10-Man Hornets Preserve Unbeaten Record in Goalless Stalemate
A 10-man Watford side were able to maintain their unbeaten streak against Premier League newcomers Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, holding out for a 0-0 draw.
Marco Silva's men controlled the opening minutes of the match, and Nathaniel Chalobah came close to registering his first-ever PL goal by rising to meet Kiko Femenia's free kick from the right side of the box with a strong header in the eighth minute, but a Brighton man was there to boot it away.
Brighton grew into the game, though, and their fortunes brightened around the 24th minute when Miguel Britos saw a straight red after diving into a reckless challenge on Anthony Knockaert, who had come close to scoring but saw his shot hit the post on the quarter-of-an-hour mark.
Nordin Amrabat, Watford's brightest looking player up until then, was sacrificed for Craig Cathcart as Silva prepared for damage control.
Brighton seemed to be drawing nearer to their first top flight goal of the season, hitting the post again in the 36th minute through a Tomer Hemed shot. Yet the first half would leave fans from either side with nothing to celebrate, with the sides going into halftime 0-0.
Things went from bad to worse for the Hornets in the second half. Cathcart, who had come in for Amrabat in the first half, had to be taken off following an apparent injury and Andre Carillo - a new loan signing from Benfica - was sent on in his place to make his Premier League debut.
Brighton were awarded an indirect free kick inside the Watford box in the 58th minute, after Knockaert went down when Abdoulaye Doucoure's high boot was thought to connect with his head from an attempted clearance.
Lewis Dunk's resulting shot from inside of the box was blocked.
The official is reported to have opted against giving a penalty because he was unsure if contact was actually made. Replays showed that there wasn't any contact, but the boot was quite close and the action was deemed to be dangerous play.
The match continued on in with little entertainment and no goals, prompting the Seagulls to throw on their record signing Jose Izquierdo, with the Colombian coming on for Knockaert in the 81st minute with a view to provide a spark.
But in the end, there was nothing to be had. The Hornets are still unbeaten this season, while Brighton have yet to score a single league goal this season.
Chris Hughton will be happy to finally have a point on the board, though.