First Team 21/09/2019

Match Report: Defeat At The Etihad

There is a reason Norwich City’s shock 3-2 victory against Manchester City last weekend made headlines around the world. It’s not often that this multi-million-pound team, assembled from the best of the best, slips up.

The self-proclaimed 'Fourmidables' are the reigning champions in the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield.

Pep Guardiola’s side would not have liked losing ground on leaders Liverpool when they dropped points at Carrow Road and whoever faced them next in the league would surely come up against a side with their tails up.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, this was the case, and Manchester City’s intent was clear from the off. The Golden Boys had a handful of chances going forward, largely through lone forward Gerard Deulofeu, and Quique Sánchez Flores made three attacking changes to chase the game, but the away side was simply no match for a team notorious for putting teams to the sword in this manner.

The first goal came in the first minute. Kevin De Bruyne quickly whipped a dangerous cross into the area and, with both centre-halves focused on beating Sergio Aguero to the ball, David Silva was able to put it past Ben Foster unmarked.

The Hornets could have levelled the scores within minutes. First a loose ball in Ederson’s penalty area was almost picked up the away side before the goalkeeper swept up the danger, then Deulofeu was sent through on goal by Abdoulaye Doucoure. He still had plenty to do, but beat Fernandinho and saw his chipped effort tipped just wide by the goalkeeper.

This seemed only to shift City into another gear, with De Bruyne taking advantage of a loose pass in midfield, surging up the field and playing in Riyad Mahrez. The winger tapped the ball past Foster to win a penalty and Aguero converted.

The home side looked dangerous with every attack and made it 3-0 when Mahrez was tripped by Doucourè on the edge of the area and saw his free-kick take a large and fortunate deflection off Tom Cleverley and past Foster.

Bernardo Silva extended the lead shortly after from another cross, before City made it 5-0 through a quickly-taken free-kick which caught the away side off guard. David Silva played in Aguero, who squared the ball to Nicolás Otamendi to finish.

Roberto Pereyra was brought on after 33 minutes to help the Hornets push up the field but after half-time it was quickly six. Bernado Silva scored again from close range after the Hornets failed to clear a ball into the box, and the midfielder grabbed his hat-trick just before the hour mark to make it 7-0.

Sánchez Flores brought on Ismaïla Sarr and then Andre Gray to help the Hornets search for a consolation and the Hornets did have a couple of sniffs at goal. But they were unable to convert, and De Bruyne rounded off an 8-0 win with a stunning strike just before full-time.

HORNETS: Foster, Femenía, Dawson, Mariappa, Holebas; Doucourè, Capoue; Hughes (Sarr 59), Cleverley, Foulquier (Pereyra 33); Deulofeu (Gray 77).

Subs: Gomes, Janmaat, Kabasele, Chalobah, Pereyra, Sarr, Gray.


News: Hornets In Barcelona For Special Olympics

Eight players aged 16 years and over from local Hertfordshire teams will be taking part in the X International Trophy Ciutat de Barcelona Football 5-a-side tournament this weekend (September 20-22).

The Event is organised by the Catalan Sports Federation for People with Intellectual Disabilities (ACELL), together with Special Olympics Catalunya, and the City Council of Barcelona.

The players, who play for Bedwell Rangers, Everett Rovers FC, Hemel Aces FC and St Albans City Youth FC, will be representing Watford FC CSE Trust on behalf of the Premier League Charitable Fund.

Players will be flying out today (September 20) and staying in the centre of Barcelona, meeting their opponents and getting ready to compete Saturday and Sunday against ASD Pepo Team Cremona, Special Olympics Catalunya, and Unitts FVCF at C.E.M Mundit Sport Centre.

Not only will the players be taking part against Spanish teams, they will also have the chance to have a tour of the Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona, organised by the Special Olympics Catalunya.

Karen Stephanou, Disability Football Development Manager, has worked with some of the players over the last two years and was excited about the tournament.

She said: “We have taken teams to play against other Premier League clubs across the country, but this will be a first for Watford FC CSE Trust to take a group of disabled people to play internationally.

“For some of the adult players this will be the first time they have gone on a plane and visited another country. The players and staff are ecstatic that we have been given this opportunity and we look forward to having a successful tour.”

The Trust would like to thank Fixnetix, Graham Smith Property Lawyers, Focus Logistics, ICore Ltd, MCF Contracts and the young people of NCS Watford for sponsoring the players’ flights over to Barcelona.

Good luck Tom, Paul, Reuben, Jordan, Joshua, Joe H, Joe D and Andrew!