Tag Archives: almunia

Watford 0 Cardiff 0 – match report

Watford 0 Cardiff 0: Zola's men lose ground on Hull after goalless draw against leaders


18:37 GMT, 6 April 2013



18:45 GMT, 6 April 2013

Watford lost ground in the race for automatic promotion as they were held to a goalless draw by npower Championship leaders Cardiff at Vicarage Road.

Following their 1-0 win over second placed Hull on Tuesday, Gianfranco Zola's side failed to keep pace with their rivals following a frustrating evening.

The point for City leaves them requiring a maximum of seven points from their remaining six games as they take a step closer to the Barclays Premier League.

Promotion chasers: Watford and Cardiff played out a 0-0 draw in a top-of-the-table clash at Vicarage Road

Promotion chasers: Watford and Cardiff played out a 0-0 draw in a top-of-the-table clash at Vicarage Road


Watford: Almunia, Doyley, Cassetti, Ekstrand, Abdi, Battocchio (Hogg 51), Chalobah, Briggs, Anya, Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri 60).

Subs Not Used: Bond, Yeates, Pudil, Thompson, Geijo.

Booked: Cassetti.

Cardiff: Marshall, Connolly (McNaughton 10), Turner, Barnett, Taylor, Kim, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Conway (Smith 69), Mason (Gestede 56), Bellamy.

Subs Not Used: Lewis, Whittingham, Cowie, Helguson.

Booked: Gunnarsson, Mutch.

Att: 15,550

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

Zola made two changes to the side
that edged past promotion rivals Hull on Tuesday. Former Arsenal
goalkeeper Manuel Almunia returned between the posts while stalwart
defender Lloyd Doyley was also recalled.

The Bluebirds made just one change
following their 3-0 win against lowly Blackburn over the Easter weekend.
Striker Joe Mason came in to replace the injured Fraizer Campbell.

Malky Mackay's preparations suffered a
huge blow 10 minutes into the game though when Kevin McNaughton was
forced to replace Matthew Connolly at the back.

However, they started the brighter of
the two sides and Bo-kyung Kim soon forced Almunia into a fine save as
he blocked a low effort with his feet.

Craig Conway then fired just wide from the edge with the hosts struggling for a response as they waited for a chance to counter.

Cardiff came closer still as Ben Turner headed over the top before Zola's gameplan began to pay dividends.

On the up Cardiff are five points clear of Hull with a game in hand while Watford sit third in the table

On the up Cardiff are five points clear of Hull with a game in hand while Watford sit third in the table



Click HERE for the full Championship table

Top-scorer Matej Vydra nodded down
for strike partner Troy Deeney but he inexplicably blazed his strike
over the bar from no more than 10 yards.

The Hornets penned their opponents
deep in their own half and with the game bubbling nicely things
threatened to boil over on the touchline.

Zola's assistant, Giancarlo
Corradini, had to be pulled away by the little Italian after clashing
with Mackay as they argued over Aron Gunnarsson's challenge on Cristian

Referee Mark Halsey kept his cards in
his pocket and Cardiff managed to keep the ball out of their net as
they survived a late onslaught before the break.

The visitors responded positively
after the restart and Almunia did well to save Joel Ekstrand's blushes
pushing away Joe Mason's strike after he seized on an error by the

Contest: Cardiff captain Craig Bellamy comes under pressure from Watford's Matthew Briggs

Contest: Cardiff captain Craig Bellamy comes under pressure from Watford's Matthew Briggs

As the game began to open up David
Marshall was forced into action at the opposite end making a terrific
fingertip save to keep out Deeney's header.

Conway fired a volley narrowly wide
before Hornets substitute Fernando Forestieri lashed one inches over the
crossbar as the game continued at a frantic pace.

The former Udinese man then
squandered another promising opportunity as he dragged another effort
wide from the edge after a clever flick by Nathaniel Chalobah.

On the touchline: Watford manager Gianfranco Zola and Cardiff boss Malky Mackay

On the touchline: Watford manager Gianfranco Zola and Cardiff boss Malky Mackay

Cardiff were forced to try and
utilise Gunnarsson's long throw in the closing stages and it very nearly
paid off when Kim's close-range effort was deflected wide of the post.

Mackay's former charges looked as
though they might have the last word when Deeney found a way through but
he was crowded out before he could get a shot away.

