MATCH REPORT: St Albans City 0-4 Watford

It was a bright opening to the game for the Premier League newcomers, with recently recruited Capoue involved heavily from the onset. 

Capoue linked-up well with Pudil on the left-hand side, before the latter delivered a cross that only needed the slightest of touches from Deeney to send it goal-bound. 

Abdi and Forestieri were next to try their luck, with them both hitting the target, as Saints stopper Ashley Jones was called into action once more. 

Looking for a goal that they would deserve for their early dominance, Forestieri came close to providing that with a low-drilled strike that crashed into the side-netting. 

The Saints responded with a couple of chances of their own as the game approached the half-hour mark, with Lewis Hilliard seeing two efforts narrowly miss the target, including a volley which was tremendously met at the far-post, after a deep cross from Rod Young. 

After a brief Saints revival, the Hornets found their stride once more and took the lead through Nigerian striker Ighalo. 

Abdi and Anya combined well, and the winger’s cross was met at the back-post by Pudil, who sent it back across to Ighalo to open the scoring. 

Watford’s lead was doubled a minute later when Capoue played through Ighalo, who swivelled and sent a curling effort into the far left corner. 

A third for the Golden Boys was nearly added just prior to the break, with skipper Deeney sending a volley from distance just over the Saints goal. 

Five changes at the interval freshened things up for the Hornets, including Arlauskis and Prodl entering the field, as well as the returning Matej Vydra.  

Around the numerous substitutions being made, the Hornets continued to come forward in the search of goals, with Deeney seeing an effort deflected over, before Abdi drilled a strike wide of the target. 

Substitute Lloyd Dyer nearly scored the third after he rounded the keeper, only to see his effort cleared off the line. However the clearance was tame and Deeney was there to follow up and rifle home. 

Lithuania’s number one Arlauskis was given his first test as Hornets keeper minutes later, with a superb reflex save to deny Saints centre-half Darren Locke from point blank range. 

Arlauskis was called into action once more to prevent Billy Medlock’s shot with his feet, after he went for goal from a tight angle. 

With the clock running down, there was time for the Hornets to add a fourth with Smith’s deflected drive looping into the far corner, leaving Jones helpless in the Saints net. 

HORNETS: Gomes (GK); Anya, Angella, Cathcart, Pudil; Watson, Capoue; Forestieri, Abdi, Ighalo; Deeney (c).

HORNETS (Second-half): Arlauskis (GK), Anya (Paredes, 73), Prodl, Catchcart (Belkalem, 60), Hoban; Capoue (Smith, 53), McGugan, Forestieri (Dyer, 55), Abdi (Lewis, 67), Vydra, Deeney (c) (Byers, 83). 

Subs not used:  Gilmartin (GK), Young, Doherty, Martin, Fabbrini.

SAINTS: Jones (GK); Kyriacou, Chappell, Comley, Longe-King; Beckles, Green, Allen, Hilliard, Young; Bishop. 

SAINTS (Second-half): Jones (GK), Hall, Comley, Locke, Corocan; Richens, Wales, Medlock, Ngoyi, Malcolm 

Subs not used: Alexander (GK)

REFEREE: David Rock 

First Team 07/07/2015

Prödl | “Excited To Be Part Of This Team”

SEBASTIAN PRODL describes his switch from Werder Bremen to Premier League newcomers Watford as a dream come true.

The 28-year-old defender called time on a seven-year spell with the German Bundesliga outfit last month, signing a five-year deal to join up with the Hornets.

“The decision to leave Werder Bremen was hard, but the decision to come to the Premier League and to come to Watford was very easy,” Prodl told watfordfc.com

“I have dreamed about getting a contract in the Premier League and in the summer I got the opportunity to come to Watford, so it was easy for me to decide.

“I met Mr Pozzo and I was impressed with his ideas, so I became interested in trying to make a contract with Watford. I had a good feeling about the people here, and I think it’s a good choice to come here.

“I’m very excited to be part of this team and part of the Premier League, and I’m very much looking forward to the big challenge.”

A former team-mate of Per Mertesacker’s, Prodl says he spoke to the Arsenal and Germany defender before and after completing his move to Watford.

“When I first signed here I met Per in London and he gave me some good recommendations about the area, because their training ground is nearby,” admitted Prodl, who earned his 50th cap for the Austrian national team last month.

“He also gave me a good feeling about coming to the Premier League. He knows me as a player and as a human, so he recommended that I come and I’m very excited about it.”

Prodl played 174 times for German top-flight side Werder Bremen, including outings in the Champions League and Europa League – losing to Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2009 final of the latter competition.

But the former Sturm Graz centre-half reckons playing in the Premier League will top each of those experiences.

“I know that the German league is a very good league and one of the best in the world, but I don’t think you can compare it with the Premier League,” he said.

“The passion for the football here, the passion of the fans, the stadiums, and the big clubs you’re going to play against, there’s nothing better in the world. I’m very excited to get this experience.

“I hope I can play a very good part for the team. Watford got promoted last year and the first season’s always difficult, but never underestimate the underdogs because we’re looking forward to staying with the team in the Premier League.”