First Team 1 week ago

Match Preview: Foster On Palace Trip

Having played for Roy Hodgson at international level, Ben Foster knows all about the threat the former England manager’s Crystal Palace side will pose Watford this weekend.

Speaking to the media ahead of the Hornets’ Premier League trip to Selhurst Park, Foster - who also worked under Hodgson at West Brom - said: “Obviously I’ve played for Roy and his teams in general are more about the team, having a strong, set, organised team. That’s how he sets his teams up and he always will do.

“So we know that they’re going to be organised, they’re going to have a strong defence and big lads as well. They’ve also got the new goalkeeper [Vicente Guaita], who’s done really well lately.

“But we don’t really spend too much time looking at individuals. We won’t go singling players out, it’s more about how they play and move as a team, and we will try and combat that.”

One Palace player who the Hornets will have to pay close attention to on Saturday is Wilfried Zaha, and Foster believes the ex-Manchester United attacker to be a real danger-man, despite not hitting his usual heights in the return fixture at Vicarage Road back in August.

“As a goalkeeper he’s one of those who, if he gets a second to take a shot, he’s taking that shot no matter where he is. He could be 40 yards out and you can see he’s trying to look for the goal,” he said.

“He needs very little back lift. He’s one of those who can put all sorts of weird movements on the ball and as a goalie you don’t really enjoy that sort of player.

“But we played against them earlier in the season at our place and beat them 2-1, and I think for the majority of the game we had him under wraps. He scored the one chance he got, which is fair play, but I think the team we played that day dealt with them.”

Click HERE for all the Watford team news ahead of the Crystal Palace match.

Ladies 1 week ago

Ladies: Cardiff City Preview

Watford FC Ladies return to league action for the first time in almost two months this Sunday, with a trip to Cardiff City Ladies.

While the Golden Girls have enjoyed success recently in the SSE Women’s FA Cup, they haven’t had a game in the FA WNL since the 1-0 victory over Chichester City Ladies on November 18.

Cardiff were the opponents on the opening day of the season, when Watford were victorious 5-2. Since that early defeat the Welsh side have shown what they can be capable of, winning five of their last eight league games.

Views from the Head Coach

It would be understandable for the side to still be on a high from the previous game, where Watford scored seven in a competitive fixture for the first time in more than a decade.

Armand Kavaja knows that his side will need to be focused on the job at hand this weekend.

“It was a fantastic performance against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, but this is a different competition and it requires focus and a different type of motivation to continue to perform week by week,” he told watfordfc.com.

“We had a very good performance against Cardiff at the start of the campaign, but they did cause us trouble going forward, therefore we must be focused and disciplined defensively like we were against Chichester.

“Cardiff have a good midfield who create good opportunities for their strikers, so we must eliminate their time and space on the ball in central areas.

“We have had a look at their recent games and you can clearly see that they have grown as a team. They have had a few good results recently and will be a more confident side, they’ve also strengthened their squad with some good players.

“We have to stay focused and disciplined out of possession and continue to play our game when we have the ball.”

One of the big reasons behind Watford’s success so far this season has been the form on the road, with five wins out of six so far.

The Head Coach believes all of the attention to detail makes a difference.

“When we travel away, we have the whole group on the coach,” explained Kavaja. “This allows for everyone to talk and bond together.

“At the same time, it allows for the coaching staff to have one-to-ones with the players, discussing their roles and responsibilities for the game with good detail.”

Hosts

It seems a long time ago that the two teams met on the opening day of the campaign. Watford were successful that day, winning 5-2 thanks to a hat-trick from Helen Ward and two goals from Andrea Carid.

Having suffered a rare disappointing season in 2017/18, Cardiff didn’t let it happen again. They won their next five games and scored 22 in the process, that included three league victories and progression to the last 16 of the FA WNL Cup.

The run was eventually halted as they lost 1-0 to a Chichester side in fine form. Suddenly goals were proving difficult to find as a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 loss followed in subsequent league games.

In their last five matches, they’ve again picked up some form. During that time, they’ve won their previous two in the league and progressed to the fourth round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup. The only loss in that period was a bit of a heartbreaker as they exited the FA WNL Cup to Loughborough Foxes, despite having a 3-0 half-time lead.  

They currently lie fifth in the league with a 5-1-3 record. Postponements due to international duty do mean they have games in hand, with as many as three on some teams.

Remarkably this will be Cardiff’s six consecutive home game and it’s been an area of strength this season, not losing a single game in 90 minutes so far. With Watford’s 5-0-1 record away from home, it has all the ingredients for a potential cracker this weekend.

Last time out

Middlesbrough 2-7 Watford

Team: Baranowska, Hallsworth (Baker, 66), Edwards, Hill, Huggins, Scanlon (Kettle, 82), Stojko-Down, Fatuga-Dada, Carid (Bell, 51), O’Leary, Ward (C)

Goals: Scanlon (7), Ward (10, 20, 81, 84), O’Leary (39), Hallsworth (61)

Cardiff 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

Team: O'Sullivan, Williams, Guard, Lawrence (C), Morgan, Jumratie, Cerys Jones, Isaac (Graham, 65), Miles (Emma Jones, HT), Nolan, Horrell

Goals: Williams (7), Nolan (15)

Information

Cardiff City Ladies v Watford FC Ladies
FA WNL
Sunday January 13
2pm
CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence
CF82 7EP