Forestieri also saw his shot bravely
blocked over the top during a frantic final few minutes but in the end
both sides were forced to settle for a hard-fought point.

Burnley 1 Watford 1: Austin on the mark again as Clarets grab a point against Hornets

Burnley 1 Watford 1: Austin on the mark again as Clarets grab a point against Hornets


17:38 GMT, 15 December 2012



17:45 GMT, 15 December 2012

Burnley striker Charlie Austin scored his 22nd goal of the campaign as the Clarets and Watford drew at Turf Moor.

Nathaniel Chalobah fired the visitors into an 11th minute lead with a well-taken volley from the edge of the area but Austin equalised 17 minutes later from the penalty spot.

The home side dominated for large parts but could not force a winner, with Austin himself being denied by goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, and the Hornets could have left with all three points as Joel Ekstrand struck the crossbar for Watford with 10 minutes left.

Another one! Charlie Austin's equaliser against Watford was his 22nd of the season and earned Burnley a point

Another one! Charlie Austin's equaliser against Watford was his 22nd of the season and earned Burnley a point

Match Facts

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Long, Shackell, Lafferty, Wallace (Vokes 90), Marney, Edgar, Paterson (Stanislas 72), Ings (Treacy 84), Austin. Subs not used: Jensen, Mills, Bartley, Stock

Booked: Treacy.

Goal: Austin 28 pen.

Watford: Almunia, Ekstrand, Hall, Hoban, Cassetti, Abdi, Chalobah (Yeates 46), Hogg, Pudil (Anya 90), Geijo (Vydra 72), Deeney. Subs not used: Bonham, Neuton, Beleck, Battocchio.

Booked: Chalobah, Almunia.

Goal: Chalobah 11.

Attendance: 14,896

Referee: Phil Gibbs

The latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Burnley boss Sean Dyche made three changes, with David Edgar and Kevin Long replacing suspended duo Chris McCann and Michael Duff, while Danny Ings was handed a first start of the season in place of Brian Stock, who dropped to the bench.

Watford welcomed back Almen Abdi to the side for his first start since November due to injury, while Alexandre Geijo replaced Matej Vydra in attack.

The visitors went ahead after just 11 minutes through on-loan midfielder Chalobah. Burnley failed to deal with a succession of Watford corners and, after the ball was partially cleared, Chalobah volleyed in from edge of the area for his second Hornets goal.

Burnley responded well to falling behind, with Edgar heading wide from Ross Wallace's corner.

And the Clarets were soon level. Referee Phil Gibbs had no hesitation in awarding a spot-kick after Joel Ekstrand pushed Dean Marney in the area and Austin calmly sent Almunia the wrong way.

Dyche's side were on top and Kieran Trippier's shot from the edge of the area tested Almunia, who could only gather at the second attempt. Then Danny Lafferty's deep cross was headed goalwards by Austin but the Spaniard saved well.

Just before half-time, Martin Paterson broke down the flank and Austin was denied a tap-in by a crucial intervention from Tommie Hoban.

Mark Yeates replaced Chalobah at half-time for the visitors to make his 300th career appearance, and the Hornets started the second half brightly with Deeney going close.

Away point: Nathaniel Chalobah had fired Gianfranco Zola's Watford into an 11th minute lead at Turf Moor

Away point: Nathaniel Chalobah had fired Gianfranco Zola's Watford into an 11th minute lead at Turf Moor

The striker, who was aiming to equal the club record for scoring in seven successive games, was denied twice by Lee Grant as the Burnley keeper saved the Deeney's far-post header with his legs and recovered quickly to block the follow up.

But Burnley soon found their rhythm again and almost went ahead as Trippier's dangerous cross was met by Austin, but his diving header was held well by Almunia.

Austin was then released by Lafferty but his attempted chip failed to find a way past the former Arsenal keeper.

There were loud shouts from the home fans for a penalty with 16 minutes left as the ball struck Marco Cassetti's arm in the penalty area, but the referee decided it was not deliberate.

Watford were still a threat on the counter and Ekstrand came within inches of a spectacular goal but his long range effort crashed off the bar.

But neither side was able to force a late winner as the game ended all-square.

Watford 1 Hull 2: Match report

Watford 1 Hull 2: Tigers feat as Meyler and Brady continue road streak


17:25 GMT, 8 December 2012



17:25 GMT, 8 December 2012

Hull maintained their impressive away form to halt Watford's unbeaten run and climb up to fourth in the npower Championship thanks to goals from Irishmen David Meyler and Robbie Brady.

