Six things we learned from Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford

Florin Andone is denied by Watford keeper Ben Foster. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Florin Andone is denied by Watford keeper Ben Foster. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton were held to a 0-0 draw by Watford at the Amex yesterday. Here's six things we learned from the game.

An opportunity missed?

Shane Duffy sends an overhead kick towards goal. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Shane Duffy sends an overhead kick towards goal. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton will be reflecting this morning on an opportunity missed to claim all three points.

The first half was a lacklustre affair but Albion still had the better openings, with Jurgen Locadia forcing a superb save from Ben Foster and Davy Propper volleying over.

The Seagulls were more lively after the break and had enough chances to win. Locadia had another header saved by Foster, who also kept out efforts from Shane Duffy and Florin Andone.

Watford, missing key duo Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra, did not get going and failed to have an attempt on target.

Cardiff's win at home to Bournemouth leaves Albion just five points above the relegation zone after collecting only six points from their last ten league games.

There may be a few nervy looks down the table from Albion fans but it's home form and the next six games at the Amex which will determine the season.

Burnley are the visitors on Saturday, before home games with Huddersfield, Cardiff, Southampton, Bournemouth and Newcastle.

Judging by their performances so far this season, Brighton have enough to make sure they don't get dragged into a relegation fight.

Body on the line to keep a clean sheet

Lewis Dunk literally put his body on the line to ensure Albion kept a clean sheet.

With time running out, Brighton's captain spread himself on the pitch and prevented Andre Gray from getting a shot away as he had his head in the way of the ball on the floor.

It helped the Seagulls keep a welcome clean sheet, after they conceded four in the second half of Tuesday's 4-2 defeat at Fulham.

Watford did not manage a shot on target throughout the 90 minutes and the defensive performance was much more like how Albion have defended since promotion to the Premier League in May, 2017.

Foster on form

Watford keeper Ben Foster kept out everything Brighton threw at him.

The 35-year-old rejoined the Hornets from West Brom last summer and kept his sixth clean sheet of the season.

Foster pushed away a header by Jurgen Locadia in the first half and tipped over another header from Albion's forward in the second period.

He also scrambled across his line to keep out Shane Duffy's overhead kick in the second half, before he stood tall to deny Florin Andone when Brighton's striker got through one-on-one late on.

Foster last played for England in 2014 and he's unlikely to get back into the squad now, with the likes of Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Alex McCarthy and Nick Pope ahead of him. However, more performances like this and he may give Gareth Southgate a decision to make.

Dutch Master

Davy Propper was on the front cover of the matchday programme with the headline 'Dutch master' and the midfielder lived up to the billing.

After Dale Stephens was a late withdrawal from the starting line-up owing to a hip injury, Propper played the holding midfield role.

The 27-year-old has been one of Albion's star performers in recent weeks and again pulled the strings in the middle of the park as he was named man of the match.

He controlled the pace of the game and dictated play, although should have done better when he volleyed over a Pascal Gross free kick in the first half.

A lack of goals is the only criticism of the Dutch midfielder as he is still yet to score for the Seagulls since joining in the summer of 2017.

Hornets repel Albion's set-piece threat

Heading into the match, Brighton had scored the joint-most amount of goals from set-pieces in the Premier League and Watford had conceded the second most from set-pieces.

Albion had plenty of opportunities to get the ball into the box from free kicks and corners but Watford defended well to ensure they returned home with a 0-0 draw.

There was frantic defending at times, especially when Hornets keeper Ben Foster scrambled across his goal-line to keep out Shane Duffy's overhead kick.

The best of Albion's other chances came from open play as Jurgen Locadia twice had headers pushed away by Ben Foster and substitute Florin Andone was also denied by Foster when he broke through one-on-one.

Flying down the wing

Solly March caused Watford all kinds of problems in the second half with his skill and trickery down the right wing.

He gave Watford left-back Jose Holebas a tough afternoon, although the duo had an even battle in the first half.

March became more prominent in the second period and on another day would have claimed an assist or two.

One low cross, after a jinking run, was cleared by Daryl Janmaat with Glenn Murray waiting to tap home and he also sent Florin Andone through on goal when the Romanian was thwarted by Ben Foster.

March was a strong candidate for the man of the match award which Davy Propper got and the winger will be keen to take this form into the remainder of the season.


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Match report: Brighton 0, Watford 0