Premier League
11 August 2018
Game week
1 - 0
2 - 0
Vicarage Road Stadium (Watford)


R. Pereyra (G) 35' (assist by: J. Holebas)
1 - 0
R. Pereyra (G) 54' (assist by: J. Holebas)
2 - 0


Minute   Description
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A remarkable Roberto Pereyra double sees Watford open their Premier League campaign with a convincing three points, capping off a dominant display for the Hornets. Brighton were sluggish from the off, and it never did improve as they can only have themselves to blame.
90'+2 Stoppage-time is proving little more than a formality, with neither side looking particularly interested in doing much over these last few minutes. Possession remains with Watford, as Brighton remain very flat. There's been no spark, no creativity and no real passion from them today.
90' There will be a minimum of four minutes added on at the end of this match.
89' Another corner for Watford, who have spent the bulk of the last 10 minutes in attack. It's been a rough afternoon for Brighton, who can do nothing else but put this behind them and shift their focus to Manchester United next weekend.
87' Pereyra comes off to what might be the loudest applause of the afternoon. His double has him on pace for 72 goals this season, but more important, has Watford on course for victory. Kiko Femenia takes his place.
86' Into the final five minutes now and Brighton are showing no signs of being able to break this clean sheet. They just seem short on ideas, and they're getting completely outplayed in midfield. Watford, meanwhile, have their final change ready...
84' BLOCKED! Sema and Success link up wonderfully on the right flank, with the latter eventually playing through Janmaat, but the full-back just can't get his shot through! Pressure stays on and Capoue tries his luck from just over 20 yards, flashing an effort over the bar.
83' Watford are looking very assured here as they aim to see this out without any late drama. They've set up camp in the Brighton end right now, winning free-kicks and corners which they are in absolutely no rush to take.
81' Bernardo marks his Premier League debut with a yellow card - the second Brighton player to be booked this afternoon.
Another summer signing is handed a Premier League debut here, as Sema enters the fray. The winger arrived from Ostersunds as a potentially cheap replacement for Richarlison, and he gets his first taste here, replacing Hughes.
78' Watford back on the front foot again, winning a free-kick on the left which Holebas is poised to take. The full-back has terrorised Brighton with his deliveries this afternoon, but this time around the Seagulls are up to the task.
74' Watford make their first change of the afternoon as Success replaces Gray.
73' Jahanbakhsh has helped the Brighton fans find their voice already, making plenty of noise down the right flank. A foul from Holebas sees him into the book, and awards the visitors a free-kick in a threatening position.
71' Here is Jahanbakhsh! A Premier League debut for the winger, who arrived from AZ Alkmaar. He replaces March, and his first touch is a lovely cross that calls Foster into action.
70' A chance there for Bissouma, who has certainly been lively since coming on! He weaves his way from the left flank into the penalty area, but sees a shot deflect behind for a corner. Some encouragement, or belief, perhaps?
68' With just over 20 minutes remaining, and Brighton staring a two-goal deficit in the face, you would think Hughton would roll the dice here and bring on Jahanbakhsh while there's still enough time remaining for him to make an impact. Brighton have to throw caution to the wind and start asking questions of this Watford defence.
66' Bissouma is eager to mark his debut with a goal, and perhaps a bit too eager, as he ambitiously lashes the resulting free-kick miles high and wide of the target from 35 yards. But hey, at least it's an attempt at goal?
64' Brighton seeing much more of the ball here, but there's nothing encouraging to take from it. The bulk of their possession is coming near the halfway line as they struggle to break into the final third. Finally some direct play comes, and it's Bissouma who surges forward, forcing Capoue into a foul and winning a free-kick. The Watford midfielder sees yellow as well.
60' A Premier League debut for Bissouma, who arrived for 17-million-pounds from Lille in the summer. Perhaps he can ruffle a few feathers in attack? Gross gives way, perhas a bit surprisingly.
58' Brighton need to dig deep here. Rescuing a point may not be in the question still, but they will need to put in a more encouraging performance over the final 30 minutes to gather a bit of momentum and confidence to take with them to next weekend's showdown with Manchester United at the Amex.