The Tigers made it three successive wins on the road, and their sixth victory in their last nine league matches, with a goal just before half-time from on-loan Sunderland midfielder Meyler and winger Brady's thumping free-kick midway through the second half.

Bobbing along: Robert Brady (left) keeps Hull riding high on a wave of confidence

Bobbing along: Robert Brady (left) keeps Hull riding high on a wave of confidence

Match facts

WATFORD: Almunia, Hall (Geijo (78), Ekstrand (Anya 46), Hoban, Cassetti, Yeates, Hogg, Chalobah, Pudil (Abdi 65), Deeney, Vydra. Subs not used: Bonham, Thompson, Mujangi Bia, Battocchio

Goals: Deeney 90+2

HULL: Stockdale, Chester, McShane (Hobbs 27), Bruce, Elmohamady, Evans, Quinn, Meyler, Brady (Proschwitz 83), Koren (Rosenior 74), Simpson. Subs not used: Kajupovic, McLean, Cairney, Olofinjana

Goals: Meyler 41, Brady 73

Booked: Brady, Simpson

Referee: M Haywood

Att: 12,156

Click here for the latest Championship results, table and fixtures

Gianfranco Zola's Watford, unbeaten
in their previous seven having won five of them, had to settle for Troy
Deeney's stoppage-time consolation, while second-half substitute Almen
Abdi hit the post for the hosts shortly after replacing Daniel Pudil,
but it was not to be their day.

Save for an early shot from Hull
striker Jay Simpson and Watford defender Nathaniel Chalobah's blocked
20-yard shot in the 17th minute, neither side mustered a single effort
on goal during the opening half-hour.

Hull midfielder Robert Koren let fly
with a strike from similar distance that was comfortably held by home
goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, but the biggest cheer, from the away end at
least, came when Tigers defender Jack Hobbs replaced the injured Paul
McShane in the 27th minute.

Hobbs made his first appearance for
the club since March after undergoing cruciate knee ligament surgery
towards the end of last season.

Hull had slowly began to build up a
head of steam towards the end of the first period and were rewarded with
the game's opening goal in the 41st minute.

Corry Evans smashed a blistering shot
from the edge of the penalty area against the crossbar and midfield
colleague Meyler reacted quickest to head home the rebound.

Watford striker Troy Deeney pulled
his shot from outside the area off target shortly after the restart and
Hull goalkeeper David Stockdale rescued the visitors with a brilliant
save to keep out Mark Yeates' free-kick soon after as the home side
attempted to step up a gear.

But Hull twice threatened to extend
their lead through long-range strikes from Koren and Brady as Watford
struggled to make headway.

Hornets substitute Abdi, a
65th-minute replacement for Pudil, struck the woodwork with a superb
shot from inside the area shortly after coming on.

Watford were then made to pay.
Defender Fitz Hall fouled Meyler in a central position 25 yards from
goal and Brady thumped home an unstoppable free-kick, high into the net
for the decisive second goal in the 73rd minute.

Chalobah headed Yeates' corner over
the crossbar and the latter's 30-yard free-kick crashed against the wall
as Watford mounted a late rally.

Deeney did pull one back for the Hornets in the 92nd minute when converting Abdi's cross, but Hull held on for victory.

Leeds 1 Watford 6: match report

Leeds 1 Watford 6: Nine men gunned down by six-shooting loan rangers

Wayne Gardiner


17:42 GMT, 10 November 2012



17:42 GMT, 10 November 2012

Watford's army of loan rangers combined deliver a fourth away win of the season as they ran riot at Elland Road on what proved to be another depressing afternoon for Leeds.

Frustrated: Leeds manager Neil Warnock

Frustrated: Leeds manager Neil Warnock

Hornets manager Gianfranco Zola has assembled a side largely made up of players borrowed from Udinese but, regardless of their origin, they clearly have more than enough ability to make an impression in the Championship.

The caveat to this win was that the
goals they scored from Matej Vydra, Almen Abdi, Mark Yeates, Sean Murray
and Troy Deeney all came after Leeds had been reduced to nine men, but
prior to that they had still looked the better side, having gone ahead
through Vydra.

Leeds did score a penalty through
Michael Tonge but having lost Jason Pearce to a first-half red card and
Rodolph Austin to injury after all their substitutions had been made,
were made to suffer for the best part of an hour.

