First Team 21/07/2018

Pre-Season: Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-3 Watford

Watford will head home from Austria tomorrow in high spirits after a well-deserved 3-1 victory over German side Fortuna Düsseldorf in Bürgerau.

Goals from Isaac Success, Troy Deeney, and a late strike from Jerome Sinclair gave the Hornets a comfortable win in a game that on a different day could have seen them win by more.

Düsseldorf scored through Rouwen Hennings midway through the first half but struggled to create many more chances after the break.

Head coach Javi Gracia played two completely different teams in each half for the second game running as he continues to rotate and assess his squad with the start of the Premier League campaign just three weeks away.

In a pretty uneventful opening ten minutes it was the German side who had the first chance of the game, but their effort was well stopped by Austrian keeper Daniel Bachmann, with the rebound being blazed over the crossbar.

But it was the Golden Boys who opened the scoring after some superb work by Andre Gray. Marc Navarro played a long ball down the right and the forward easily broke free from his man using his blistering pace. Gray’s low cross found Success who tapped in at the far post.

Moments later the 2. Bundesliga champions were level. Former Burnley forward Hennings found some space on the edge of the area and his volley from Matthias Zimmerman’s cross flew into the far corner leaving Bachmann with no chance.

As the rain started to fall, the chances began to dry up as the half went on. Apart from some last ditch defending from Adam Masina to deny a Düsseldorf forward, and a deflected Will Hughes strike, both sides struggled to grab a foothold in the game going into the break.

This continued into the second half too with most of the play congested in the middle of the pitch and the Golden Boys using their aerial threat to trouble the German side. Trialist Jack Rodwell went close after rising highest from a José Holebas corner, but headed just wide.

The Golden Boys regained the lead soon after. Some well-worked play in midfield released wing-back Daryl Janmaat, whose whipped cross was met by the head of Deeney to restore the lead.

Watford continued to dominate aerially, as Ben Wilmot went close with a low drive after the ball fell to the teenager from another Holebas corner.

The advantage was almost doubled with ten minutes to go, again from a set piece. Holebas’ whipped free kick was met by the head of Adrian Mariappa who drew a fantastic save from the 'keeper to save his side.

The chances kept coming for Watford in the final moments; Dodi Lukebakio heading over from close range after more great work from Janmaat on the right.

And with less than five minutes to go the Golden Boys were rewarded for their good play. Some lovely one-touch passing from Ken Sema and Deeney put it on a plate for Sinclair, who calmly slotted home.

Gracia’s side will now head back to England for games against Stevenage, Brentford and Sampdoria before the Premier League season kicks on 11 August against Brighton at Vicarage Road.

HORNETS XI (first half) | Bachmann (GK); Navarro, Prödl, Kabasele, Masina; Hughes, Hoban, Capoue, Pereyra; Gray, Success.

HORNETS XI (second half) | Dahlberg (GK); Janmaat, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas; Sema, Wilmot, Rodwell, Lukebakio; Deeney, Sinclair.

First Team 21/07/2018

News: Cleverley Targeting Autumn Return

Tom Cleverley is targeting an Autumn return to action after planned surgery to fix a long-standing Achilles complaint.

The highly-respected Watford midfielder has been working closely with Watford’s new-look medical team during the summer and will now begin a programme of rehabilitation at the club’s training ground. 

Although disappointed to be missing the early weeks of the Hornets’ 2018/19 Premier League campaign, Tom is pleased to finally be putting to bed a long-standing issue.

“This is something I’ve put up with during my career so it’s good to get it sorted,” said Tom of the recent surgery, the outcome of which has pleased all parties involved.

“I had been used to playing with pain in my ankle. Now that’s going to be a thing of the past, I’ll be fit and raring to win my place back once I’ve finished my rehab.”