Premier League
Watford2Newcastle1

Watford 2-1 Newcastle United

Watford's Andre Gray
Watford's Andre Gray netted his fifth of the season as the Hornets claimed all three points.

Newcastle's players looked as if they were "on holiday" in the first half of Saturday's defeat at Watford, according to manager Rafael Benitez.

The Magpies slipped to a third successive defeat at Watford, who ensured their Premier League survival thanks to first-half goals from Roberto Pereyra and Andre Gray.

Ayoze Perez did pull a goal back in the 55th minute but, despite all their second-half dominance, Newcastle could not find the equaliser.

"We have to start with more focus and concentration," Benitez told BBC Match of the Day.

"We were not in the game in the first half. We made too many mistakes and the penalty decision was a surprise. It could have been 3-0.

"In the second half the team showed more of what we have seen for the majority of the season - they worked hard and created chances, but we didn't quite do enough to equalise."

Watford got off to the best possible start when Pereyra ended his side's run of three matches without a goal after just two minutes when he slotted home Abdoulaye Doucoure's neat reverse pass.

The Argentine then turned provider after 28 minutes as Gray nodded in his cross to score Watford's second.

Captain Troy Deeney had a golden chance to make it 3-0 from the spot, but Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka was equal to both Deeney's penalty kick and the resulting rebound after Paul Dummett had brought down Gray in the box.

The result marked a third straight defeat for Benitez's side, who threatened an equaliser in the second half as Perez with a deft flick and Mikel Merino with an powerful drive from the edge of the area both went close.

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Gracia happy with 'lucky' win against Newcastle

Perez, who was one of Newcastle's brightest performers on the day, echoed his manager's sentiment as he described his side's first-half performance as "embarrassing".

"We didn't play well at all in the first half. It wasn't good enough. That's now three defeats in a row," Perez told Match of the Day.

"They could have scored three goals in the first half so it's clear we are doing things wrong. We pushed them at the end but we couldn't score.

"We've got another two games to make it look better but today wasn't good enough."

Resurgent Watford

It's difficult to believe Javi Gracia's side had gone seven games without a win given the way they started and played throughout.

It took just two minutes for Watford to break the deadlock following slick build-up play between Doucoure and Will Hughes.

Doucoure then had the presence of mind to play in Pereyra to finish the move.

The Hornets' confidence only grew from there and Gray saw several chances go begging before he eventually got on the scoresheet, heading home Pereyra's cross.

And it was the Argentina international who epitomised Watford's first-half efforts - the winger was constantly up and down the left flank, making himself a nuisance for full-back Javier Manquillo and wide man Jacob Murphy.

Watford's midfield duo Doucoure and Capoue also impressed, over-shadowing England-hopeful Jonjo Shelvey and his partner Mo Diame.

The win moves them into 13th place in the Premier League on 41 points - the same as Newcastle but two goals worse off.

Signs of improvement for Newcastle

Newcastle have not claimed a point in the Premier League since their 2-1 win over Arsenal in mid-April, a result that took them over the 40-point threshold.

However, there were signs of encouragement throughout the second half for Benitez as his side held 71% of possession and created numerous chances.

Perez, who had earlier netted his eighth of the season, nearly equalised midway through the second half, but Watford keeper Orestis Karnezis was equal to his flick.

Watford then had Adrian Mariappa to thank after his sliding block deflected Merino's goalbound effort over the bar.

Despite their second-half efforts, Newcastle were left to rue a string of ineffective corners in stoppage time.

'We were a bit lucky' - what they said

Watford manager Javi Gracia speaking to Match of the Day: "We played better in the first half. We could have killed the game and missed a penalty.

"After that, Newcastle played better and created chances to draw the game but today we were a bit more lucky than in the last games, where we didn't have it. I'm very pleased to achieve the objective today and proud of my players.

"Many times we have lost points [late on] and today was an important game. We needed the points and the players showed a good attitude, character and desire, and for that I'm very happy.

"We'll see after the last game if the club respects my contract or will speak with me. But I'm proud to be with this club and I'm happy here."

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez: "I'm not too worried [about three straight defeats]. The main thing was to stay up and we did it.

"Now we'll see what happens in the next games. The players have done a great job through the season and they've not been doing that recently. But we have two games left and we'll see if they can do that again."