Now without a league win in six,
they and manager Neil Warnock remain at the mercy of the takeover of the
club by GFH Capital which is close to entering its seventh month.

Match facts

LEEDS: Kenny, Austin, Peltier, Pearce, Byram, Green (Lees 45), Norris, Tonge, White (Brown 46), Diouf (Hall 46), Varney. Subs not used: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, Becchio, Dawson.

Goals: Tonge (80, pen)

Sent off: Pearce

Booked: Peltier, Byram, Norris, Varney

WATFORD: Almunia, Doyley, Hoban, Ekstrand, Anya, Abdi (Hogg 68), Cassetti, Smith (Murray 81), Yeates, Geijo (Deeney 80), Vydra. Subs not used: Bond, Thompson, Chalobah, Forestieri.

Goals: Vydra 28, 83, Deeney 90+9, Abdi 61, Yeates 75, Murray 90+5

Booked: Ekstrand, Yeates

Referee: T Kettle

Att: 19,104

Click here for latest Championship results, fixtures and table

With an already-thin squad at his disposal, Warnock cut a forlorn figure throughout.

Well-placed sources on both sides of
deal insist it remains on track but regardless of whether it does or
not, it will not be as smooth a transaction as the one which saw Watford
bought out in the summer, allowing them to embark on their recruitment

They are now back in amongst the
play-off contenders and, having weathered an early storm which saw David
Norris hit the post following a six-man move, were too quick and
ultimately too good for their hosts.

Manuel Almunia was only tested once – when Luke Varney spurned a
one-on-one chance – and with Leeds keeping a high line in order to
attempt to exert pressure, they were easy pickings Watford's nippy front
three of Vydra, Anya and Abdi.

They demonstrated that in the 27th
minute when they opened the scoring, with Alex Geijo collecting the ball
on the break just inside the Leeds half and promptly sending a pass
ahead for Vydra to chase.

There was only one winner in his
footrace with Lee Peltier but his chance still needed finishing,
something he did with a clinical edge-of-the-box drive.

One could quite easily have been two
after that, with Abdi first shooting at Paddy Kenny after a ball came
loose, before the same player turned Pearce inside out and dragged a
shot across Kenny's bows and wide.

The home side were simply unable to
handle the speed with which Watford were attacking them and on the
stroke of half-time, they again paid the price.

El-Hadji Diouf's pass sold Pearce
shot and as Abdi nipped in to rob possession, the former Portsmouth
defender poleaxed him and was duly dismissed by referee Trevor Kettle.

Warnock's response was to make three
changes by the time the second half had started, but his cavalier
approach came back to haunt him two minutes after it when Austin went
down in a heap and had to be carried off, leaving United to carry on
with nine men.

It was open practice for Watford
after that and after a couple of sighters they doubled their lead on the
hour when Abdi dragged a 20-yard shot beyond Kenny and into the bottom

Against slim numbers it was hard to
gauge how good Watford were playing but there was no doubting the
quality of their third – a brilliant 25-yard free-kick from Yeates which
again gave Kenny no chance.

Somehow, Leeds got on the scoresheet
themselves in the 79th minute when Varney was upended by Joel Ekstrand,
allowing Tonge to score his fourth of the season, but it was a mere blip
for Watford.

With eight minutes left Vydra coolly
chipped a counter-attack second after an excellent ball from Anya and
then, deep into the 10 minutes of added time, Murray placed a 25-yard
drive beyond Kenny.

That appeared to have rounded things
off but there was still more time for Watford to score again, Deeney
replicating Murray's effort.

Arsenal open the exit door to Theo Walcott, Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin, Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci

Arsenal open the exit door to Walcott, Chamakh, Arshavin, Djourou and Squillaci



22:00 GMT, 26 October 2012

Arsenal are planning a clear-out in an attempt to boost their coffers even further during the January sales.

The news comes just 24 hours after
the club's board were heavily criticised by supporters for failing to
replicate their financial success on the pitch.

On his way: Theo Walcott could lead the January clearance

On his way: Theo Walcott (left) could lead the January clearance

Theo Walcott could lead the clearance, with Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin, Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci also to be made available.

Arsenal are still trying to resolve their long-running contract dispute with Walcott, but if it is not sorted by January they will listen to offers for the England international. Liverpool, Juventus and Chelsea are monitoring the situation.

Chamakh is wanted by former club Bordeaux, while Brazilian club Internacional are also interested in the Morocco striker.

