First Team 23/02/2018

Home & Away | Everton


Saturday August 28, 1982, First Division
Vicarage Road

Luther Blissett takes on his man against Everton

It was Watford’s first game in the old First Division. Graham Taylor’s men took their first steps on the way to finishing as runners-up with two goals from two Northern Irishmen and a clean sheet.

Gerry Armstrong tapped in from close range in the 21st minute, before a mistake from Neville Southall allowed Pat Rice to score his first and only goal for Watford in the second-half.

The goalkeeper caught the ball from Rice’s free-kick and stepped backward over the line, and between the referee and the linesman the goal was given.

Hornets XI: Sherwood (GK), Rice, Jackett, Bolton, Rostron, Callagahan (Taylor), Lohman, Blissett, Barnes, Armstrong, Jenkins.

Toffees XI: Southall (GK), Borrows, Higgins, Wright, Bailey, King, McMahon (Richardson), Sheedy, Heath, Johnson, Sharp.

Neville Southall carries the ball over the line for Watford's second goal


Saturday August 8, 2015, Premier League
Goodison Park

Layún celebrates opening the Hornets' Premier League account in 2015

We come full circle – this was the first game of the Golden Boys’ Premier League campaign under Quique Sanchez Flores.

Miguel Layún opened Watford’s account for the season, scoring on the half-volley. Everton then equalised through Ross Barkley, but the Hornets pushed on and found another goal in the shape of Odion Ighalo, performing his trademark scoop and bamboozling John Stones and Phil Jagielka before slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Arouna Kone levelled the game just three minutes later to deny Watford an opening day win, but the Hornets' faithful went home happy after a spirited showing at Goodison.

Toffees XI: Howard (GK); Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway (Koné, 63); McCarthy, Barry; Mirallas (Oviedo, 77), Barkley, Cleverley; Lukaku (Naismith, 90+1).

Hornets XI: Gomes (GK); Nyom, Prödl, Cathcart, Holebas; Capoue, Behrami (Watson, 79); Anya, Layún (Paredes, 59), Jurado (Ighalo, 74); Deeney.

Ighalo performs his trademark celebration after netting the Golden Boys' second of the afternoon
First Team 23/02/2018

Gracia | “We Are Ready To Attack”

Javi Gracia was taken aback by the level of support and noise created at Vicarage Road on his first match in charge – and he is calling on the supporters to recreate that special atmosphere under the lights when Everton come to town on Saturday.

The riotous 4-1 win over Chelsea was one of the great nights at our famous old ground and the Head Coach wants the noise level cranked up and the place to be bouncing yet again for the visit of another team in blue.

"We try to go on the same way [as we did against Chelsea]," said Gracia.

"We got the result with the support of our fans. The next two games we need them as after we have some difficult matches away. It is important the supporters help the team in the next game. I think with the backing of our support we will be able to achieve our objectives."

Gracia has been a breath of fresh air since he swept into the place. He has not moaned once about the injury situation and has displayed his trademark smile throughout.

He isn't even grumbling about the weather, pointing out just how cold it is in Russia where he last worked. He is very much a glass half full man and he will not be indulging in any talk about being sucked into the dog-fight at the bottom.

"I don't like to speak about relegation," he said. "I don't like this word. I only focus on the next match – to speak about other things is not good. It is not good for anybody. I only speak about the next match. 

"I don't know [how many points we might need] but I know one thing - we need three points against Everton. We really need these three points. This is the best way to play these 11 matches that are left. We try to get to 33 points first. To look so far ahead is not the best way to play our matches. The next three points are very important for us."

Gracia has spent the last fortnight integrating some of his injured players, planning for Everton but also poring over the defeat to West Ham. He is leaving no stone unturned. 

"We lost the last game against West Ham but I think it wasn't a bad game," he said.

"After the match, I was analysing the stats and you can see we had more possession and more shots on target. I can't be happy with the result but there are a few positives. We will try to improve our last performance and we are confident can do that versus Everton."

The Toffees have only won one game away from home in the league this season and were thrashed 5-1 by Arsenal in their last road trip. Gracia and his team of analysts have been busy the last fortnight formulating a gameplan and looking at how best to avenge the 3-2 defeat at Goodison Park earlier in the season.

"We are ready to defend Everton," Gracia said.

"I know they have many good players but we will not just defend. We are ready to attack, to counter-attack. We know they score goals but it is not only about defence. We have prepared for the next match in the best way. We've had time and now we have more options to choose players and this is a good moment for us. We will play against a big club as Everton and try and get the points."