Sport Soccer

Thursday 12 December 2019

Eddie Howe's fears realised as Heurelho Gomes earns Watford point

Heurelho Gomes starred for Watford against Bournemouth
Heurelho Gomes starred for Watford against Bournemouth

Eddie Howe admits Bournemouth's fears about Heurelho Gomes were realised after the Watford goalkeeper made a string of saves to earn a goalless draw at Vicarage Road.

Both sides had their chances in this battle of the promoted clubs but it was the defences who came out on top, with Gomes particularly impressive.

The Brazilian stopper's best moment came in the second half when he palmed away Harry Arter's long-range drive and he also denied Bournemouth's Max Gradel from close range.

"I thought their goalkeeper had another great game against us," Howe said.

"He has been excellent in the two games this season and last season as well. We did fear that we would struggle to beat him, especially when he made those saves second half.

"The one with Harry Arter looked in from my angle but he got a hand on it and the save from Max was an important save as well.

"The pleasing thing was we created those chances in the second half. In the first half we played some nice football but didn't really threaten their goal."

Gradel's performance was a major positive for the visitors as the forward replaced the injured Junior Stanislas after 23 minutes to make his first appearance since August.

The Ivorian forward joined Bournemouth in the summer but has been out with a serious knee injury and Howe was delighted with the 28-year-old's impact.

"I thought he did very well," Howe said.

"He was a key part in our performance really. He's that kind of player, things happen around him.

"He got in some good positions. It would have been a magnificent comeback if he had got a goal but him just being around our squad has given everyone a lift."

On Stanislas, Howe added: "It's a real blow for us because Junior has been outstanding this season, a real creative force.

"It's just one of those things, we'll get it scanned and see how long he's going to be out."

While Bournemouth remain 15th, five points above the relegation zone, Watford are more comfortable, with 13 now between them and the bottom three ahead of their trip to Manchester United on Wednesday.

"At the moment we are not safe but the feeling of the club and the players in training is we are in a good way," Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores said.

"We are sure we have the capacity to think it is coming soon."

Odion Ighalo missed a handful of chances, including one free header from six yards out, meaning the Nigerian has now scored only once in eight league matches.

Flores, however, believed a draw was a fair result and was pleased with his players' grit and resilience.

"The match was even, both sides created chances. It was difficult to play. I think the result was fair," Flores said.

"If there are any doubts about the character of our team look at today.

"We were not comfortable, it was very clear. So in this case when we are not comfortable but we fight and try to give all the best, it is impossible to complain."

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