However, 28-year-old Chamakh's possible return to France is being scuppered by his 50,000-a-week wages. He is keen on a return, but Bordeaux are only willing to offer him a deal worth half that and Chamakh is unwilling to take such a drop.

Cheers: Fulham could offer an escape for Andrey Arshavin

Cheers: Fulham could offer an escape for Andrey Arshavin

Meanwhile, Fulham are interested in Arshavin, while the Russian would also have options in his homeland. Napoli are interested in signing Switzerland defender Djourou.

January's planned auction is a continuation of Arsenal's semi-successful summer clear-out which saw unwanted players such as Manuel Almunia, Carlos Vela and Henri Lansbury leave on a permanent basis, while Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson and Park Chu-young all left on loan.

Supporters will hope funds raised from the planned January cull will be made available to Arsene Wenger to strengthen his squad, particularly after the summer losses of Robin van Persie and Alex Song.

And the Frenchman, whose side have lost three out of their last five matches, admits: 'Maybe we have lost something (without Van Persie) but we need to look at that in the longer term.

'Van Persie could make a goal with half a chance that is for sure, I do know that. And when you lose 40 goals somewhere (it is harder).

'I'm not saying the players are fragile but you could see in the defeat against Schalke on Wednesday night that we played all right in the first half but slowly we dropped. Is it physical or confidence It is difficult to know.

'We are in a sticky patch but have to put it into perspective. We are still in a strong position in the Champions League and Premier League – but it is important to bounce back.

'This team cares. Sometimes you are surprised that they care so much. But I know they do. When you don't get the results the confidence goes quickly.'

Huddersfield 2 Watford 3: Deeney keeps his cool to seal stunning fightback

Huddersfield 2 Watford 3: Deeney keeps his cool to seal stunning fightback



17:23 GMT, 29 September 2012

Huddersfield squandered the chance to go top of the npower
Championship as Troy Deeney's late penalty earned Watford a dramatic

Oliver Norwood's stunning free-kick handed the hosts, unbeaten in
six, the advantage, but Simon Grayson's men were stunned by a
second-half fightback from their struggling visitors.

Just cool: Watford's Troy Deeney (right) celebrates his winner

Just cool: Watford's Troy Deeney (right) celebrates his winner


Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Peter Clarke, Gerrard, Dixon, Norwood (Arfield 79), Clayton (Scannell 72), Southern, Ward, Novak, Beckford (Lee 79). Subs Not Used: Bennett, Woods, Wallace, Spencer.

Goals: Norwood 25,Lee 84.

Watford: Almunia, Cassetti, Neuton, Hall, Pudil, Hoban, Hogg, Abdi (Yeates 76), Chalobah (Smith 81), Deeney, Forestieri (Murray 90). Subs Not Used: Bond, Iwelumo, Forsyth, Doyley.

Booked: Cassetti,Smith.

Goals: Forestieri 68, Hall 83, Deeney 87 pen.

Att: 14,564

Ref: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire).

Udinese loanee Fernando Forestieri netted his first goal for the club, Fitz Hall put the Hornets ahead and although substitute Alan Lee levelled, Deeney – making only his second appearance since being released from prison – kept his cool to win it from the spot.

The home side handed a debut to on-loan Leicester striker Jermaine Beckford and looked threatening early on, Keith Southern's header was destined for the back of the net only for Piccoli Neuton to clear off the line.

The Hornets' first chance arrived from a corner which was delivered by Forestieri and headed over by fellow Italian Marco Cassetti.

And they pressed again minutes later as Forestieri danced his way past Peter Clarke and hit a superb curling effort just wide of the far upright.

But it was the Terriers who broke the deadlock, and in some style too. Almen Abdi fouled Beckford and Norwood stepped up to steer home a breathtaking free-kick from 30 yards out.

It was the midfielder's third goal in as many matches, having only scored three in his fledgling career prior to that run, and it took his side temporarily top of the pile.

As the home fans rejoiced in that fact, Deeney, who served three months for affray, almost curtailed their celebrations but his header cleared the bar.

Forestieri should have sparked his team back to life early in the second half but he miscued wide when well placed.

Cool head: Deeney scores from the penalty spot

Cool head: Deeney scores from the penalty spot

The miss nonetheless served as encouragement to Gianfranco Zola's side and they drew level after 68 minutes when Forestieri's shot deflected off Clarke and crept past Alex Smithies.

