Football Features

Watford take control of Europa League race: the 3pm action you might have missed in the Premier League

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:04, 20 April 2019

The end of this season’s Premier League has edged nearer after another four matches on Saturday afternoon.

Brighton & Hove Albion were looking to turn their slump around and move away from the relegation zone when they travelled to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

FA Cup finalists Watford hosted already-relegated Huddersfield Town in hopes of doubling up on their chances of a Europa League spot.

Leicester City travelled to West Ham United in the hopes of keeping seventh-placed dream alive, while Bournemouth were looking to end the season with a flourish, hosting Fulham.

But how did the games play out?

Bournemouth 0-1 Fulham

The match summed up in one stat… Aleksandar Mitrović scored his first Premier League goal since January 29, ending a nine-game drought.

What does this mean for the Premier League? Bournemouth remain 12th and Fulham say 19th after a game which had little impact on the table.

Man of the match? Sergio Rico who made four vital saves to ensure a first away league win for the Cottagers.

Spare a thought for… Junior Stanislas. The Englishman wasn’t in the starting XI when it was first announced but was a late addition when Adam Smith was injured in the warm up. It was Stanislas’ first start since February having only recently come back from his own injury problems. But it lasted just 23 minutes with Stanislas having to go out injured, capping off an unlucky end to the season.

In the managers’ words…

“It goes to show how difficult the league is.” – Eddie Howe, Bournemouth manager.

“I am loving every minute, enjoying every bit of it.” – Scott Parker, Fulham manager.

Huddersfield Town 1-2 Watford

The match summed up in one stat… Gerard Deulofeu has scored six goals in his last five away games in the Premier League for Watford.

What does this mean for the Premier League? Watford have taken control of the race for seventh, moving up from 10th. Huddersfield are now all-but certain to finish bottom of the league, nine points behind 19th-placed Fulham with three games to play.

Man of the match? Gerard Deulofeu, with the FA Cup semi-final hero scoring another brace to secure the win.

Spare a thought for… Fans at the John Smith’s Stadium. Supporting Huddersfield has been tough this season, and no team has been worse at home than the Terriers. Despite the consolation against West Ham, Huddersfield have managed just nine goals in their 18 games at the John Smith’s Stadium so far. The fewest in a season is 10, recorded by Manchester City in 2006/07 and Huddersfield will need to score in their penultimate match against top-four chasing Manchester United to not break the unwanted record.

In the managers’ words…

“I will stay positive because we have to learn from this season.” – Jan Siewert, Huddersfield manager.

“Credit to them, It is not easy to play in this situation after their relegation.” – Javi Gracia, Watford manager.

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West Ham United 2-2 Leicester City

The match summed up in one stat…

What does this mean for the Premier League? Leicester remain eighth, ahead of Wolves on goal difference, while West Ham stay 11th.

Man of the match? Jamie Vardy, who was integral to Leicester coming from behind twice to earn the late draw.

You might have missed… With the hopes of making the London Stadium more of a home, West Ham laid a new claret carpet around the pitch ahead of their game against Leicester on Saturday. And it appears Michail Antonio is a fan, rubbing the carpet in celebration of his opening goal.

In the managers’ words…

“Next season when we have VAR it can be more fair.” – Manuel Pellegrini, West Ham manager on a disallowed goal.

“It looks like we got away with one.” – Brendan Rodgers, Leicester manager.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

The match summed up in one stat… Brighton managed just five shots on goal compared to Wolves’ 22, failing to hit the target.

What does this mean for the Premier League? Wolves have dropped to ninth but remain one point behind seventh-placed Watford in the race for a potential Europa League place. Brighton stay 17th, three points clear of Cardiff.

Man of the match? Shane Duffy, who made 10 clearances to help keep a clean sheet and stop Brighton’s run of defeats.

Spare a thought for… Brighton fans. As the new year turned over, Brighton looked safe and sound from the relegation fight but have been dragged back in as a result of their own poor play. Those following Brighton up and down the country have been made to suffer of late, last seeing their side score in the FA Cup quarter-final penalty shootout win over Millwall in mid-March – a run of six games in all competitions.

In the managers’ words…

“Today was not possible [to win the game] but I’m proud of the performance.” – Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolves manager.

“We probably could have been better in our link play, but we knew if we could keep a clean sheet it would give us a chance.” – Chris Hughton, Brighton manager.