Watford 2-1 Wolves: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Hornets Hold on to Pick Up Vital 3 Points

​Watford picked up a valuable three points on Wednesday as they overcame Wolves 2-1 at Vicarage Road, with the Hornets playing the final 20 minutes of the clash with ten men after Christian Kabasele was sent off. 

Watford began the game strongly, but it was the away side who created the first notable opportunity. A piercing pass was played through the hosts' defence, which Matt Doherty collected inside the area, but his effort was well kept out by Ben Foster. 

Nuno Espirito Santo's men had another opportunity to take the lead on 16 minutes, but Raul Jimenez dragged his shot wide. Nigel Pearson''s men came close midway through the first half through Ismaila Sarr, but they did move into the lead after 30 minutes. Sarr picked up the ball inside the Wolves penalty area and played a pass into the path of Gerard Deulofeu, who cooly slotted home.

The Hornets doubled their lead just five minutes into the second half as Abdoulaye Doucouré rifled into the roof of the net, following a positive run by Deulofeu. But, Wolves pulled one back through Pedro Neto's long-range deflected strike on the hour mark. 

With 20 minutes remaining, Diogo Jota raced through and was brought down by Christian Kabasele, with the referee showing the defender a yellow card. However, after a VAR review, the decision was overturned and he was sent off, leaving Watford to play the final 20 minutes with ten men. Despite this, they were able to hold on and secure a vital three points. 


Key Talking Point

Watford came into the clash with Wolves having lost just one of their four matches under the management of Nigel Pearson, the defeat coming away to Liverpool.

The Hornets ruthlessly punished Manchester United to beat them 2-0 before drawing to Sheffield United and most recently sweeping aside Aston Villa. As a result, the boss will have been desperate to see his side pick up a result to continue to build momentum. 

Nigel Pearson

They began brightly and after soaking up some sustained pressure from the away side, they quickly punished their opponents for a defensive mistake, with Sarr rushing onto the loose ball before playing in Deulofeu, who calmly curled home.

The Hornets looked to harry and press the Wolves players in the attacking half, winning the ball back on countless occasions in promising positions. While they doubled their lead, they were once again forced to defend for large periods of the second half, with Wolves eventually pulling one back.

After Kabasele's controversial sending off, the home side struggled to find a way out of their half and were made to sit deep and fight for the win. But, they were able to hold on. And how valuable could those three points be come the end of the season? 



Player Ratings

Starting XI: Foster (7); Kiko Femenía (6), Kabasele (4), Cathcart (5), Dawson (6); Capoue (6), Chalobah (5); Sarr (8*), Doucouré (6), Deulofeu (7); Deeney (6)

Substitutes: Holebas (6), Masina (6), Pereyra (N/A)

STAR PLAYER - Ismaila Sarr continued his fine form against Wolves, with another impressive display.

Starting out on the right wing, Sarr continued to make probing and penetrating diagonal runs through the heart of the opposition's defence, with Nuno's men unsure how to deal with him. 

The 21-year-old was quickest to react after Wolves gave the ball away, with Sarr showing the awareness to look up and play the ball to Deulofeu to open the scoring, rather than going for goal himself. His work off the ball was particularly impressive, forcing the away team into numerous mistakes, before looking to link up with his teammates.


Key Talking Point

Wolves were left frustrated after their controversial 1-0 defeat at Liverpool last time out. They appealed for handball in the build-up to the Reds' opener, but the goal stood. Later, Pedro Neto thought he had netted the equaliser for his side, but his goal was ruled out for a marginal offside. It was certainly a frustrating game for Nuno's men, but it was all about how they would respond.

The boss reacted by bringing star pair Adama Traore and Jimenez back into the starting lineup after they were rested last match. They began the game strongly and looked to go direct, which caused problems for the Watford defence, who didn't know how to deal with it. 

Jonny Otto,Abdoulaye Doucour

They cut through the opposition defence numerous times in the early stages and although VAR once again denied them a penalty in the first half, they were eventually made to pay for their missed chances. A defensive mistake gifted the ball to the Hornets, allowing Deulofeu the chance to give his side the lead, before a second was added early in the second period. 

Nuno's men looked tired and lethargic and this is understandable considering their hectic festive fixture schedule. While the substitutions, notably the introduction of Ruben Neves, had the desired effect, they were unable to salvage a point. 

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Rui Patrício (6); Bennett (5), Coady (6), Dendoncker (4); Doherty (5), Saïss (5), Moutinho (5), Jonny (5); Traoré (7), Jiménez (4), Pedro Neto (7*)

Substitutes: Neves (6), Vinagre (6), Jota (6)

STAR PLAYER - While it will have been hugely disappointing for Pedro Neto to see his first Premier League goal ruled out during the defeat to Liverpool last time out, the youngster was able to get his name on the scoresheet against Watford.

Pedro Neto

It did take a major deflection, but it was nothing less than the forward deserved. He was constantly looking to make things happen with his driving runs, while also looking to link up with his teammates in threatening positions.

And while his goal wasn't enough to save his side from defeat, it was a memorable moment for the 19-year-old.

Looking Ahead

Watford next host Tranmere in the FA Cup on Saturday before travelling to take on Bournemouth.

Wolves, meanwhile, host Manchester United in the FA Cup before they face Newcastle in the league.

Source : 90min