Beckford's underwhelming afternoon was brought to an end 11 minutes from time as he made way for Lee but it was the away side who struck next before the veteran striker could make his mark.

Hall turned home substitute Mark Yeates' cross from close range and an upset was on the cards.

Lee, however, had other ideas and having replaced the man who made all the headlines pre-match, he looked set to have written one of his own when he netted a bullet header with six minutes left.

The final say went to Watford, though, when Cassetti was fouled in the box and Deeney converted the subsequent spot-kick for his first goal of the season.

Watford 0 Ipswich 1 – match report

Watford 0 Ipswich 1: Last-gasp Chopra strikes to sink Tractor Boys' bogey side



21:08 GMT, 21 August 2012

Ipswich finally ended their losing sequence against bogey side Watford, thanks to a late strike from former Vicarage Road loanee Michael Chopra.

The ex-Newcastle striker had not found the net in his previous 12 outings, but popped up in the 90th minute to turn in a low cross from Carlos Edwards from six yards.

The effort made up for an earlier bad miss when Chopra sent a 69th-minute shot over the crossbar from 12 yards.

Match-winner: Michael Chopra (left) celebrates scoring past Manuel Almunia

Match-winner: Michael Chopra (left) celebrates scoring past Manuel Almunia


Watford: Almunia, Hodson, Taylor, Nosworthy, Pudil, Yeates (Beleck 90), Hogg, Abdi, Murray (Anya 68), Vydra, Garner (Iwelumo 57).

Subs Not Used: Bond, Dickinson, Doyley, Smith.

Booked: Yeates.

Ipswich: Loach, Edwards, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Luongo, Hyam, Carson (Scotland 76), Emmanuel-Thomas (Drury 79),
Chopra (Delaney 90), Martin.

Subs Not Used: Lee-Barrett, Stevenson, Murray, Ainsley.

Goals: Chopra 90.

Attendance: 12,422

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire).

Check out all the latest, stats, facts and table from the Championship

Paul Jewell's Tractor Boys had lost
their last five matches against the Hornets – and were without a victory
over their Championship rivals in their previous 15 meetings. But they
held the upper hand for long periods.

The Hornets, now under the
stewardship of Italian Gianfranco Zola, had won their opening two
matches of the season, a 1-0 success over Wycombe in the Capital One Cup
and a 3-2 victory away to Crystal Palace in the league, but it was
Ipswich who had the better of the first half.

A right-footed 30-yarder from Lee
Martin was superbly tipped over the crossbar by Hornets keeper Manuel
Almunia in the third minute.

Both Martin and striker Michael
Chopra then sent edge-of-the-box drives flashing narrowly wide, before a
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas 25-yard free-kick flew past Almunia's left-hand

And Emmanuel-Thomas drove another 20-yard shot wide as Ipswich continued to have the edge in terms of possession.

After 29 minutes Massimo Luongo
produced a right-footed shot from outside the penalty area but again
Almunia was not called upon to make a save.

But five minutes later Almunia was alert to punch clear an inswinging free-kick from Martin.

Ipswich also had the first real
effort of the second half, the impressive Emmanuel-Thomas lashing
another left-foot shot from outside the penalty area wide of the target.

Almunia then pulled off a good save in the 55th minute to keep out Luongo's left-footer.

Watford needed to try and gain the
initiative and Zola opted to bring on Chris Iwelumo for the ineffective
Joe Garner, and the big substitute immediately created an opening for
Almen Abdi, who fired over the crossbar from 12 yards.

After 65 minutes a shot by Matej
Vydra from the left-hand side of the penalty area was well blocked by
Ipswich midfielder Luke Hyam.

Ipswich goalkeeper Scott Loach, who
had left Watford for Portman Road in the summer, was called into action
four minutes from the end of normal to deal with a 20-yard shot from
Matej Vydra.

Ipswich had conceded 45 goals on
their Championship travels last term, more than any other club in the
division, but Loach was all smiles on the final whistle as he gained a
clean sheet on his return to Vicarage Road.

Watford 0 Tottenham 1 – pre-season match report

Watford 0 Tottenham 1: Defoe delivers timely reminder of his talents to AVB



18:08 GMT, 5 August 2012

Jermain Defoe made his case to start the season as Tottenham’s centre forward with the winner at Watford on Sunday evening.

