Premier League
Watford1Everton0

Watford 1-0 Everton: Hornets earn gritty victory

Andre Gray
Andre Gray's tap-in was his first league goal since September.

Watford held off late pressure from Everton to claim a hard-fought victory over their former manager Marco Silva.

Much was promised of a game that saw Silva return to Vicarage Road for the first time, but neither side was able to take a strangle-hold of the game.

Half-time substitute Andre Gray scored the only goal of the match midway through the second half when he tapped in Will Hughes' low cross following a fine volleyed pass from Craig Cathcart.

In an otherwise tame affair, tempers flared after the final whistle when Kurt Zouma was shown two yellow cards for dissent.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had earlier been alert to keep out Etienne Capoue and Gerard Deulofeu, while Ben Foster saved well to deny Cenk Tosun.

And while the Toffees did twice rattle the woodwork in the second period - through Gylfi Sigurdsson's deft flick and Lucas Digne's free-kick - they did not apply any real pressure until the closing stages.

Substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin twice should have done better with headers, but the Hornets deserve credit for how they defended.

The result consigns Everton to their third straight Premier League defeat, keeping them ninth, while Watford move four points clear of the Toffees in eighth.

Silva's unhappy return

Media playback is not supported on this device

Kurt Zouma can't understand sending-off decision - Marco Silva

Saturday marked Silva's first return to Vicarage Road since he was sacked by the Hornets at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

And while the Everton boss got the last laugh in December, when his former club were denied all three points at Goodison Park by Digne's 96th-minute equaliser, he certainly did not this time.

His team were lacklustre throughout and could have gone behind in the opening moments when Pickford made a fine save with his head to keep out Etienne Capoue from point-blank range.

Deulofeu also saw a good chance blocked in the first half. But for all their efforts, the Hornets' opener did not come until the 65th minute, when Gray, who replaced Ken Sema at half-time, tapped home only his fourth league goal of the season.

Before that, the hosts had been slightly fortunate early in the second half when Sigurdsson's delicate lob hit the crossbar following a penalty area scramble.

They rode their luck again as the match drew to a close when Digne almost grabbed another late equaliser, but the woodwork came to Watford's rescue.

However, Javi Gracia's side deserved their victory - which will no doubt bring them a great deal of pleasure at Silva and Everton's expense.

Everton's struggles continue

In his pre-match news conference, Silva said Troy Deeney's derogatory comments at a midweek Fans' Forum event may have given his players motivation.

But that did not appear to be the case at Vicarage Road as his side struggled to gain a foothold in the first half and could have gone behind on more than one occasion if it had not been for Pickford.

Cenk Tosun, who returned to the starting XI alongside Sigurdsson and Richarlison, did have two half-chances in the opening 45 minutes, but neither seriously troubled Ben Foster in the Hornets' goal.

And it did not get much better for Silva's side in the second half as Richarlison, playing against his former club, struggled to make an impact and was substituted on the hour, while the uncharacteristically quiet Sigurdsson was hooked shortly after.

The Toffees did improve following Bernard's introduction as the skilful Brazilian was able to break lines and drive forward where Richarlison had failed to do so, but for all his efforts they could not find an equaliser.

Defeat means Everton have now lost three consecutive league games for the first time since January 2018, and pressure is mounting on Silva.

Man of the match - Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford)

Abdoulaye Doucoure
Doucoure stood out in a game short of quality. He made more passes than any of his team-mates (39), won four tackles and made two interceptions and clearances.

'There was extra spice in the game' - what they said

Media playback is not supported on this device

Watford played better with two strikers - Gracia

Watford goalscorer Andre Gray: "With the ex-manager here there was extra spice in the game - especially with the fans. It pushes you on.

"In the second half we had that edge. We didn't play that well but we got over the line.

"Regardless of the 'edge' of the match, we would have gone for it because we were desperate for the win."

Everton skipper Tom Davies: "We dug in again. We're not happy and we have to look back on this match to see what we need to change.

