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AFC Bournemouth 3 Watford 3 | Talking Points

Four goals in seven minutes saw Bournemouth fight back from 2-0 down and draw with Watford 3-3 at the Vitality Stadium.

It appeared to be “business as usual” for Watford as they took control early against the Cherries when Ken Sema found Troy Deeney unmarked in the box as the captain headed the Hornets into a 1-0 lead on 14′.

Deeney would double his pleasure in the 27th minute as Gerard Deulofeu intercepted in the middle of the pitch, he drove forward into the Cherries box, against Nathan Ake. A sliding Steve Cook took out Ake, knocking the ball into the path of Deeney who was there to sidefoot the ball past Asmir Begovic.

Watford’s early control unravelled in the 34th minute. The goal came from a dead ball situation set up by a foul from Deeney. Ryan Fraser floated a ball to the back post as Cook redirected it to the centre of the goal, onto the head of a driving Dan Gosling. Foster came up with an incredible save, diving to his left, deflecting the ball. However, it was into the path of an onrushing Ake who netted.

Just three minutes later, Etienne Capoue was penalised for a foul, setting up another dead ball situation, as this time Fraser’s delivery into the box found Callum Wilson, whose looping header to the far post beat Foster. Bournemouth were back in the game, 2-2.

The Cherries fightback lasted less than a minute after Deeney knocked down a ball which Ken Sema fired inside the post, as Watford took the lead.

Bournemouth responded immediately as Junior Stanislas then sent a low ball across the box. A flurry of activity, the ball found Fraser who slotted it past Foster to level the score and end an eventful first half.

Cherries defensive woes continue

Bournemouth have now conceded 12 goals in their last four games, which ranks last in the Premier League. The Cherries continue to concede at an alarming rate, “Defences weren’t on top, we didn’t get one or two situations right, but we’re going through one of those spells where every shot against us seems to go in,” said Eddie Howe.

Bournemouth have conceded 40 goals this season but Howe insists his team has been playing better of late, even though the results show eight losses in the last eleven games. Howe contested, “It’s a great result for us and we’re delighted with that. I would say that we have played better than that, but we’re certainly very pleased with that result and our position off the back of it.”

Officials figure in outcome

At points throughout the match, on the back of 24 fouls and five yellow cards, there were moments in which this game was not going to end with 22 players on the pitch. David Coote in just his sixth Premier League match let the game flow, as he’d yet to issue a red card in the previous matches.

By all accounts, Abdoulaye Doucoure should have received a red card in the 27′ on a high and very dangerous challenge on Ryan Fraser. Troy Deeney after the game stated: “I think the referee, to be fair, bottled it on a few occasions. There’s a handball right at the end, with Nate [Ake]. I’m not one to hammer refs, you lot know that, but he bottled it on a few occasions today. Both teams should have had a man sent off.”

Dan Gosling got away with a yellow in the 60′, as Deeney claimed, “you can’t tell me their boy did not try to do Tom Cleverley.” Howe was quick to defend the tackle, “I don’t think it was dangerous, Dan’s tackle; for me it’s not a red card.”

Although fans often do not want to see officials decisions ruining matches, there are some instances where they have to dismiss players for reckless challenges.

Watford still improving

The Hornets have continued to play good football, as they come out of a downward slide that saw them lose four out of six games, before securing seven points in three games, jumping up to 7th in the league table.

Watford manager, Javi Gracia said that “I have never seen a first half like that. Six goals, in one half, I think the supporters will be happy. I am not happy because we need to defend better.” Defensively, Watford have conceded seven goals to Bournemouth over their two matches this season.

The Hornets continue to miss Christian Kabasele at the back. The Belgian is still recovering from colliding with the goal post against Chelsea on Boxing Day. In his place, Adrian Mariappa has started the last two games, but has been caught out of position leading to goals at Newcastle and Bournemouth.

While Gracia will need to work on defending set pieces, Ben Foster repeatedly produces strong performances and is still Watford’s most reliable defensive asset. Both set piece goals were not due to a lack of play between the posts, as he made an excellent first save, which just happened to be deflected into the path of an onrushing Ake.

Foster made 12 saves on the day from 25 shots unleashed by the offensive-minded Cherries. “After scoring two goals I knew we needed to defend well because I was sure Bournemouth would create chances because they always do,” said Gracia.

Man of the Match – Ryan Fraser

The winger saved Bournemouth after conceding two early goals. His two quality free kick deliveries resulted in the goals that pulled them level and he then got one himself that ultimately saw his side earn a point. He continues to be one of the Cherries star players this season and showed he is a real asset to the team.

Stephen Toumi

Watford supporter! #FPL ID#446 | Vegan | Craft beer enthusiast, homebrewer #FPLBeerClub | #30SecondBeerReview Host of Pitch & Pint Pod #pitchpintpod

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