Andre Villas-Boas is chasing at least one new striker with Emmanuel Adebayor and young Brazilian Leandro Damiao the chief targets.

But Defoe issued a reminder of his finishing prowess as he returned to the team after flying home from the club’s tour of the United States following the death of his cousin.

Jermaine Man: Tottenham striker Defoe scored the only goal in a pre-season win over Watford

Jermaine Man: Tottenham striker Defoe scored the only goal in a pre-season win over Watford


WATFORD (4-1-4-1): Almunia; Doyley (Hodson 75), Nosworthy, Taylor, Pudil
(Dickinson, 6 min); Eustace; Yeates, Buaben (Massey 78), Hogg (Forsyth
67), Murray (Mingoia 84); Garner (Iwelumo 58).

TOTTENHAM (4-3-2-1): Friedel (Cudicini HT); Naughton (Walker HT), Gallas
(Vertonghen HT), Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Jenas (Sigurdsson HT), Livermore
(Bentley 80), Carroll (Huddlestone 67); Lennon, Bale (Townsend 75);
Defoe (Kane 67).

It has been a sombre summer for the England striker. His father died after a battle with throat cancer during the preparations for Euro 2012 and 20-year-old Hannah Defoe died last week, electrocuted when she dived into a swimming pool during a holiday in the Caribbean.

Defoe was back on the pitch at Vicarage Road and back in the goals as Tottenham continued their unbeaten pre-season under the new manager.

There were traces of AVB’s tactical trademarks around. The goalkeeper rolled almost every ball to his defenders, the central defenders split wide in possession, the full-backs roared forward and the midfield triangle tried to rotate.

His efforts to imprint this at Chelsea
were ultimately thwarted by the unsuitability of the players at his
disposal, their resistance to change and the impatience of the owner.

is unlikely that the Blues would have won the Champions League if he
had stayed and attempted to push through the change but perhaps Spurs
will be more receptive. It will probably hinge on results.

Tottenham have only one more friendly –
at Valencia on Thursday – before the Barclays Premier League season
starts at Newcastle and Villas-Boas has plenty of work to focus on.

Remember me: Injury-hit Jermaine Jenas got some important minutes under his belt against Watford

Remember me: Injury-hit Jermaine Jenas got some important minutes under his belt against Watford

Spurs seemed disjointed as the first 45 mintues of Lloyd Doyley’s testimonial match idled by.

William Gallas headed over from Tom Carroll’s corner when he ought to have hit the target but that was about it. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon were subdued but more influential after the break.

Watford are also in the midst of major
changes, with Gianfranco Zola coming in to replace Sean Dyche, who
finished in the top half of the Championship last season despite the
club’s severe financial limitations.

back after two years out of management, told fans the club was entering
'a new era' but one of his new recruits, loan signing Daniel Pudil,
limped off after six minutes.

made four changes at half-time, sending on new signings Jan Vertonghen
and Gylfi Sigurdsson and Spurs started the second half with more

Proving it: Jake Livermore continued to underline his value as a first-team member at Tottenham

Proving it: Jake Livermore continued to underline his value as a first-team member at Tottenham

Defoe grabbed his goal with a close range header after a strong run and cross from Kyle Walker, also on at the interval.

Watford responded well. Mark Yeates went closest to an equaliser after stealing possession from Younes Kaboul.

Yet Tottenham could have extended the lead. Manuel Almunia saved well from Bale and David Bentley but the Defoe goal proved enough to record a third win of pre-season.

Ivan Gazidis to proceed with plan to restructure Arsenal wage bill to help Arsene Wenger in transfer market

Gazidis to proceed with plan to restructure Arsenal wage bill to help Wenger in transfer market



22:06 GMT, 6 June 2012

Arsenal are pressing ahead with a plan to restructure their wage bill after chief executive Ivan Gazidis admitted the existing model is inefficient.

And Gazidis hopes the move will allow manager Arsene Wenger to compete for the world's top talent.

The Gunners' current top earner is Robin van Persie – who earns a basic wage of 70,000-per-week.

New structure: Gazidis (left) hopes to free up funds for Wenger

New structure: Gazidis (left) hopes to free up funds for Wenger

But in contrast, fringe players Manuel
Almunia, Abou Diaby and Marouane Chamakh among others are not far behind
with weekly wages of between 50,000-60,000-per-week.

Sportsmail exclusively revealed in March how the club would embark on a summer clear out in a bid to slash their wage bill by 23million.

