Huddersfield Town 1-2 Watford: Hornets edge into 7th
Photo by Getty Images/Nathan Stark

Huddersfield Town 1-2 Watford: Hornets edge into 7th

A Gerard Deulofeu brace moved Watford into 7th and the final Europa League spot as the end of the season draws nigh.

James Baldwin
huddersfield townLössl; Smith, Schindler, Kongolo, Durm; Kachunga, Bacuna, Hogg (Daly, 41'), Mbenza (Löwe, 81'); Mounie (Grant, 65').
watford-fcFoster; Femenía, Mariappa, Cathcart, Masina; Doucouré, Capoue; Hughes (Navarro, 92'), Sema; Deulofeu (Chalobah, 83'), Gray (Success, 72').
SCORE0-1, min. 5, Deulofeu. 0-2, min. 80, Deulofeu. 1-2, min 90+3, Grant.

A convincing performance from Watford ensured that Javi Gracia's men moved above Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City and Everton in the race for seventh amongst these teams.

Meanwhile, Jan Siewert's relegated Huddersfield Town recorded a 27th defeat of the season as they get ready for life in the Championship next campaign.

Story of the game

It was the away side that immediately started the opening exchanges more lively, with Gerard Deulofeu drilling the ball across the face of goal as the Hornets searched for an early lead.

They were immediately rewarded for their early pressure as Watford dashed forward through Abdoulaye Doucouré after Jonathan Hogg lost possession; Terence Kongolo's challenge only fell to the arriving Deulofeu, who finished remarkably well, holding the ball up expertly before placing the ball carefully into the bottom right corner off the post.

Watford's pressure was maintained immediately after the opener, as their large amount of possession led to more chances that all went blazing.

Huddersfield finally began to get into the game on the quarter of an hour mark, as Aaron Mooy put a free-kick just wide of the post. Isaac Mbenza also saw a shot well saved by Ben Foster, one of many Watford players who have been outstanding this season, after Andre Gray sent a shot well wide following a fast break from the away side.

Christopher Schindler made sure that the Yorkshire-based side only went into the half time break a goal down, as he intercepted Deulofeu's numerous crosses aimed at the path of Gray. 

Adrian Mariappa was doing a similar thing down the other end, as the Watford captain denied Elias Kachunga and Tommy Smith inside the final ten minutes of the first half, with the pace slowing down massively.

At the restart the pace continued as slowly as it had left off, and it was Deulofeu that had the first small chance as the Spaniard had a shot from outside the box saved comfortably by Jonas Lössl.

For the next few minutes, it was the home side that dominated as the fans began to rally behind their team again, with the Terriers having numerous chances go amiss.

Those missed chances would be rued by Huddersfield, however, as Deulofeu topped another glorious performance with a second goal to his name; Doucoure's shot was well saved by Lössl but he could only push the goal into the path of the former Barcelona man.

However, there was a late consolation for Huddersfield, where substitute Karlan Grant nodded home a close-range header in the 93rd minute to give him a fourth goal since his debut on 2nd February.

Takeaways from the match

Watford close in on European qualification

The race for 7th has been an enjoyable view this season, with Watford, Wolves, Everton and Leicester all being involved in the action and all occupying the spot for a period of time.

Wolves have had the upper hand in the race for a while, but following a 3-1 defeat to Southampton at St. Mary's last week, and a goalless draw against struggling Brighton & Hove Albion today, the midland side may be starting to drop off.

Under the leadership of Brendan Rodgers, Leicester have caught up with the other three sides and managed to occupy the 'best-of-the-rest' spot for a brief period; but tough games remaining mean that it is looking unlikely that it will be the Foxes there at the end of the season.

The Toffees are also still in the race, and a win against Manchester United tomorrow afternoon would put them ahead in the race - albeit with a game in hand over Watford and Wolves.

But if Watford can keep up their momentum, then it will be the Hertfordshire side that finish 7th. Javi Gracia's men have had a superb campaign and with preparations for the FA Cup Final starting soon, it is undeniable of the incredible job he has done at Vicarage Road.

Huddersfield going down with a whimper

On the other hand, this afternoon's home side have had an abysmal season, with very little for the faithful to cheer about all season. After being relegated at the second earliest date in Premier League history - only after Derby County in their atrocious campaign in 2007-08 where they mustered a mere 11 points - Huddersfield have suffered an incredible 27 defeats from 35 matches.

The Terriers have taken 3 wins all season, in which two of those have been gained against Wolves, and have only scored 20 goals. They are entering the English second tier in the 2019-20 campaign with a whimper.

Deulofeu and Doucoure key to the Hornets success

Two of Watford's stand out players this afternoon, Deulofeu and Doucouré, emphasised just how important they are to the Watford squad in today's match. The latter made 59 passes in the game at the John Smith's Stadium, of which 57 were completed; that is a staggering 97% success rate.

Meanwhile, Deulofeu topped a dominant performance with two goals. He now has 6 goals in his last 5 away appearances, and has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 9 appearances - with 8 goals and 2 assists. It will be a priority for the club to make every attempt to keep a hold of both of them in the summer transfer window.

Upcoming games

Huddersfield will try and salvage any sort of happiness in preparation for next season as they travel to Anfield to face off against title-contenders Liverpool next Friday night, however unlikely that is.

Meanwhile, Watford host Southampton under the lights at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night; with every point vital for the Hornets in the final few games. Next Saturday, they will be hoping to replicate their FA Cup semi-final success against Wolves again, in what could be a massive game in the race for 7th position.