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Watford 0-0 Sheffield United: Hornets remain winless after goalless draw

Andre Gray, Watford
Andre Gray, making his 100th Premier League appearance, somehow steered Roberto Pereyra's cross over the bar inside the opening 10 minutes

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores said his team are "on the road to finding" their first win of the season after they were held to a forgettable goalless draw by Sheffield United.

The Hornets are without a victory in their eight Premier League games this term - their longest winless start to a campaign since the 2006-07 season.

The hosts created the better chances at Vicarage Road but Andre Gray, Danny Welbeck and second-half substitute Craig Dawson all spurned excellent opportunities to earn their side all three points.

"We needed to win this match," said Flores.

"They used their tools, and we used our tools, but we created the best opportunities and that is very clear."

Neither side was able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck in a first half low on quality, although Gray should have given the hosts an early lead when he somehow lifted Roberto Pereyra's low cross over the bar with the goal gaping.

Craig Cathcart almost diverted Chris Basham's curling delivery into his own net soon afterwards, but Ben Foster spared his captain's blushes with a magnificent fingertip save.

Watford improved marginally in the second half and Welbeck should have broken the deadlock after latching on to Gray's flick-on, only for Dean Henderson to thwart the former Arsenal man with a smart stop.

Henderson was forced into action again in stoppage time, getting down low to his right to stop Dawson's close-range header.

"With these attempts, if the players felt more security, they would make the good decisions with the last pass, and the last shot," added Flores.

"We know that if we don't change, we are going to suffer, so the clean sheet is a good base to build from. You can take confidence and grow from that.

"We are not exactly the team we want, but we are on the road to finding it."

Watford move on to three points but remain bottom of the table, while Chris Wilder's side climb to 12th place after stretching their unbeaten away run to four matches.

Hornets made to rue profligacy

Flores said during the week he wants to "improve and define" Watford's style of play, but Hornets fans would have settled for any kind of victory against a Blades side who have picked up more points on their travels this season than at Bramall Lane.

The Vicarage Road club have now gone 12 matches without a victory in the league - their worst run since their relegation season in 1999-2000.

They may have registered their first Premier League clean sheet of the campaign against Wilder's team, but they failed to make the most of three golden opportunities to earn themselves a precious victory, the first of which fell to Gray inside the opening 10 minutes.

Tom Cleverley's pass down the right-hand side caught the Blades' defence asleep, allowing Pereyra to run on to the loose ball unchallenged.

The Argentine picked out Gray on the edge of the six-yard area, but the striker could only scoop the ball over the crossbar.

Gray's miss was the hosts' only clear-cut opportunity of the first half as United enjoyed the lion's share of possession without creating any major chances of their own.

Watford started the second half brightly, however, and should have broken the deadlock when Welbeck was played through following a swift counter-attack, but the former England international was denied by Henderson's right leg.

The impressive Henderson then produced a fine one-handed save to deny Dawson late on as the Blades held on for a hard-earned point.

Henderson makes amends for Liverpool blunder

Having been denied a point in cruel circumstances against league leaders Liverpool last weekend when Henderson let Georginio Wijnaldum's tame shot into the net, the trip to Vicarage Road presented an altogether different challenge for Wilder and his players.

They struggled to create meaningful opportunities despite enjoying more than 60% possession, but the point extends their unbeaten start away from home to four games - a feat they last achieved in the top flight in 1972.

Their best chance of the encounter came via Watford skipper Cathcart, who had his goalkeeper to thank for preventing his attempted clearance from nestling in the far corner in the first half.

Callum Robinson shot straight at Foster from the edge of the box in the second half, while Enda Stevens and John Lundstram both fired over the bar from promising positions.

But the afternoon belonged to Henderson, who delivered the perfect response to his costly mistake against Jurgen Klopp's side a week ago when Wilder said he "needs to do better".

The Blades goalkeeper - on loan from Manchester United - did brilliantly to deny Welbeck early in the second half, while Dawson's low header looked destined for the back of the net until the 22-year-old palmed the ball to safety with a strong right hand.

"He's a really good keeper and he's reacted the right way," said Wilder. "He was always going to play and he was pivotal to the clean sheets we had last year.

"It's a tough old changing room but he's come through it. There's no hiding place at international level or the likes of Manchester United, so that's what he's got to get used to."

Man of the match - Dean Henderson (Sheffield United)

Dean Henderson, Sheffield United, Danny Welbeck, Watford
Dean Henderson's save from Danny Welbeck was the first of two crucial stops that helped preserve the Blades' unbeaten run away from home

A rare clean sheet for Watford - the stats

  • Watford are winless in their eight Premier League games this season (D3 L5), their longest run without a victory from the start of a campaign in any division since 2006-07 (10 in the Premier League).
  • Watford have failed to score in five of their eight Premier League games this season - the most of any side in the competition.
  • Sheffield United have kept 24 clean sheets in the league since the start of last season; no side has recorded more shut-outs in this time in the top four tiers (excluding play-offs).
  • Watford have ended a run of 19 Premier League games without a clean sheet (45 goals conceded), their first shut-out since February.
  • Sheffield United are unbeaten in their opening four games to a season on the road (W1 D3) in any division for the first time since 2012-13, and in the top flight since 1972-73.
  • Watford have failed to score in each of their last three Premier League games, the Hornets' longest goalless run since April 2018 (three games).
  • Watford missed all three of their big chances against Sheffield United; in fact, no Premier League side has a worse big-chance conversion rate than the Hornets this season (21% - 3/14).