And speaking at an Arsenal Supporters Trust meeting, Gazidis confirmed the clubs intention to reshape the club's salary structure.

'We have inefficiency of spending in our squad – but we are moving towards as efficient a model as possible,' said Gazidis.

'Our wage structure has been based around a flatter salary structure – that is part of a team ethos the manager develops, it's about interaction between players – not superstars.

'But we have looked at this carefully and we have to make adjustments for top talent. They are earning a lot of money and I don't think that will slow down. We have to adjust our model.'

Top earner: Van Persie nets 70-000-a-week

Top earner: Van Persie nets 70-000-a-week

Meanwhile, Gazidis has placed further doubt on Alisher Usmanov's attempts to land a place on the Gunners board.

The Uzbeki billionaire, who is already a minority shareholder, wants a seat on the club's top table – and has promised a massive cash injection if owner Stan Kroenke agrees his place on the board.

But Gazidis said: 'I don't think whether it's Mr Usmanov or anyone else out there that we should pump money into the football club.

Cash promise: Usmanov (left)

Cash promise: Usmanov (left)

'We don't think that is healthy or for the good of the game When I arrived three-and-a-half years ago there had been a lot of change of the board and some degree of conflict.

'Since then we have worked hard to ensure the board is unified and has a common purpose. In terms of any further additions to the board it is important we don't disturb unity and don't create conflict.'

Premier League transfers – summer 2012

Transfer window: Club-by-club guide to all the Premier League deals


07:05 GMT, 30 May 2012

Keep track of all the latest transfers this summer with our club-by-club guide…

Lukas Podolski

New man: Lukas Podolski has joined Arsenal in an 11million


Lukas Podoloski (Cologne, 11m)


Manuel Almunia (released), Gavin Hoyte (released)

Click here for the latest Arsenal transfer news

Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar, free)


Emile Heskey (released), Carlos Cuellar (released), Brad Guzan (released)

Click here for the latest Aston Villa transfer news

Marko Marin (Werder Bremen, 7m)


Didier Drogba (released)

Click here for the latest Chelsea transfer news EVERTON



Adam Forshaw (Brentford, undisclosed), James McFadden (released), Marcus Hahnemann (released)

Click here for the latest Everton transfer news




Click here for the latest Fulham transfer news LIVERPOOL



Fabio Aurelio (Gremio, free), David Amoo (Preston North End, free)

Click here for the latest Liverpool transfer news



Owen Hargreaves (released)

Click here for the latest Manchester City transfer news MANCHESTER UNITED



Michael Owen (released), Richie De Laet (Leicester, undisclosed), Matty James (Leicester, undisclosed)

Click here for the latest Manchester United transfer news

Romain Amalfitano (Reims, free)



Click here for the latest Newcastle transfer news NORWICH



Zak Whitbread (released), Aaron Wilbraham (released), Josh Dawkin (released)

Click here for all the latest Norwich transfer news QUEENS PARK RANGERS



Peter Ramage (released), Danny Gabbidon (released), Danny Shittu (released), Fitz Hall (released), Gary Borrowdale (released), Lee Cook (released), Rowan Vine (released), Patrick Agyemang (released)

Click here for all the latest QPR transfer news READING

Garath McCleary (Nottingham Forest, free)


Brian Howard (released), Tomasz Cywka (released), Andy Griffin (released), Jack Mills (released)

Click here for the latest Reading transfer news



Radhi Jaidi (retired), David Connolly (released), Bartosz Bialkowski (released), Lee Holmes (released), Ryan Doble (released)

Click here for the latest Southampton transfer news STOKE



Andrew Davies (Bradford, free)

Click here for the latest Stoke transfer news SUNDERLAND



Craig Gordon (released), Jordan Cook (released)

Click here for the latest Sunderland transfer news





Click here for all the latest Swansea transfer news TOTTENHAM




Click here for the latest Tottenham transfer news WEST BROMWICH



Nicky Shorey (released), Joe Mattock (released), Somen Tchoyi (released)

Click here for the latest West Bromwich transfer news WEST HAM

Stephen Henderson (Portsmouth, undisclosed)


Julien Faubert (released), John Carew (released), Abdoulaye Faye (released), Papa Bouba Diop (released), Frank Nouble (released)

Click here for the latest West Ham transfer news WIGAN



Chris Kirkland (Sheffield Wednesday, free)

Click here for the latest Wigan transfer news