Watford picked up their third successive draw of the Premier League season as they played out a 0-0 with Southampton at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
The home side perhaps created the better scoring opportunities over the 90 minutes, but the fact they failed to record a shot on target underlines the fact the Hornets’ major failings came in front of goal – with Etienne Capoue contriving to miss the best chance of the match, a header from a corner that was barely five yards out.
Ronald Koeman’s side had spells of dominance themselves and created a handful of chances through Graziano Pelle and substitute Shane Long – but both strikers also found testing the goalkeeper a difficult proposition. The Saints had five shots on goal but none of them particularly threatened Heurelho Gomes, with the loss of Sadio Mane to injury after just 23 minutes clearly disrupting the already under-strength visitors.
The game was similarly bereft of chances in the second half, despite a debut off the bench for recent Watford signing Alessandro Diamanti. Capoue should have scored from close range shortly after the hour-mark.
The result leaves Watford 11th in the table with three points after three games while Southampton, who are also still looking for their first win this season after two draws and a loss, sit in 18th.
23 – INJURY. Looks like Mane took a blow to the head in that collision with Behramiand Nyom … and his game is over. A real blow for the visitors – the forward had started very brightly.
33 – CHANCE! Southampton counter-attack quickly and Long swings in a cross for Pelle, but the Italian cannot quite direct his glancing header on target.
40 – CHANCE! Perhaps Watford should be ahead. Anya fires a dangerous low cross that looks perfect for Ighalo to turn home, but the striker cannot get a touch on the ball!
49 – CHANCE! Jurado and Ighalo combine to feed Deeney, but the striker’s shot is shut down by Fonte.
66 – CHANCE! Capoue should score when a corner reaches him at the far post, but somehow the ball comes off his shoulder and loops over the open goal!
Watford have now lost just one of their last seven competitive home meetings against Southampton (W4 D2 L1)
Quique Sanchez Flores is still awaiting his first win as Watford boss after three matches – it took him four to win his first game in La Liga.
Southampton have now won just one of their last eight Premier League games (W1 D3 L5).
Southampton kept a clean sheet for the first time in nine games.
Watford failed to have a shot on target in this match, with all 13 of their efforts being blocked or off target. The Hornets are the third PL side this season to fail to have an attempt on target in a match (the others are West Brom v Watford andNewcastle v Manchester United).
Amid interest from Manchester United, it will have not gone unnoticed that Sadio Mane limped off with an injury early in the first-half. The winger – who had been the game’s most dangerous and inventive player up to that point – appeared to have suffered a head injury rather than a muscle problem, but it is tempting to wonder if that may yet reduce whatever prospect there was of him leaving the club this month. Concussion is now a hot topic and can take time to fully treat – time United do not have if they want to complete a deal in the next week.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jose Fonte (Southampton): Both Jurado and Anya could make a strong case that they deserved the game’s individual honours, but ultimately it was Fonte who was the most important player on the pitch. Amid an uncertain defensive shape – Koeman opted for a three-man defence with Cedric and Targett as wing-backs – it was Fonte who held everything together, covering for his defensive partners and spotting danger before anyone else. Without him, perhaps Watford would have picked up a confidence- boosting first win. As it is, Fonte’s presence is helping the Saints stumble through a period where their squad is stretched paper-thin.
Watford: Gomes 6, Nyom 7, Cathcart 7, Prödl 6, Holebas 6, Capoue 7, Behrami 6, Jurado 8, Ighalo 6, Anya 7, Deeney 6. Subs: Diamanti 6, Watson 6.
Southampton: Stekelenburg 6, Cédric 7, Yoshida 6, Caulker 7, Fonte 8, Targett 6, Wanyama 6, Romeu 7, S. Davis 6, Mané 6, Pellè 6. Subs: Long 6, Ward-Prowse 6, Rodriguez 5.