Everton 1-0 Watford: Hornets rue missed chances at Goodison
Bernard celebrates opening the scoring for Everton (Credits: Getty Images)

After a dismal performance against Brighton at the weekend, Watford were hoping they could bounce back quickly and get a result at Everton. Despite a better performance, they came away with nothing.

Bernard scored the only goal of the game, striking early with the help of a deflection off Craig Dawson.

Story of the game

Watford started on the back foot in Merseyside, and Bernard was the first player to capitalise on this after a mere 10 minutes. A beautifully weighted ball from Luca Digne allowed Bernard to run at the Watford defence, before cutting inside and placing the ball past Ben Foster thanks to an unhelpful deflection off Craig Dawson.

Everton dominated the first half-hour, taking the ball forward easily and not having to suffer much threat from Watford's front line. Towards the end of the first, Watford began to show some more liveliness. Dawson couldn't have gone much closer as his header hit the crossbar from a corner.

Gerard Deulofeu, playing against his former team, was potentially clipped by Yerry Mina but VAR reviewed it and gave no penalty.

Richarlison, also playing against his former team, should have scored with a free header inside the six-yard box but could only fire it over the net.

Watford maintained their quick pace in the second half, with the Toffees struggling to get the ball down their opposition's half of the field. But the Hornets failed to capitalise on their chances, epitomised when Troy Deeney could only fire his shot straight at Jordan Pickford - who reacted well nonetheless - following an excellent counter-attack by Etienne Capoue and Deulofeu.

The Hornets continued to have a strong presence coming forward but were always lacking an end product. Roberto Pereyra missed a clear-cut header from within the six-yard box which was defended heavily by Everton.

Abdoulaye Doucoure also went very close, placing his shot wide with a side-footed shot from close range which really should've been in.

As the game progressed, Everton began to find their way back into the match, with home debutante Moise Kean going very close in the closing minutes.

Takeaways from the match

4-4-2 is not working for Watford

Javi Gracia's signature formation has stopped being as effective as it has been in the past. Warning bells were sounding towards the end of last season, but they are well and truly ringing now. Under the system, Watford is struggling to find as much threat going forward, especially across the wings. Neither Will Hughes nor Roberto Pereyra are wingers and this may be holding the side back. With the current team, a 4-3-3 formation may work best for the Hornets.

Strong defensive performance from Everton

It wasn't always perfect, and Watford's final balls aided them, but Everton's back-line were very solid when they needed to be. Jordan Pickford played riskily at times - as he frequently does - but it didn't trouble his side. Seamus Coleman and Michael Keane also aided him in at the back, and Luca Digne was always effective when pressing forward.

Watford's end product needs working on

With 56% possession and large chunks of the second-half played going forward, you'd have thought that Watford would've managed to do something with it. However, most of the time, they failed to get the final ball or end product right. Pereyra and Deulofeu - amongst others - would consistently find the right position and places but almost every time the final ball wasn't correct. Doucoure's glorious missed opportunity in the second half was another example of the Hornets' poor end product this afternoon.

Stand-out players

Luca Digne

Signed from Barcelona last season, Digne is looking like a bargain for Everton. Another strong performance saw him bag a quality assist for their early goal. His pass rate was a strong 76%, one of the best on the pitch. Overall, he was great going forward and tracked back when required to do so.


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