Bristol City 0-0 Watford: Promotion rivals play out scrappy draw
 Andre Gray of Watford is challenged by Zak Vyner of Bristol City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Watford at Ashton Gate on November 25, 2020 in Bristol, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Bristol City and Watford played out a scrappy stalemate at Ashton Gate. 

Both sides had big chances to take all three points throughout and could both stake a claim to have won. 

Antoine Semenyo was lively for the home side, creating and squandering multiple chances as he searches for his first Bristol City goal. 

Dominges Quina had a couple of opportunities for Vladimir Ivic's men but couldn't find a way past Daniel Bentley, who was in top form. 

The draw means Bristol City retain third place in the Championship, though they are two points further away from Bournemouth following their win against Nottingham Forest. 

Watford also remain where they started the evening, in fifth position. They are also just a point off their opponents tonight before the Championship enters a busy period.

  • Story of the match

The hosts had an early sniff at goal in what was a quiet first half.

Antoine Semenyo will feel as though he should have done better when he was the recipient of a Jamie Paterson cut-back. Jay Dasilva worked well down the left to create the opening for Paterson.

The 20-year-old Semenyo found space around 15 yards out but his left-footed effort scooped over and wide. 

Dasilva worked hard on the left-hand side in a battle with Jeremy Ngakia. The pair often dueled in dribbles down either side, providing most of the first-half entertainment.

The former Chelsea left-back Dasilva was the most productive player for the home side, who struggled to keep hold of the ball. 

This owed to Vladimir Ivic's decision to change to a 4-2-3-1 formation. It allowed James Garner and Nathaniel Chalobah to dominate possession and win the ball back effortlessly, albeit they rarely produced any quality chances.

Their change in formation did keep the home side at bay, with Bristol City not creating a chance after Semenyo's opportunity. 

Watford's biggest opportunity came when Garner did manage to play a forward-thinking pass. He fizzed the ball into Andre Gray inside the 18-yard box and his heavy touch reached Ismailia Sarr to his left.

The winger hit a powerful strike towards the near post which forced a decent stop from Daniel Bentley. 

Domingues Quina threatened Bentley's goal midway through the first-half when he hit a curling effort just wide from 25 yards. 

The chances were at a minimum but the away side will feel as though they should have taken the lead just prior to the interval. 

Garner whipped in a menacing free-kick from the right-hand side towards the near post. A deflection then looped the ball to Craig Cathcart at the back-post, but the Northern Ireland international could only find the side-netting from a disappointing header. 

Immediately after half-time, Watford got their key-man Sarr running into space as they would want him to. A long ball from Ngakia sent the Senegalese winger on the run and he tried to square the ball for Gray, but a Vyner block could only win Watford a corner.

But soon after, Bristol City should have taken the lead. 

Semenyo got away from Kabasele for the first time down the left-wing. He then played a grounded ball across the face of goal, but Ben Foster made a slight, yet vital,  touch to stop the incoming Diedhiou from tapping home.  

City were pressing more at the start of the second period. They began to move the ball quickly, with Paterson, O'Dowda and Semenyo providing much of the leg work. 

The latter had yet another chance around the hour mark when he skinned Ngakia on the left-wing. He cut inside and had a right-footed effort go narrowly wide. 

Watford made their first real venture forward in the second half with 20 minutes to go. A squared pass into Sarr on the right sped up play and Sarr fizzed a ball into the box. it then deflected out into the path of Quina, who fired a powerful effort towards the goal. Bentley pulled off a magnificent effort to keep the score level. 

  • Takeaways

Vladimir Ivic may be concerned with his side's inability to create chances from open play. In recent weeks, Watford have been scoring freely, but at Ashton Gate, they struggled to carve out non-set piece chances. 

Andre Gray did not help the cause, with his hold up play not effective enough to bring the flair players into the fray. He was dragged off on 70 minutes for Troy Deeney. 

For large swathes, Sarr and Joao Pedro were obsolete from play, struggling to get involved when it is clear that they are key to Watford creating chances. 

It could be a bad day at the office, but aside from Garner's set-piece deliveries, it is difficult to recall many clear-cut chances. 

The performance of Antoine Semenyo will put a huge smile on the face of Dean Holden. The young winger put in a strong showing to add to his impressive recent form. 

He had three assists in his previous three appearances and almost celebrated his first goal for Bristol City on numerous occasions. 

His pace and confidence is a massive asset to Bristol City and he links the play up well between wide areas and the target man of either Diedhiou or Martin. 

After a loan spell at Sunderland, Semenyo has forced his way into the side at Ashton Gate and it is difficult to leave him out in his current form. His performances will be key to Bristol City's promotion charge if he manages to sustain the current level of performance. 

 

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