Premier League
WatfordWatford2NewcastleNewcastle United1
By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Odion Ighalo
Odion Ighalo has been in superb form for newly promoted Watford this season

Odion Ighalo rediscovered his scoring touch as Watford won their first league game in six with victory over struggling Newcastle at Vicarage Road.

The Nigeria striker went into the game without a goal since 28 December, but finally notched his 14th when he beat the offside trap to slot in Troy Deeney's through-ball.

He then set up Craig Cathcart, who drove in the second from six yards.

Jamaal Lascelles headed home in the 71st minute to set up a tense finish.

The Magpies remain in the bottom three with 21 points, while the Hornets move up to 10th with 32 points.

A tale of two forward lines

Odion Ighalo and Aleksandar Mitrovic heatmap
Odion Ighalo (left) was more involved in attacking areas than Newcastle's lone striker Aleksandar Mitrovic (right)

There are those who never lose it, and then there are those who can't find it.

For the sceptics who thought Watford's Odion Ighalo had run dry, the persistent and hardy Nigeria striker proved them wrong today.

The Magpies kept the Hornet quiet in the first half by cutting off his supply line from midfield - a tactic similar to that employed by Southampton a couple of weeks ago.

But 44 seconds after the restart Newcastle switched off and allowed Ighalo to escape from their clutches. The 26-year-old checked his run before latching onto Deeney's pass and rounding keeper Rob Elliot to score.

The Magpies started with Aleksandar Mitrovic in attack - their £13m summer signing, who arrived to a fanfare from Anderlecht, but has repeatedly misfired.

In the first half, he found himself one-on-one with the final defender but did not have a guile to pass him. He also had another sidefoot effort saved by the foot of Heurelho Gomes.

While Ighalo would have blocked those missed chances from his mind, Mitrovic retreated into his shell after the break. It's now only four goals in 25 matches for the Serb.

The Magpies might need to spend again on a striker.

'We've got to get it right at both ends'

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores and Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren
Contrast of emotions: Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores (left) and Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren

That is what Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren said after the match.

But this is a club who have spent about £80m in two transfer windows, so why is there still a problem in attack and defence?

Aside from Mitrovic, another summer signing midfielder Florian Thauvin has been a flop, while 21-year-old central defender Chancel Mbemba has barely had time to find his feet after been given the task of partnering Fabricio Coloccini, whose form has been inconsistent. The Argentine was at fault for Ighalo's goal today.

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores brought in 16 players in the summer, and has managed to produce a side who look as if they have played with each other for several seasons.

The Hornets will be glad to have ended their winless run, and are now only five points off fifth. With this spirited team, Flores will fancy his chances of finishing in a European spot.

Man of the match - Odion Ighalo (Watford)

Odion Ighalo
He has had many 'man of the match' awards this season, so here's another one - a goal and assist for the Nigeria forward sent Watford on their way

Manager reaction

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores: "We played very well - it was an energetic team. It was difficult against Newcastle.

Watford 2-1 Newcastle: Very important result - Flores

"It was a crucial match during the season - Newcastle are trying to avoid the same position as us [relegation]. We have got more of a gap to Newcastle now.

"Half time today is the period where we tried to correct things. It was important to score quick and then score the second goal.

"Deeney and Ighalo always play well. Today it was important to play Deeney, Ighalo and Jose Manuel Jurado together."

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren: "We started the game so well and looked in control. The two goals really killed us. It's disappointing - we fought and came back. We threw everything at them - it wasn't our day.

Watford 2-1 Newcastle: We threw everything at them - McClaren

"We talked about focus and the first 10 minutes being important - [referring to the first goal]. The second goal was from an aimless cross into the box. We then had a mountain to climb.

"Apart from the two goals - the performance was terrific. We've got to get it right at both ends. We've had a tough Christmas. The last few results we've been growing and getting better. We lick our wounds and go again."

The stats you need to know

  • Ighalo's goal was the third quickest second half goal scored in the Premier League in 2015-16 (45:44)
  • Ighalo has scored seven goals in his last seven Premier League appearances at Vicarage Road
  • Deeney has assisted six of Ighalo's Premier League goals this season - no player has assisted more for another player
  • The Magpies have scored just seven goals in their last 17 Premier League away matches.
  • This is the first time that Watford have conceded in a competitive home game this season and not lost (six matches).

What next?

The Hornets are away to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup next weekend, while the Magpies are back in action on 3 February away at Everton.

Line-ups

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 14ParedesSubstituted forNyomat 89'minutes
  • 15Cathcart
  • 3BritosBooked at 68mins
  • 16Aké
  • 29Capoue
  • 23Watson
  • 8BehramiBooked at 56mins
  • 7JuradoSubstituted forAbdiat 77'minutes
  • 9DeeneySubstituted forN Amrabatat 90+3'minutes
  • 24Ighalo

Substitutes

  • 2Nyom
  • 5Prödl
  • 11N Amrabat
  • 17Guédioura
  • 18Pantilimon
  • 21Anya
  • 22Abdi

Newcastle

  • 21Elliot
  • 15Lascelles
  • 2ColocciniSubstituted forRiviereat 88'minutes
  • 18MbembaBooked at 51mins
  • 22Janmaat
  • 12Shelvey
  • 23SaivetSubstituted forPérezat 59'minutes
  • 16AaronsSubstituted forGouffranat 59'minutes
  • 7Sissoko
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 45Mitrovic

Substitutes

  • 11Gouffran
  • 17Pérez
  • 20Thauvin
  • 26Darlow
  • 27Taylor
  • 29Riviere
  • 31Marveaux
Referee:
Andre Marriner
Attendance:
20,611

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamNewcastle
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home13
Away11
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home2
Away7
Fouls
Home10
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 2, Newcastle United 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 2, Newcastle United 1.

  3. Post update

    Valon Behrami (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United).

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Emmanuel Rivière (Newcastle United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Daryl Janmaat with a cross.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Nordin Amrabat replaces Troy Deeney.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jonjo Shelvey with a cross following a corner.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Odion Ighalo.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Nathan Aké.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Nyom replaces Juan Carlos Paredes.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Newcastle United. Emmanuel Rivière replaces Fabricio Coloccini.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Etienne Capoue (Watford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Miguel Britos.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

  15. Post update

    Offside, Watford. Heurelho Gomes tries a through ball, but Odion Ighalo is caught offside.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Robert Elliot.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Odion Ighalo (Watford) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Troy Deeney with a headed pass.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Almen Abdi replaces Jurado.

  20. Post update

    Jurado (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.