Watford travel to Goodison Park in the second match of their Claudio Ranieri era. After a humiliating 5-0 defeat against Liverpool, the Hornets will be looking to bounce back against the other half of Merseyside – Everton – who will also be extra hungry for a win following a 1-0 defeat against West Ham.
FULL TIME: Everton 2-5 Watford
What a performance by the Hornets! Claudio Ranieri gets his first win as Watford head coach with a come-from-behind (and then some) victory at Goodison Park. In what was easily Watford’s best performance of the season, the tactical identity was there for all to see – high pressing, counterattacking football. Joshua King and Co. more than just got the job done.
Goal! Everton 2-5 Watford
Joao Pedro passes the ball across the top of the box to King, who then sits Keane on the ground and slots it past Pickford for Watford’s fifth. Yes, you ready the score correctly. 15 minutes ago, it was Everton 2-1 Watford 15 minutes ago. Now, Watford have a three goal lead (and Sarr was subbed off before the equalizer too, making the spectacle even more remarkable).
JOSHUA KING HAT TRICK! Everton 2-4 Watford
The scenes! King was not given the chance he wanted at Goodison Park with Everton, but he has more than proven his talent in Merseyside, but doing so with Watford! After a deflected Joao Pedro shot, King found himself with space and time in front of Pickford, who once more slotted it past the England number one. What a response and what a match!
GOAL! Everton 2-3 Watford
BFKDBFJDHBWUTWEF!!!! 88 seconds between the equalizer and the goal to put Watford ahead! There are still 10 minutes (not including added time) left, but King has scored what could be a massive goal for the Hornets! Dennis finds King on a scintillating counterattack. The Norwegian striker takes a phenomenal first touch, and then slotted it past Pickford with tremendous composure. What a dream return to Goodison Park for King (who gets a yellow card for his celebration).
GOAL! Everton 2-2 Watford
WATFORD RESPOND! Juraj Kucka scored his first Watford goal. Cucho Hernandez whips in a phenomenal corner kick, and the summer signing made no mistake with his header.
Substitution (Everton): Alex Iwobi comes on for Gray
The creator of the first goal comes off for the former Arsenal player.
Substitution (Watford): Nicolas Nkoulou comes on for Ngakia
A Hornets’ debut for Nkoulou. Likely means a change in shape for the final 15 minutes.
Yellow Card: Richarlison
This time, Richarlison makes late contact with Dennis.
Yellow Card: Emmanuel Dennis
Dennis gets booked for a late challenge on Richarlison. 20 minutes to go.
Double Substitution (Watford): Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis come on for Sarr and Tufan
Ranieri has to roll the dice here.
Goal: Everton 2-1 Watford
It just had to be Richarlison. Terrible goalkeeping from Foster gives the substitute the entire match to aim at for his header.
Substitution (Everton): Richarlison on for Gordon
The former Watford player comes on for Everton. A chorus of boos rings out from the away support.
King (Almost) Scores
Sarr played a beautiful ball into the box to King who had the goal at his mercy, but Pickford made a smart kick save to keep the score level.
Yellow Card: Allan
Everton players are hitting the ground quite frequently this match. Allan went down in the box, but the dive was not hard to spot, and Graham Scott brandished the match’s third yellow card.
The second half is underway. It does not appear as if any substitutes have been made.
HALFTIME: Everton 1-1 Watford
After a quick start from the hosts, the visitors responded well and equalized via Joshua King. The possession is nearly perfectly split. Ranieri will be pleased as it appears his signature pressing tactics are being kindly taken to by the players. When Sarr and King press high up, they can be seen waving the rest of the team forward.
Masina and Cathcart have exceptionally responded to last week’s performance. Tufan looks up to pace. Sissoko is once more performing well.
Sarr, King, and Cucho will want to better link up on counterattacks, as the Hornets have done well to spur a handful which are yet to result in a goal.
For the Hornets, this is easily one of their best halves of the season: from a pure footballing standpoint – and not focusing on the scoreline – tactically speaking, it may even be their best to date. Watford are playing with a newfound sense of identity.
Everton have had a handful of chances, and it is hard to determine where the next goal will fall (if there is to be another). There is a chance former Watford player Richarlison comes off of the bench to give the Toffees an extra attacking edge.
Tempers Starting to Flare
Following a Troost-Ekong foul from a free kick, he then prevented a quick free kick by Keane, receiving a yellow card. A bit of shoving and words came after, with Cucho Hernandez a center of attention. It would not be a surprise if a few similar types of scraps occur in the second half.
Penalty Appeal – None Given
Gordon falls in the box with Kucka on his back, but the referee rightfully deems as if there was not enough contact to warrant a penalty.
Watford Tactical Update
The 4-1-4-1 formation looks very Xisco Munoz-esque at first glance. However, the instruction for higher, more intense pressing under Ranieri is evident. They are also possessing the ball much better, currently winning the possession statistic.
Yellow Card: Lucas Digne
The Everton left-back takes down Sarr on the counterattack, picking up the game’s first yellow card. The Hornets will be extra pleased he is the first man booked, meaning he has to be even more careful when defending Watford’s star.
Goal: Everton 1-1 Watford
THE GOAL IS GIVEN: that will feel extra sweet for Joshua King’s first Watford goal, scored against his former club! Fantastic response by the visitors! Cathcart gave the flicked-on headed assist.
Joshua King sticks the ball into the back fo the net following a free kick. The goal is disallowed initially, but it appears he is onside and that it will be given.
Save by Ben Foster
Watford’s number one makes a save on a shot from outside of the box. The effort was tame and near the center of the net, but Foster did well to parry the ball out of the danger area.
Goal: Everton 1-0 Watford
Demarai Gray bursts down the left-hand side of the pitch to assist Tom Davies who finishes from close range. Nightmare start for the Hornets.
Referee Graham Scott has started the match. Seamus Coleman captains Everton, while Moussa Sissoko understandably keeps the armband after being Watford’s best performer last week.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Davies, Gray, Townsend, Gordon, Rondon
Watford: Foster, Ngakia, Troost-Ekong, King, Masina, Cathcart, Tufan, Sissoko, Sarr, Hernandez, Kucka
The Hornets have made three changes to the eleven who lost to Liverpool one week ago: Ngakia, Tufan, and King have come in for Femenia, Rose, and Dennis. The latter makes the bench, whereas the former two are out with injury. The main question marks surrounding the starting eleven fall on the decision to stick with Ben Foster between the sticks over Daniel Bachmann, Joao Pedro not being given the chance to play from the starting whistle, and Nicolas Nkoulou finding the bench but not starting ahead of Craig Cathcart (though this could be explained by him needing to reach full-match fitness). The return to full fitness of Joshua King is a huge boost.
The dismantling against Liverpool came when the Hornets went out in a 5-4-1 (which can also be considered a 5-2-3) formation with Ismaila Sarr as the central forward. Ranieri looks to have already rolled the tactical die, with a 4-3-3 the likely starting formation (and Sarr back in his preferred right-wing position).
Everton’s starting eleven is far from their strongest, with former Watford players Abdoulaye Doucoure and Richarlison not starting (the midfielder is out for an extended period, whereas Richarlison makes the bench after missing the last four matches with a knee injury). Yerry Mina and Dominic Calvert-Lewin also have not made the match-day squad due to injury concerns. Thus, the Hornets will be hoping this weakened Everton side has enough flaws to take advantage of to walk away with at least Ranieri’s first point with the Club.
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