amazing character and ambition, and his experience is very good for us," said Gracia.

In an uninspiring first half, the veteran keeper kept out the only attempt on target when he clawed Jurgen Locadia's header to safety.

Brighton produced an improved display in the second half but they had to wait until the 79th minute for Locadia to direct another header on target.

However, Foster pulled off another good save with a strong right hand to tip the ball behind for a corner.

He then somehow scrambled an overhead effort by Shane Duffy off his own line from the resulting set-piece, to earn a point for the visitors.

The result sees Brighton remain in 13th while Watford move above Everton into eighth.

Brighton look short of confidence in attack

The hosts looked the more likely side to get on the scoreboard as Chris Hughton's team had 21 attempts at goal - compared to Watford's five.

However, while they met an inspired Foster in the opposition goal, Brighton only produced four shots on target from their 21 attempts.

And it seems to be a reoccurring theme with the Seagulls of late as they have only scored once in their last four home games in all competitions.

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Hughton 'couldn't have asked for any more' after Watford draw

The hosts are creating chances and Pascal Gross - who makes up for what he lacks in pace with technical ability - is influential in their movement forward as the midfielder made 10 key passes.

But Brighton were unable to convert those passes because of inaccuracy or good goalkeeping as Lewis Dunk headed wide from close-range in the first half, and Locadia was kept out twice by Foster.

Nevertheless, Hughton was "pleased with the performance" after his side claimed a point at home against the team currently in eighth.

Foster shines as Watford consolidate top-half status

This was not a game for the purists as both sides struggled to get a foothold on proceedings in the first half.

Locadia's header was the only effort on target in the opening 45 minutes and Foster, 36, showed his agility by diving to his right and palming the ball behind.

Brighton forced the agenda after the interval, but Foster not only made four crucial saves, he was also a commanding presence inside his area.

The visiting keeper was alert off his line and won two free-kicks after punching the ball clear deep inside the box during the second half.

Having performed heroics with his hands and feet, Foster then completed another accomplished stop with his body in the final stages.

Second-half substitute Florin Andone could only smash his effort straight at Watford's number one, having gone through on goal.

Speaking after the game Foster said he was most impressed with his sliding clearance off the line, as well as paying testament to his back four who "had to stand strong".

Man of the match - Ben Foster (Watford)

Ben Foster
Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster made four crucial saves at the Amex Stadium

'I would be more frustrated if we couldn't create' - what they said

Brighton manager Chris Hughton to BBC MOTD: "We looked for a reaction from the team after the Fulham game. I couldn't have asked for more.

"We were very good and couldn't have done any more to win or score. Their keeper was in good form.

"They're a good side, they defend well and caused us problems. On the bulk of the game we were the better side. I'm disappointed and frustrated but not frustrated with the endeavours of our team.

"Maybe a lack of confidence and quality, luck or fortune [for some players]. Maybe they need a scruffy one to go in. What you need is to make sure you get in those positions. If we hadn't created chances today, I'd be more worried and frustrated. On another day, the goals will come."

Watford manager Javi Gracia to BBC Sport: "After the game I think the point is good. But we wanted to win today. I think in the first half we had game under control and didn't suffer a lot.

"But in the second half when game was open, they created more chances than us.

"We tried but we didn't play offensively."

On the prospects of a top-half finish: "At the end of the season, I don't only want to see the table to be satisfied with my players. If we do our best, I think we have many chances to achieve something special. Not only if we finish ninth, 10th or 11th - other things are more important."

Gracia sets Premier League record for Watford - the stats

  • Brighton have failed to score in three consecutive home games in all competitions (W0 D2 L1) for the first time since January 2016.
  • This was Watford manager Javi Gracia's 39th Premier League game in charge of the Hornets, more than any other manager for the club in the competition.
  • Watford failed to direct a single shot on target for the only the second time in their last 53 Premier League games, and for the first time in 11 in the competition.
  • Brighton have never lost a Premier League game in February (W2 D2), one of just two teams to be unbeaten in a single month in the competition's history (Blackpool W2 D0 L0 in December).
  • Two of Watford's last three Premier League games have finished goalless, as many as in their previous 57 in the competition.
  • Brighton have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games, drawing three and losing six.

What's next?

Brighton travel to West Brom for an FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday, 6 February (20:05 GMT). Watford host Everton in the Premier League on Saturday, 9 February (15:00).

Line-ups

Brighton

  • 1Ryan
  • 22Montoya
  • 4Duffy
  • 5Dunk
  • 3Bong
  • 13Groß
  • 24PröpperBooked at 33mins
  • 8Bissouma
  • 20March
  • 17MurraySubstituted forAndoneat 72'minutes
  • 9Locadia

Substitutes

  • 7Kayal
  • 10Andone
  • 11Knockaert
  • 14Balogun
  • 16Jahanbakhsh
  • 27Button
  • 33Burn

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 2Janmaat
  • 6Mariappa
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25Holebas
  • 8Cleverley
  • 29Capoue
  • 19Hughes
  • 12SemaSubstituted forQuinaat 81'minutes
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forGrayat 70'minutes
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 3Britos
  • 11Masina
  • 14Chalobah
  • 17Peñaranda
  • 18Gray
  • 20Quina
Referee:
Simon Hooper
Attendance:
30,414

Match Stats

Home TeamBrightonAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home21
Away5
Shots on Target
Home4
Away0
Corners
Home7
Away0
Fouls
Home15
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Watford 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Watford 0.

Attempt missed. Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jürgen Locadia.

Attempt blocked. Pascal Groß (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Solly March.

Attempt missed. Florin Andone (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Pascal Groß.

Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Attempt missed. Will Hughes (Watford) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Etienne Capoue.

Attempt saved. Florin Andone (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Solly March.

Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Tom Cleverley.

Attempt blocked. Pascal Groß (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Martín Montoya.

Attempt missed. Jürgen Locadia (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gaëtan Bong.

Foul by Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Domingos Quina replaces Ken Sema.

Attempt missed. Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Pascal Groß with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Ben Foster.

Attempt saved. Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lewis Dunk with a headed pass.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Ben Foster.

Attempt saved. Jürgen Locadia (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Pascal Groß with a cross.

Attempt missed. Jürgen Locadia (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Pascal Groß.

Foul by Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Ben Foster (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Florin Andone (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Adrian Mariappa (Watford).

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Davy Pröpper tries a through ball, but Florin Andone is caught offside.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Tom Cleverley.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Florin Andone replaces Glenn Murray.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Andre Gray replaces Gerard Deulofeu.

Attempt missed. Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Pascal Groß with a cross following a set piece situation.

Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Ken Sema (Watford).

Foul by Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Tom Cleverley (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Pascal Groß with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Attempt blocked. Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Martín Montoya.

Hand ball by Will Hughes (Watford).

Attempt missed. Ken Sema (Watford) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Daryl Janmaat with a cross.

Foul by Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool24194155144161
2Tottenham25190651242757
3Man City24182463194456
4Chelsea25155545232250
5Arsenal24145550331747
6Man Utd24136548351345
7Wolves2511593332138
8Watford259793334-134
9Everton2596103636033
10Bournemouth25103123744-733
11Leicester2495103030032
12West Ham2494113037-731
13Brighton2576122736-927
14Crystal Palace2575132633-726
15Newcastle2566132133-1224
16Southampton2559112742-1524
17Burnley2566132646-2024
18Cardiff2564152246-2422
19Fulham2545162555-3017
20Huddersfield2525181346-3311
View full Premier League table

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