Written by Rodmorg
After the victory over Crystal Palace on Monday, Bournemouth travelled up North to face Watford, a team that had battled with us for the Championship title in the 2014/15 season. Previous meetings were rather difficult for us, with five of the six previous Premier League meetings consisting of draws, and the other being a 0-2 loss last season. Having not won since 1997 at Vicarage Road, the Cherries overturned this, and they did it in style.
Eddie decided to stick with the same team that grabbed a late victory over Palace on Monday, except for movement on the bench, with the youngster Mousset being replaced by Jordon Ibe, who hasn’t seen much action in the Premier League this season – with Brooks and Fraser both shining.
Bournemouth produced a valiant defensive performance to withstand pressure from Watford within the first fifteen minutes. After roughly ten minutes, free-kick was swung into the box and Watford defender, Christian Kabesele, waved an arm around and struck Begovic as he collected the ball – thus given a deserved yellow card. Shot after shot was blocked by Ake and Cook, and the intent of a counter-attack was in the mind of the players. This style eventually paid off; the ball travelled from our box to Watford’s within seconds. Fourteen minutes in, Ryan Fraser played a beautiful ball from the left to the sprinting Josh King, who whipped a ball across the face of the goal for Wilson to tap in, and unfortunately was saved by the Watford keeper, however, Brooks was there on the follow through to smash it in for the first goal, and his second in two games. “A breath-taking counter attack” the commentators mentioned – rightly so.
Expecting to win, Watford showed frustration as former Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart missed an open goal from a corner, roughly eight yards out. Although it was a great chance, it was poor defending by his marker, Callum Wilson.
Roughly half an hour in, another counter-attack on the right hand this side made frustrations boil over for Watford, and leading to a red card. A wonderful ball by captain Simon Francis broke King away along the touchline and used his blistering pace to move inside the box. Already booked Kabesele clipped the Norwegian and a penalty was given with no hesitation from the referee, and a red card was produced, much to the dismay of the Watford fans. Winning the penalty, King gracefully struck the ball to his right, and a 0-2 lead was established.
Bournemouth were cruising to halftime with the man advantage, and Watford could not cope. The youngster Brooks fed the ball to Wilson on the wing, who put in an exquisite, inch perfect, cross to King, who rose above Cathcart to peacefully plant the ball behind Foster, for his second and the Cherries’ third.
Half Time: Watford 0-3 Bournemouth
After arguably the best first half we’ve had all season, the momentum didn’t change at all. After only two minutes of being in the rain, Fraser floated in a great cross to the isolated Wilson, of whom cheekily flicked the ball over Foster for a fourth Bournemouth goal. The smile on his face showed that he desired more ever since his majestic solo strike at the London Stadium a few weeks back.
With the usual cheers of “Eddie Howe’s barmy army” and “We want Five” ringing the stadium, Stanislas and Gosling came on for wingers Brooks and Fraser past the hour mark, of what seemed to be a 4-5-1 change, with King now drifting wide. Seeing this against Palace, it was asserting the four-goal lead and keeping a clean sheet. Despite the opposition somewhat improving, an additional substitution was made for Lewis Cook coming off for Surman. After King had nearly grabbed a hat-trick, ironic cheers erupted when Surman was given a yellow card for a foul, whose team had fallen victim to many fouls by Watford. However, Bournemouth held on to achieve the biggest away win ever in the Premier League.
Full Time: Watford 0-4 Bournemouth
Asmir Begovic – 7: Was quiet due to the spirited defence in front of him but was focussed and made some good distributions. First clean sheet since January against Chelsea.
Simon Francis – 8: Has repeated his performance against Palace and made some great balls along his flank. Glad he played again, and deservedly so. Can’t wait to see what he is like against Southampton.
Steve Cook – 7: Bravery comes to mind when I think of Steve Cook. Made some excellent blocks and made no mistakes. Definitely a future captain.
Nathan Ake – 7: Same as Cook and made no errors too. Has formed a great partnership.
Adam Smith – 7: Out of position again and made some really good runs with Fraser. Reminds me of Daniels and Pugh back in the day.
Ryan Fraser – 8: Produced some excellent passes. Started the attack for the first goal and picked out Wilson for the fourth. Despite not scoring for a while he’s done well. (Stanislas (65) – 6: Quiet except for his cameo when he had a chance to score)
Lewis Cook – 6: Was quiet today unlike on Monday but was dwarfed mainly because of Lerma’s performance. Nothing exciting, but did his job. (Surman (80) – 6: Silly foul but saw out the match. Had 100% passing accuracy which is no surprise)
Jefferson Lerma – 8: Another great performance by Lerma. Seems to be doing well with Cook and won the ball high up the pitch and made a great individual display against two Watford player that could have led to King’s hat-trick.
David Brooks – 9: Another majestic performance by this young man. I am beginning to really like him. He is extremely energetic and consistent. A great talent overall. (Gosling (70) – 5: Lost possession a few times and made a few mistakes but did well other than that)
Callum Wilson – 9: Produced a great assist for King’s second and scored a very good goal with his flick over the goalkeeper.
Joshua King – 9: Scored a good penalty that sent Foster the wrong way and scored a good header. Extremely fast with the ball and was always a threat to the Watford defence.
Man of the Match: Tough between Brooks, Wilson and King. It’s got to be King for me, who in the long term hasn’t been as good as Wilson and Brooks, however, shined brightly throughout.
I wasn’t expecting a win today but to win by four goals against an (arguably) in form Watford was astonishing. That is probably one of the best away wins since Birmingham a few years back. The biggest win we have had since Chelsea in January last season and scored four away for the first time since that memorable game at Upton Park in 2015/16.
It could have easily been 5 or 6 that match if we had not sat back but then I would rather have a clean sheet than run the risk of conceding and not scoring another. Perhaps sitting back was a tad too early, however, given how scintillating we were before 60 minutes.
Skipper himself has justified his spot at Right Back for a few games now. I like Francis and always will. At 33 he is still chugging along and still needs to get a deserved Premier League goal. Lerma was immense today, and one of the best on Monday. He seems to be doing well with Cook but it’ll be interesting to see how well he does with Gosling and Surman (despite the loss at Burnley I think they both did quite well). It seems like it will be a great season for our front four, given that only Steve Cook, Nathan Ake, Adam Smith and Stanislas have all scored one and are the only others to score except for them.
And saving the best til’ last – as it stands, we can sit either 5th or 6th given Chelsea’s and Arsenal’s performances and will have at least double the points of both Southampton and Brighton. Let’s retain that title of Kings of the South Coast.
New Forest Cherry wrote…
I think the 4-0 flattered us – as Eddie eluded to, far from the perfect performance.
If Cathcart scores from the free header at 1-0 it’s a different game,
their brain-dead defender’s forearm into Begovic’s face followed by the stupid tackle on King was the game changer.
Ake and Lerma were standouts for me, followed by our front two who were the cliched “right handful”.
Just hope we can put Southampton to the sword in a fortnight and not bottle it as we did in April – Join the conversation, click here.