"We underperformed again today - we had enough chances."

Gray ends his drought - the stats

  • Andre Gray's opener for Watford ended a run of 10 Premier League appearances without a goal for the striker, his longest goal drought in the competition.
  • Watford have won their last three home Premier League games against Everton - the first time they've won three in a row against an opponent at Vicarage Road in the competition.
  • The Hornets have registered three clean sheets in their last four Premier League games, as many as they managed in their previous 21 in the competition.
  • Everton have lost seven of their last 11 Premier League away games (W3 D1), after losing just one of the six before that (W2 D3).
  • Marco Silva has won just three of his 13 Premier League games at Vicarage Road (including 12 as Watford manager).
  • With his assist, Will Hughes registered a goal involvement on home soil for the first time in his last 13 Premier League appearances, his last being an assist against Bournemouth in March 2018.

What's next?

Watford now face a trip to Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup on Friday 15 February (19:45 GMT), while Everton are not in action until they travel to Cardiff on Tuesday 26 February (19:45 GMT).

Line-ups

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 2Janmaat
  • 6Mariappa
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25HolebasBooked at 83mins
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 19HughesSubstituted forChalobahat 90'minutes
  • 12SemaSubstituted forGrayat 45'minutes
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forCleverleyat 81'minutes
  • 9DeeneyBooked at 70mins

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 8Cleverley
  • 11Masina
  • 14Chalobah
  • 17Peñaranda
  • 18Gray
  • 27Kabasele

Everton

  • 1Pickford
  • 43Kenny
  • 4Keane
  • 5ZoumaBooked at 90mins
  • 12Digne
  • 17Gueye
  • 8André GomesSubstituted forWalcottat 63'minutes
  • 30RicharlisonSubstituted forBernardat 66'minutes
  • 26Davies
  • 10G SigurdssonSubstituted forCalvert-Lewinat 74'minutes
  • 14Tosun

Substitutes

  • 11Walcott
  • 16McCarthy
  • 20Bernard
  • 22Stekelenburg
  • 23Coleman
  • 29Calvert-Lewin
  • 31Lookman
Referee:
Lee Probert
Attendance:
20,333

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamEverton
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home7
Away9
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home8
Away2
Fouls
Home21
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 1, Everton 0.

Dismissal

Second yellow card to Kurt Zouma (Everton).

Booking

Kurt Zouma (Everton) is shown the yellow card.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 1, Everton 0.

Lucas Digne (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Foul by Kurt Zouma (Everton).

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

Offside, Everton. Bernard tries a through ball, but Cenk Tosun is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lucas Digne with a cross.

Bernard (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Daryl Janmaat (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Nathaniel Chalobah replaces Will Hughes.

Idrissa Gueye (Everton) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Andre Gray (Watford).

Attempt missed. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kurt Zouma.

Corner, Everton. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Tom Davies (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Lucas Digne (Everton) hits the bar with a left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right from a direct free kick.

Booking

José Holebas (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Theo Walcott (Everton) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

Bernard (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Will Hughes (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Tom Cleverley replaces Gerard Deulofeu.

Attempt missed. Cenk Tosun (Everton) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Theo Walcott with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Idrissa Gueye (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andre Gray (Watford).

Tom Davies (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

Cenk Tosun (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Everton. Dominic Calvert-Lewin replaces Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Attempt missed. Adrian Mariappa (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by José Holebas with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Jonjoe Kenny.

Offside, Everton. Jonjoe Kenny tries a through ball, but Theo Walcott is caught offside.

Booking

Troy Deeney (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Kurt Zouma (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool26205159154465
2Man City26202468204862
3Tottenham25190651242757
4Man Utd26156552351751
5Chelsea25155545232250
6Arsenal26155653371650
7Wolves2511593332138
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester2595113031-132
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Cardiff2674152447-2325
17Newcastle2566132133-1224
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield2625191448-3411
View full Premier League table

Top Stories