'We need to support the players' - what the managers said

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Watford 0-0 Sheffield United: Quique Sanchez Flores pleased with clean sheet

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores: "We tried to go for the win but Sheffield United are a very confident and physical side. We didn't concede in a long time, so that's a good thing.

"The players responded really well and we need to support them. They were a little nervous with decision-making, everything is so fast, but I think we had opportunities that we can work on.

"A clean sheet is a good thing and we talked last week about not conceding. We're working hard together to get more confidence for the future.

"We have the break now with a lot of nationalities in our team, so we will come back and continue to work hard."

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Watford 0-0 Sheff Utd: Chris Wilder delighted with results on the road

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: "When you come away from home in the Premier League and play the way we did it is good, but we couldn't really find that final pass.

"If we can't win then we need to take something from these games. The balance of the team is good with the amount of possession and chances we had, the players were outstanding.

"I think we're a couple of points light, but nine points is a decent start. We've got a nice tasty game against Arsenal to look forward to after the international break."

What's next?

Watford travel to Tottenham Hotspur after the international break on Saturday, 19 October (kick-off 15:00 BST), while Sheffield United welcome Arsenal to Bramall Lane on Monday, 21 October (20:00).

Line-ups

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 2Janmaat
  • 15Cathcart
  • 5PrödlSubstituted forDawsonat 57'minutes
  • 27Kabasele
  • 25Holebas
  • 8Cleverley
  • 16Doucouré
  • 37Pereyra
  • 10WelbeckSubstituted forSarrat 77'minutes
  • 18GraySubstituted forDeulofeuat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 4Dawson
  • 7Deulofeu
  • 14Chalobah
  • 19Hughes
  • 21Femenía
  • 23Sarr

Sheff Utd

  • 1Henderson
  • 6Basham
  • 12Egan
  • 5O'Connell
  • 2Baldock
  • 7LundstramBooked at 90mins
  • 16Norwood
  • 4Fleck
  • 3Stevens
  • 9McBurnieBooked at 57minsSubstituted forMoussetat 62'minutes
  • 11RobinsonSubstituted forSharpat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Freeman
  • 10Sharp
  • 15Jagielka
  • 22Mousset
  • 23Osborn
  • 25Moore
  • 27Besic
Referee:
Andre Marriner
Attendance:
20,811

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamSheff Utd
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home8
Away9
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away7
Fouls
Home7
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 0, Sheffield United 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 0, Sheffield United 0.

Attempt missed. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Craig Dawson (Watford) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu.

Lys Mousset (Sheffield United).

Christian Kabasele (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

John Lundstram (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by John Lundstram (Sheffield United).

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

Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Daryl Janmaat (Watford).

Offside, Sheffield United. Dean Henderson tries a through ball, but Lys Mousset is caught offside.

Offside, Watford. Ismaila Sarr tries a through ball, but Gerard Deulofeu is caught offside.

Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Foul by John Egan (Sheffield United).

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

Attempt missed. John Lundstram (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a set piece situation.

Lys Mousset (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Craig Dawson (Watford).

Attempt blocked. John Fleck (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Oliver Norwood.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Ismaila Sarr replaces Danny Welbeck.

Attempt blocked. Lys Mousset (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by John Lundstram.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Substitution

Substitution, Sheffield United. Billy Sharp replaces Callum Robinson.

Attempt blocked. Roberto Pereyra (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daryl Janmaat.

Foul by John Lundstram (Sheffield United).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Sheffield United. Lys Mousset replaces Oliver McBurnie.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Gerard Deulofeu replaces Andre Gray.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Craig Dawson replaces Sebastian Prödl because of an injury.

Booking

Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United).

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

Attempt missed. Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Oliver Norwood.

Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).

Attempt saved. Callum Robinson (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Oliver McBurnie with a headed pass.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Chris Basham.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by John Egan.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool88002061424
2Man City75112772016
3Leicester8422147714
4Crystal Palace842288014
5Burnley8332119212
6Arsenal73311211112
7West Ham83321111012
8Tottenham83231412211
9Chelsea73221413111
10Bournemouth73221312111
11Man Utd72329729
12Sheff Utd82337709
13Brighton8233810-29
14Aston Villa8224131218
15Wolves7142911-27
16Southampton7214711-47
17Everton8215613-77
18Norwich82061021-116
19Newcastle7124413-95
20Watford8035420-163
View full Premier League table

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