Swansea City




Watford concluded the calendar year with a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Swansea City in Wales.

The Hornets and the Swans struggled to create any meaningful chances in the opening stages of the encounter, before Joël Piroe slid the ball under Daniel Bachmann late in the half.

With Swansea taking a 1-0 lead into the break, Watford returned to the pitch looking for an equaliser, but struggled to make a dent in the home side’s defence. The Swans took their chances as the match headed into the final 20 minutes with Liam Cullen, Piroe and Joel Latibeaudiere etching their names onto the scoresheet to secure a four-goal victory without reply.

A trip to Norwich City is next for the Hornets (Monday January 2, 3pm KO) as they look to make amends for back-to-back defeats heading into the New Year.

Head Coach Slaven Bilić made three changes from the side that lost to Millwall on Boxing Day, bringing in William Troost-Ekong and Yáser Asprilla for the injured Ken Sema and João Pedro, while switching the suspended Hassane Kamara for full-back Mario Gaspar. In addition, skipper Craig Cathcart was making his 250th appearance for the Hornets.

Before kick-off, both sides observed a minute's applause after the passing of football great Pelé.

The teams began trading blows soon after the first whistle from referee John Busby. Harry Darling tried his luck from range, which was comfortably gathered by Bachmann, before Keinan Davis powered Christian Kabasele’s looping cross straight at the Swans’ shot-stopper Steven Benda.

The home side maintained their pressure into the halfway stage of the opening period as full-back Ryan Manning and striker Piroe looked to craft a clearcut chance for the Swans, but both efforts were off-target.

Tempers flared following a Swansea City cross which was well claimed by Bachmann, but Darling, who had also jumped for the ball, made heavy contact with the Austrian goalkeeper sending him crashing to the ground. After a minor confrontation between the two teams, the Swansea City defender was presented with a yellow card and Bachmann rose to his feet.

Watford tried to push ahead to break the deadlock following the stoppage in play as the overlapping Jeremy Ngakia, making his 50th appearance in yellow, aimed a cross toward Ismaïla Sarr, but the chance was headed wide.

The Swans would eventually make their pressure pay as Troost-Ekong’s misguided pass was intercepted by Ollie Cooper and passed onto Luke Cundle, who found Piroe. The Dutch forward fired the ball underneath Bachmann to hand the lead to the Welsh side heading into the break.

After the interval, Swansea City’s Cullen would be the first to have an effort on goal, leading to Bilić making the first round of changes swiftly after.

With the match entering a lull, Vakoun Bayo and Samuel Kalu were brought onto the pitch as Watford looked to turn their fortunes around.

However, the Hornets were dealt an immediate blow as Tom Dele-Bashiru went to ground with an injury which saw James Morris make his third Championship appearance of the season.

As the match entered into the final 20 minutes, the Swans doubled their lead through Cullen. A looping corner from set-piece taker Manning reached Darling, who fired in a powerful shot which deflected back to the Welshman, placing the ball past Bachmann.

Piroe would eventually double his own tally and take the score to three with a curled effort from the edge of the box that nestled inside the side-netting.

The Hornets would continue to press and came close as Bayo’s point-blank header and eventual follow-up was kept out by Benda with a smart double save.

The match would eventually conclude with Latibeaudiere firing into an empty net after Swansea captain Matt Grimes picked out the young defender to make it four.


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