Premier League
WolvesWolverhampton Wanderers2WatfordWatford0

Wolves 2-0 Watford: Wolves beat Watford for first Premier League win

By Simon StoneBBC Sport at Molineux
Matt Doherty scores the opening goal
Matt Doherty was involved in everything down the right-hand side for Wolves and capped a fine performance with the opening goal

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has called on his side to "embrace the challenge" of matching England's top teams by combining domestic and European success, after winning their first Premier League game of the season against Watford.

The home side claimed all three points with a 2-0 victory at Molineux to move up to 14th in the table, while winless Watford remain bottom.

A Matt Doherty strike followed by a Daryl Janmaat own goal either side of half-time was enough to secure the three points.

Wolves are in the Europa League alongside Arsenal and Manchester United following their impressive seventh-placed finish last season and have already played 15 games in this campaign. They next travel to Turkey to face Besiktas on Thursday.

Santo said: "We play on a Thursday, we have to travel. But this growing is a natural thing. We started off in the Championship, then we had more difficulties in the Premier League.

"Now we are competing Thursday and Sunday. It is harder. We are growing. We are embracing the challenge and trying to improve.

"We don't have time to work on the training ground - we are recovering, so we have to do other things to improve our performance. This is a new thing for a lot of the players.

"It is very tough but big teams do it, we are doing it this season. We have to embrace it. We are doing well - it is difficult."

Wolves 2-0 Watford: Nuno happy with 'important win' over Watford

Unlike in the FA Cup semi-final between these sides at Wembley in April, when Watford memorably fought back from two goals down to win the tie in extra time, there was limited response from the visitors once Rui Patricio had denied Danny Welbeck with a full-length save.

Matt Doherty's close-range first-half effort was doubled by a woeful own goal from Watford defender Daryl Janmaat, who reacted to Morgan Gibbs-White's flick by turning a header into an empty net after 61 minutes.

Watford have conceded 12 goals in three league games since Quique Sanchez Flores returned to the club to replace Javi Gracia on 7 September.

And the Hornets have now gone 11 league games without a win, their worst run since the 1999-2000 campaign, which ended in relegation from the top flight.

In contrast, Wolves' first win of the season moves them clear of the bottom three.

Wolves end winless league run

Wolves players celebrate their first win of the Premier League season
The Wolves players were delighted to have finally secured their first Premier League win of the season

It has been an unexpectedly difficult start to the Premier League season for Wolves.

Seventh last term, this time around they have struggled as manager Nuno Espirito Santo tries to manage the twin demands of domestic and European campaigns.

Six league games without a win represented their worst run under Nuno - and a return to the disappointment Wolves' Chinese owners experienced in their early months in charge during 2016.

Under the chairmanship of Jeff Shi, the Fosun Group has since presided over a phenomenal rise in fortunes at Molineux, but this week Fosun have been grappling with a sharp downturn in fortunes at another of their businesses, Thomas Cook, in which they have an 18% stake.

Wolves say they will not be affected by the travel company's collapse, while Fosun themselves say their financial exposure is nowhere near the £1bn reported and is actually about £37.6m.

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen what view the Chinese government take over Fosun's overseas investment. The group made it known a few weeks ago they were looking at an injection of funding from a third party.

Evidently, Wolves are a better side than their recent form suggests - when Doherty scored the opener it was the first time they had been ahead in a league game all season.

Raul Jimenez had already gone close by that point and 19-year-old winger Pedro Neto impressed on his first league start.

Quique Sanchez Flores says his Watford team need to work harder and eliminate 'easy goals'

Watford must cut out costly errors

If there was some consolation for Watford, it came from the knowledge that at the same time Doherty was scoring the opener for Wolves, seven days previously they had been about to go 5-0 down at Manchester City.

Sanchez Flores is not the most demonstrative coach and he tended to watch the game unfold from the edge of his technical area with his hands behind his back whether Watford were doing well or badly.

Making his first Premier League start, England striker Welbeck worked hard enough but was limited to a single chance in the first half, from an acute angle, which Jonny blocked.

A double save from Rui Patricio to deny Jose Holebas and Tom Cleverley came at the expense of a corner, which substitute Roberto Pereyra - on for a disappointing Gerard Deulofeu - curled straight out of play.