56' You can see the contrast on the faces of the two managers. Hughton is understandably frustrated and disappointed with not just the scoreline, but the manner in which his team have failed to show up here on opening day. Perhaps it's time to unleash Jahanbakhsh and Bissouma? Locadia is an option, as well.
54' Another assist for Holebas, whose ball in broke rather fortuitously for Pereyra.
TOO EASY FOR WATFORD! They have doubled their lead now, 2-0, as Pereyra runs all the way through a passive Brighton defence and bends a delightful finish in at the far post from a tight angle! The Hornets on course for three points to open their campaign!
51' Watford have quite clearly been the brighter side at the start of this second half, dictating the tempo and enjoying the bulk of possession. They're looking keen to add to their lead, but they have to start taking their chances because all it takes is one moment at the other end and this match is level.
49' HE HAS TO BE SCORING! Pereyra floats in the absolutely perfect delivery from close to 40 yards, placing a cross onto the head of Kabasele at the far post, but the defender heads over the bar from six yards!
48' Stephens has already been booked in this match, and has now committed two fouls since that both could have seen him sent off. The referee has a stern word with him, and surely the midfielder is on his final warning now.
46' No changes at the break as the second half gets underway!
A stunning Roberto Pereyra volley has Watford ahead through 45 minutes at Vicarage Road, and it's a lead they fully deserve. They have looked by far the more threatening side, with Brighton struggling to negotiate a threat in attack - perhaps we will see the likes of Jahanbakhsh or Bissouma after the break.
45' There will be two minutes added on at the end of this first half.
43' Brighton are trying to generate some momentum to take with them into the break, enjoying a lot of possession here, but still struggling to break through this organised Watford defence. The Seagulls have had just one attempt at goal in this first half - none on target.
39' The tempo has definitely slowed a bit, with Watford adopting a more patient approach in possession, and quick to close Brighton down when the visitors look to get forward. There's a lovely energy inside the ground, with these Hornets supporters enjoying what they've seen in this first half.
37' It's gut check time for Brighton, who failed to win a single match last season when conceding the first goal, rescuing just three points. It's a deserved leave for Watford, who can now slow things down and enjoy themselves, with the responsibility placed solely on the shoulders of Brighton.
35' Holebas provides the assist, but Brighton's defence certainly aided in the process there by leaving Pereyra completely alone in the penalty area.
WATFORD's OFF AND RUNNING AT VICARAGE ROAD! 1-0! It's a terrific volley from Pereyra, who was inexplicably left unmarked just inside the penalty area, allowed to get on the end of Holebas' cross and unleash a stunning volley that Ryan can only flap at as it cannons into the top corner!
34' Foster is able to smartly collect a deflected cross from Knockaert, and he quickly starts Watford forward again, and it results in a corner. The hosts have shown a nice urgency in this first half, always looking to push the tempo and get forward. They want to make another fast start to the season as they did in 2017.
30' Another concern for Brighton as a clash of heads sees Dunk come out worse for wear, prompting the training staff to come out and attend to him. The last thing Hughton will want is to be forced into yet another defensive change in the first half of the first match of the season. It looks like he's avoided it for now, though.
28' Full credit to Brighton for weathering the storm and coming out of Watford's period of heavy pressure unscathed. The visitors have levelled the playing field yet again, and are making it tough on the hosts to get back into a rhythm.
26' Bong is on now to replace the injured Bruno, which means one less substitution available for Hughton to bring on one of his new boys.
25' Bruno is really struggling here with a knock, and has been for a few minutes now. He tried to give it an honest go, but it doesn't look good for him here. Bong has been warming up and appears set to come on here to take the skipper's place.
23' A heavy first touch from Knockaert takes all the threat away from a dangerous looking attack for Watford. The winger had to be either hitting that first time, or squaring it across the face of goal, but manages neither as he eventually succumbs to a fair challenge and sees the ball go behind for a goal kick.
21' LOVELY EFFORT! A first real threat from Brighton, as Bruno's ball in from the right picks out Stephens, who lashes a well-struck volley towards the far post, but it drifts just wide of the mark!
18' The referee goes back to book Stephens for a foul in the build-up to that counter.
