Everton 1 – 0 Watford

Bernard’s first-half goal was enough to give Everton their first win of the season and hand Watford a fifth straight Premier League defeat.

The Hornets lost their last three matches of last season, and have yet to score in 2019-20.

They came closest to equalising when Craig Dawson’s header hit the bar, following Bernard’s shot that beat keeper Ben Foster at his near post.

Watford improved after the break, but Abdoulaye Doucoure missed late on.

Troy Deeney had been denied by a fine save from Jordan Pickford earlier in the second half when the Watford captain went one-on-one with the Everton keeper.

And a Deeney shot that deflected off Michael Keane set up Doucoure inside the Everton area only for the midfielder to pull his shot wide.

Everton striker Richarlison had two good chances to score against his former club with headers but missed both, while substitute Moise Kean rolled a shot just wide of Foster’s right post in second-half stoppage time.

The Toffees have not conceded a goal in six games at home since their 0-2 defeat by Manchester City on 6 February.

Everton has become an increasingly tough proposition on their own turf under former Watford manager Marco Silva, and have now won five in a row at Goodison for the first time since Ronald Koeman’s reign in April 2017.

Their back four of Lucas Digne, Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Seamus Coleman seem to be a settled unit, and it was the impressive Digne who set up the game’s only goal with a superb long pass from deep inside his own half.

And the late addition of Kean gave them an added edge in attack, with the 19-year-old using his size and strength to worry the Watford defence.

A first chance for the Italian was blazed wide, but his miss in injury time after a lovely piece of close control was much closer to the target and bodes well for when Silva chooses to give him longer appearances.

Slow start punishes Hornets
Watford’s journey to the FA Cup final in May papered over the cracks of a subdued second half to last season when a 2-1 win at already-relegated Huddersfield gave Javi Gracia’s side their only victory in their final seven league outings.

This defeat was the Hornets’ sixth in a row, factoring in their humiliation at the hands of Manchester City at Wembley.

But the frustration for manager Gracia will lie in his side’s slow start that allowed Everton to edge ahead, which was followed by a much-improved display late in the first half and for much of the second.

Danny Welbeck made his Watford debut as a second-half substitute, and while the former Manchester United and Arsenal player made little impression, Gracia will be hoping the 28-year-old England striker will be up to speed soon to give some much-needed cutting edge.

The slow start to the season is in contrast to last year when Watford won their first four matches – but have since accrued 38 points from 36 league outings.

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Source – BBC

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