It was the kind of basic error Watford can ill afford if they are to get themselves out of trouble and much worse was to come as Janmaat seemingly had time to do many other things with Gibbs-White's header rather than turn it into his own goal.

It completed another bad afternoon for Watford, with goalkeeper Ben Foster having to endure the gleeful taunts of the home fans at the end because of the six years he spent at Wolves' fierce local rivals, West Brom.

Man of the match - Matt Doherty (Wolves)

Matt Doherty scores the opening goal
Matt Doherty was involved in everything down the right-hand side for Wolves and capped a fine performance with the opening goal

'We were looking to improve and we did' - what they said

Watford manager Nuno Espirito Santo told BBC Sport: "It was a good performance. We started very well, created good problems and played with good lines. We did not allow many situations to worry us. We had clear chances to score so I am happy for the players and the fans."

On Pedro Neto's first start: "He was good. He is 19 years old, all the talent that he has has to be organised and used well. He is growing with the game and that's important that we use him the right way."

Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue: "We had to play much better than last week. We had to improve. We are not in a good run. We created chances to score but we need to work harder.

"We are not lazy people, we are pushing each other which is a good sign and we need to keep going. This is football, sometimes things happen but we know we will get points real soon."

Watford's unwanted own goal record continues - the stats

  • Wolves have ended a run of seven Premier League matches without a win, earning their first victory in the competition since beating Fulham 1-0 at Molineux in May of last season.
  • Watford are winless in 11 Premier League games (D3 L8) - equalling their longest run without a win in the competition (also 11 ending in January 2007 and December 1999).
  • Watford are the fourth side to concede as many as 20 goals after their opening seven Premier League games of a season, after Bolton (21) in 2011-12, Derby (20) in 2007-08 and Southampton (20) in 2012-13.
  • Daryl Janmaat's own goal was Watford's fifth in the Premier League since the start of last season - no side has put the ball past their own keeper more in the competition since then.
  • Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster has conceded 24 Premier League goals via own goals - only Mark Schwarzer (28) has conceded more (Tim Howard also conceded 24 in his career).
  • Since the start of last season, Matt Doherty (five goals, five assists) is one of only four defenders to have been directly involved in 10+ goals in the Premier League, after Trent Alexander-Arnold (16), Andrew Robertson (13) and Lucas Digne.
  • Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is winless in his last 12 games on a Saturday in all competitions (D2 L10) since his Espanyol side beat Alaves 1-0 in a La Liga tie in April 2017.

What's next?

Watford have a crucial game against newly-promoted Sheffield United at Vicarage Road on Saturday, 5 October (15:00 BST). Wolves go to Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday (17:55 BST) before travelling to champions Manchester City on Sunday, 6 October (14:00 BST).

Line-ups

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 15Boly
  • 16Coady
  • 27Saïss
  • 2Doherty
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 19Castro Otto
  • 37TraoréSubstituted forNevesat 87'minutes
  • 7NetoSubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 57'minutes
  • 9JiménezSubstituted forCutroneat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Bennett
  • 8Neves
  • 10Cutrone
  • 17Gibbs-White
  • 21Ruddy
  • 29Vinagre
  • 49Kilman

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 2Janmaat
  • 4Dawson
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25HolebasBooked at 68mins
  • 8Cleverley
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 23SarrSubstituted forGrayat 71'minutes
  • 10Welbeck
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forPereyraat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 14Chalobah
  • 18Gray
  • 20Quina
  • 21Femenía
  • 27Kabasele
  • 37Pereyra
Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
30,711

Match Stats

Home TeamWolvesAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home6
Away14
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home1
Away6
Fouls
Home5
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Watford 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

  4. Post update

    Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

  6. Post update

    Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Rúben Neves replaces Adama Traoré.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Danny Welbeck (Watford) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high following a corner.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Andre Gray (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Cleverley.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Conor Coady.

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Andre Gray (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Patrick Cutrone replaces Raúl Jiménez.

  15. Post update

    Roberto Pereyra (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  17. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Willy Boly.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Adama Traoré with a cross.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Roberto Pereyra (Watford) with an attempt from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Daryl Janmaat with a cross.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Danny Welbeck (Watford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Andre Gray with a headed pass.

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