Premier League
Wolves0Watford2

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Watford: Capoue and Pereyra seal Hornets win

Watford celebrate a goal
Watford ended a five-match winless run with their victory at Molineux

Two goals in 58 first-half seconds saw a dominant Watford seal their first win since September and end Wolves' six-game unbeaten run.

A rocket shot from Etienne Capoue opened the scoring for the Hornets following a tentative start at Molineux, before a slick finish from Roberto Pereyra doubled their lead moments later.

It was a minute that knocked the wind out of the Wolves players' sails on what proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the hosts, who were fielding an unchanged starting line-up for the ninth successive game.

The defeat was their first at home this season, while Watford ended a five-game winless streak.

Little could separate the sides in a drab opening 20 minutes before Capoue scored his second goal of the season, receiving the ball outside the area from Abdoulaye Doucoure and sending it flying through the legs of Wolves captain Conor Coady and past helpless keeper Rui Patricio.

Most Watford fans had yet to sit back down before their side went two ahead, Pereyra delightfully dinking the ball over Patricio with the outside of his left boot.

Wolves found another gear in the second half but were left exasperated as they struggled to convert their chances, with late efforts from Helder Costa and substitute Ivan Cavaleiro going begging.

Turning point for Watford?

Javi Gracia was forced to make big changes to his line-up. Both Christian Kabasele and Jose Holebas were missing through suspension, while striker Troy Deeney was ruled out with a minor hamstring injury.

But his changes paid dividends as Watford found the form they had been lacking in recent weeks, after winning their first four games of the campaign.

They blew Wolves away with their rapid double and could have had a couple more but for the hosts' resolute defenders, who refused to be embarrassed having conceded just once in their previous seven games.

Shortly after the goals, Gerard Deulofeu had a chance to make it three when Isaac Success was brought down by Willy Boly just inches outside the penalty box, but his free-kick hit the wall.

Wolves had no answer as their visitors continued to dominate the first half, and Pereyra almost had his second seven minutes before the break but curled his effort over the bar.

Victory marked Watford's 50th Premier League win and lifted them above Wolves to seventh in the table.

Frustration for Wolves

So impressive has Wolves' start to the season been that manager Nuno Espirito Santo had named the same starting line-up for nine successive games, but Watford proved their undoing as they lost for the first time at Molineux since January and failed to find the assured level fans have become used to seeing in the first half.

However, a different side came out after the break and threatened Watford early in the second half, substitute Ruben Vinagre seeing his cross spilled by Ben Foster before another cross from Helder Costa just floated too high for Diogo Jota in the box.

A much sharper performance meant the Hornets were prevented the time and space they had enjoyed in the first half - but they failed to trouble Foster, who saved a cheeky backheeled effort from Boly on the hour mark.

The home supporters were incensed when Vinagre was pulled up by referee Lee Mason when through on goal after he had judged the defender to have pulled down Adrian Mariappa - and the boos continued when a penalty appeal was waved away following a tackle on Costa by Will Hughes.

Wolves piled the pressure on in the dying minutes but their afternoon was summed up when Cavaleiro sent a free header over the bar.

Man of the match - Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford)

Abdoulaye Doucoure celebrates one of Watford's goals at Wolves on Saturday
Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure provided the assists for both his side's goals, was impressive in the air and had an 87.4% pass success rate

'The first half was amazing' - what they said

Watford manager Javi Gracia, speaking to BBC Sport: "We played a good game. The first half was amazing, and with two goals we managed the game until the end.

"The two goals in a short time were key. After that we managed the situation well. Wolves played better at the start of the second half, but we took control again and defended well.

"We wanted to offer a good version of us, a good face and try to offer this win to our supporters. Today is a reward for them as well."

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Gracia joy at Watford's 'amazing' first half

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, speaking to BBC Sport: "We didn't play well, particularly in first half. When you don't perform well you cannot achieve a result.

"That minute with the goals, we must look at carefully. Two mistakes, two goals. In the second half we had a better attitude. Even if you lose you must lose with dignity and we tried until the end."

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Nuno Espirito Santo admits Wolves made costly 'mistakes'

The stats

  • This was Wolves' first defeat in 15 games at Molineux, since losing to Nottingham Forest in the Championship in January.
  • Watford have won two of their past four away games in the Premier League, more than they had in their previous 16 games (W1 D2 L13).
  • Wolves have named the same starting XI for their opening nine games of the season, extending that Premier League record.
  • They are the first Premier League team to name the same starting XI nine times in a row since Burnley in February 2015.
  • There were just 58 seconds between Watford's first and second goals against Wolves - both were assisted by Abdoulaye Doucoure.
  • Roberto Pereyra's goal was his first away league goal for Watford since scoring against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October 2017 - each of his previous seven goals had been at Vicarage Road.

What's next?

Wolves travel to Brighton in the Premier League next Saturday (15:00 BST kick-off), while Watford host Huddersfield at the same time.

Line-ups

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 5BennettBooked at 90mins
  • 16Coady
  • 15Boly
  • 2DohertySubstituted forTraoréat 72'minutes
  • 8NevesBooked at 35mins
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 19Castro OttoSubstituted forVinagreat 45'minutes
  • 10Hélder Costa
  • 9JiménezSubstituted forCavaleiroat 60'minutes
  • 18JotaBooked at 73mins

Substitutes

  • 7Cavaleiro
  • 21Ruddy
  • 27Saïss
  • 29Vinagre
  • 30Hause
  • 33Bonatini
  • 37Traoré

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 21Femenía
  • 6Mariappa
  • 15Cathcart
  • 11Masina
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 19HughesBooked at 69mins
  • 37Pereyra
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forGrayat 69'minutes
  • 10SuccessSubstituted forPrödlat 75'minutesSubstituted forWilmotat 88'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 5Prödl
  • 12Sema
  • 18Gray
  • 20Quina
  • 23Navarro
  • 24Wilmot
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
31,144

Match Stats

Home TeamWolvesAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home10
Away9
Shots on Target
Home1
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away2
Fouls
Home23
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Watford 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Watford 2.

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

Foul by Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Hand ball by Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Adama Traoré.

Booking

Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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

Foul by Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Ben Wilmot replaces Sebastian Prödl because of an injury.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Attempt blocked. Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ivan Cavaleiro.

Attempt missed. Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Ivan Cavaleiro.

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

Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Attempt missed. Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Foul by Sebastian Prödl (Watford).

Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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

Foul by Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Attempt missed. Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Rúben Vinagre with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Sebastian Prödl replaces Isaac Success.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Adam Masina.

Booking

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card.

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

Foul by Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Adama Traoré replaces Matt Doherty.

Attempt missed. João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Hélder Costa.

Attempt missed. Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Kiko Femenía.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Andre Gray replaces Gerard Deulofeu.

Booking

Will Hughes (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Will Hughes (Watford).

Rúben Vinagre (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Isaac Success.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Adrian Mariappa.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Adam Masina.

Offside, Watford. Ben Foster tries a through ball, but Isaac Success is caught offside.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City97202632323
2Liverpool97201631323
3Chelsea96302071321
4Tottenham9702167921
5Arsenal86021910918
6Bournemouth95221612417
7Watford95131312116
8Wolves943298115
9Man Utd94231516-114
10Leicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Brighton93241013-311
13Burnley92251017-78
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham9216814-67
16Southampton9135614-86
17Cardiff9126819-115
18Fulham91261125-145
19Huddersfield9036418-143
20Newcastle9027614-82
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