Man of the Match - Roberto Pereyra

Roberto Pereyra
Pereyra was Watford’s stand-out performer while he was on the pitch, both scoring and assisting prior to being replaced by the ineffective Gerard Deulofeu.

An unhappy milestone for Rafa - the stats

  • This match was Rafael Benitez's 300th Premier League match as a manager.
  • Watford have now won the last five meetings across all competitions, having lost five of the previous six.
  • Newcastle have still never won a top-flight away game against Watford (D4, L4).
  • Javi Gracia has now claimed 15 points from 13 Premier League games with his side scoring 11 goals.
  • It is the first time Watford have won their final home game of a league campaign (excluding play-offs) since 2011-12.

What's next?

Next up for Newcastle is a trip to Wembley to face Tottenham on Wednesday, 9 May (20:00 BST), followed by a visit from Chelsea on Sunday, 13 May (15:00).

Watford finish their season with a visit to Manchester United on 13 May, all games kicking off at the same time.

Line-ups

Watford

  • 30Karnezis
  • 2Janmaat
  • 15Cathcart
  • 27KabaseleBooked at 58mins
  • 25HolebasBooked at 72mins
  • 19Hughes
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 37PereyraSubstituted forDeulofeuat 56'minutes
  • 18GraySubstituted forRicharlisonat 80'minutes
  • 9DeeneySubstituted forMariappaat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 3Britos
  • 6Mariappa
  • 7Deulofeu
  • 11Richarlison
  • 17Sinclair
  • 21Femenía

Newcastle

  • 12Dubravka
  • 19ManquilloSubstituted forYedlinat 67'minutes
  • 6Lascelles
  • 20Lejeune
  • 3Dummett
  • 7MurphySubstituted forRitchieat 53'minutes
  • 10DiaméSubstituted forMerinoat 84'minutes
  • 8Shelvey
  • 15Kenedy
  • 17Pérez GutiérrezBooked at 42mins
  • 9Gayle

Substitutes

  • 11Ritchie
  • 14Hayden
  • 21Joselu
  • 22Yedlin
  • 23Merino
  • 25Haidara
  • 26Darlow
Referee:
Roger East
Attendance:
20,375

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamNewcastle
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home11
Away9
Shots on Target
Home8
Away1
Corners
Home2
Away5
Fouls
Home9
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 2, Newcastle United 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 2, Newcastle United 1.

Foul by Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United).

José Holebas (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Richarlison.

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Christian Kabasele.

Attempt missed. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by DeAndre Yedlin.

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Adrian Mariappa.

Attempt blocked. Mikel Merino (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by DeAndre Yedlin.

Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Kabasele (Watford).

Foul by Florian Lejeune (Newcastle United).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Newcastle United. Mikel Merino replaces Mohamed Diamé.

Offside, Watford. Abdoulaye Doucouré tries a through ball, but Richarlison is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Christian Kabasele (Watford) header from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by José Holebas.

Foul by Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United).

Will Hughes (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Will Hughes (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Richarlison replaces Andre Gray.

Offside, Newcastle United. Jonjo Shelvey tries a through ball, but Matt Ritchie is caught offside.

Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andre Gray (Watford).

Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Jonjo Shelvey with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Daryl Janmaat.

Booking

José Holebas (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the right. Assisted by Matt Ritchie with a cross.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Dummett.

Attempt blocked. Etienne Capoue (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by José Holebas.

Foul by Mohamed Diamé (Newcastle United).

Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Newcastle United. DeAndre Yedlin replaces Javier Manquillo.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Adrian Mariappa replaces Troy Deeney.

Attempt missed. Florian Lejeune (Newcastle United) header from the left side of the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

Booking

Christian Kabasele (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Christian Kabasele (Watford).

Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City353032102267693
2Man Utd36245767283977
3Liverpool362012480374372
4Tottenham36218768323671
5Chelsea35206960342666
6Arsenal351761267481957
7Burnley361412103532354
8Everton371310144355-1249
9Leicester361111144954-544
10Newcastle36118173646-1041
11Crystal Palace371011164355-1241
12Bournemouth371011164360-1741
13Watford37118184463-1941
14Brighton36913143347-1440
15West Ham36911164567-2238
16Huddersfield3598182756-2935
17Southampton36615153655-1933
18Swansea3689192753-2633
19West Brom37613183154-2331
20Stoke37612193367-3430
View full Premier League table

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