By 90Min
September 22, 2018

A frenetic encounter second half saw Fulham peg back Watford for a share of the spoils, securing a 1-1 draw at a rain-drenched Craven Cottage. 

The clash was tipped to be an open one and it took only 90 seconds for it to lift-off. Watford's Andre Gray was the beneficiary after manoeuvring himself away from the crowd of players to latch onto a Will Hughes delivery to hand his side the early advantage. 

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A free flowing first period followed, in which the Hornets should have gone into the break with a more comfortable lead having created a plethora of clear cut goal scoring opportunities. 

On the other side of half time, Fulham returned with renewed vigour having made a double change and altered their formation, an alternation which proved vital in creating the chance for Aleksandar Mitrović to level the scores 12 minutes from full time. 

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


FULHAM

Key Talking Point

Promotion to the top flight comes with a multitude of challenges, but the quest for survival so often relies on defensive stability and the ability to pick up clean sheets. And so far Fulham have yet to prove convincing in this facet of the game. 

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The Cottagers had been breached 12 times prior to kick off on Saturday, the most of any league side - and it took all of 90 seconds before it was made 13 - the second game in succession whereby Marcus Bettinelli was picking the ball out of the back of his net within the first two minutes. 


Fulham's approach makes it so they'll either inflict damage on another team or find themselves on the wrong end of a hiding. However, more stability and concentration across the back-line is needed to ensure they're not starting on the back foot more often than not this season. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Bettinelli (6); Fosu-Mensah (6), Mawson (5), Chambers (6), R Sessegnon (6); Seri (7), McDonald (6), Johansen (6); Vietto (7), Mitrovic (8), Schurrle (6).  

Substitutes: Odio (6), Ayite (6), Anguissa (6). 


STAR MAN - Mitrovic was the man to secure Fulham's equaliser and was the clear avenue to goal for the home side for much of the clash. He proved to be a threat when in and around the box and could have even handed his side the victory after finding the crossbar with a header with only minutes left on the clock. 

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WORST PLAYER - Alfie Mawson struggled to handle the physicality of the Hornets' leading men and looked uncomfortable throughout in his unnatural position of Fulham's right sided centre back.   

A shocking mistake early in the first term also saw him gift Gray the opportunity to score his second of the afternoon, but thankfully for him his blushes were spared on that occasion. The 24-year-old was off the pace from the start and was duly pulled from contest at half time. 


WATFORD 

Key Talking Point


The Hornets continued to show the power of consistency after starting the game with an unchanged XI for the sixth consecutive time this season - only the fifth club in league history to do so. 

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From the first whistle the Hornets' intensity was a level above their opponents in the opening 45 as they quickly showcased their chemistry against a side who is still noticeably finding their feet as a unit following a summer of change. 

Watford's early season form has undoubtedly surprised many and their ability to maintain the same formation with the same personnel has been key to their early success.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Foster (6); Janmaat (6), Cathcart (6), Kabasele (6), Holebas (6); Hughes (7), Doucoure (8), Capoue (7), Pereyra (6); Deeney (8), Gray (7). 

Substitutes: Femenia (6), Success (6). 


STAR MAN - Addoulaye Doucoure continues to impress in Watford's midfield alongside Etienne Capoue, and while the Hornets' leading men were both impressive, the Frenchman contributed with great effect across the pitch. 

He failed to lose a duel or aerial battle, made an interception, provided a key pass and failed to be dispossessed. 


WORST PLAYER -  Daryl Janmaat had been solid at full-back for much of the game, but his indecision to make an impact on the ball led to Fulham's equaliser as the home side found themselves with two men free in the penalty area after he took himself out of play. 


Looking Ahead

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Fulham will now turn their attention to their League Cup clash against Millwall on Tuesday before making the trip to Merseyside to face Everton in the Premier League next weekend. 

Watford, meanwhile, will face Premier League opposition in their respective League Cup fixture against Tottenham prior to returning to north London for a regular fixture against Arsenal. 

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