After tormenting Wolves in an FA Cup semi-final, Gerard Deulofeu did it again to inspire 10-man Watford to a victory that could prove even more important than that remarkable triumph at Wembley.
Deulofeu scored the first and created the second as the Hornets overcame a VAR-assisted red card for Christian Kabasele to hang on for the win and make it 10 points from four matches over Christmas under Nigel Pearson. Pedro Neto’s deflected strike could not save Wolves from successive losses following their 1-0 defeat at Liverpool on December 29.
Kabasele’s sending-off in the 69th minute – changed from yellow to red after VAR determined he had denied substitute Diogo Jota a clear goalscoring chance – will be the main talking point of a game that had looked as though it would belong to Deulofeu.
Gerard Deulofeu scored Watford's opener as they beat Wolves 2-1 at Vicarage Road
Abdoulaye Doucoure made it 2-0 to Watford with a well taken goal shortly after half-time
Pedro Neto pulled a goal back for Wolves on 60 minutes as visitors threatened a comeback
Christian Kabasele was sent off with 20 minutes remaining but Watford held on for victory
Watford: Foster, Dawson, Kabasele, Cathcart, Femenia, Capoue,
Doucoure, Sarr, Chalobah, Deulofeu, Deeney. Subs: Gomes, Masina,
Gray, Quina, Success, Holebas, Pereyra.
Wolverhampton: Rui Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Saiss, Doherty,
Dendoncker, Joao Moutinho, Jonny, Traore, Jimenez, Pedro Neto.
Subs: Neves, Cutrone, Jota, Ruddy, Ruben Vinagre, Kilman,
Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Back in April, the Spanish forward came on as a substitute to score twice and win a penalty as Watford fought back from 2-0 down to reach the FA Cup Final. For an hour, Wolves handled him no better here than they did then. Their own flying winger, Adama Traore, was effective only in patches.
With Watford playing their fourth game in 11 days, and Wolves their fourth in 12 – including meetings with Manchester City and Liverpool in fewer than 48 hours – the flat start was no surprise. Soon after the 10-minute mark, though, Wolves created two chances, and took neither.
First Conor Coady