17' RYAN TO THE RESCUE! Watford hit Brighton again on another fast break, with Gray finding Pereyra, who plays in Deeney in all sorts of space from in close, played onside by Dunk. Deeney really has to be finding the back of the net there, but his effort from point-blank range is punched aside by Ryan!
15' Propper does well to win a free-kick deep in his own half, to finally relieve the pressure on his side. Watford have really developed a head of steam here to keep Brighton on their heels in defence.
13' VITAL CLEARANCE! Brave header from Dunk to knock the ball safely behind, preventing Hughes from getting his head to Janmaat's enticing cross in from the right! Watford building plenty of momentum right now...
12' DEFLECTED WIDE! The wall does its job there as Holebas' free-kick can't find a way through as it deflects behind for a corner. The ensuing set-piece causes a bit of panic at the back, but Brighton are just able to clear their lines.
11' It's just starting to come to life now, as Watford start to ask some questions, with the likes of Gray and Deeney linking up nicely. Brighton showing signs of wavering in defence, struggling to get their shape, and now a Bernardo foul on Hughes sees them concede a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area...
9' Brighton enjoy a lovely spell in possession, which culminates in a deliciously inviting delivery from Propper, but Murray is just a mere inches away from getting his head to it. Back the other way come Watford in a flash, via a goal-kick over the top for Gray, and he forces a smart save from Ryan. A warning there, surely.
5' March wins the first corner of the afternoon, for Brighton, allowing the towering figures of Duffy and Dunk to get forward. Watford win the header, however, and break in numbers, but Doucoure makes a mess of his burst forward and the chance comes to nothing. Missing the pre-season with appendicitis, the effects showed there for the midfielder.
3' Not the liveliest opening at Vicarage Road, with possession split by both sides without much of an attacking threat. The hosts are looking to inject a bit more tempo, but neither has managed much resembling an attack.
1' AND THEY'RE OFF! Watford kick-off, in their yellow and black home strip, with Brighton in white!
New Brighton recruit Florin Andone misses out with a groin injury, while Jose Izquierdo isn’t quite ready having travelled with Colombia to the World Cup. There is no start for summer signings Jahanbakhsh, Bissouma or Balogun, all who hope to feature off the bench. Bernardo does make his Premier League debut, however, at left-back, while Murray leads the line for the Seagulls, supported by last summer's high-profile signings Gross and Propper.
Ben Foster starts in goal, making his second Watford debut, but he is the lone summer recruit in the XI today. Masina and Sema are on the bench, however, and could feature in the second half. Doucoure has overcome appendicitis to start in midfield, alongside Capoue, Hughes and Pereyra, while Chalobah, Okaka, Cleverley and Deulofeu are lacking match fitness and miss out as a result.
SUBS: Leon Balogun, Yves Bissouma, Gaetan Bong, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, David Button, Beram Kayal, Jurgen Locadia.
BRIGHTON (4-4-1-1): Mat Ryan; Bruno, Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk, Bernardo; Anthony Knockaert, Dale Stephens, Davy Propper, Solly March; Pascal Gross; Glenn Murray.
SUBS: Ken Sema, Isaac Success, Sebastian Prodl, Heurelho Gomes, Kiko Femenia, Adam Masina, Adrian Mariappa.
WATFORD (4-4-2): Ben Foster; Daryl Janmaat, Christian Kabasele, Craig Cathcart, Jose Holebas; Will Hughes, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Etienne Capoue, Roberto Pereyra; Troy Deeney, Andre Gray.
Brighton were anything but quiet, splashing the cash as they brought in a wealth of new faces, breaking their transfer record to bring in the Eredivisie’s top scorer and Iran international Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who will be the face of a revamped Seagulls side in 2018/19 that will aim to build on last season's survival, and start their climb in year two.
A remarkably strong start to the season a year ago saved Watford from possible relegation, and now they will be aiming to find some more consistency under Javi Gracia, who took over in January. He has largely the same squad to work with, too, as they were quiet in the transfer window, relatively speaking.
Just one point separated these two sides last season, finish on identical goal difference as well, with Watford finishing the campaign in 14th place and Brighton 15th.
There’s nothing like the start of a new season! It’s a fresh start. A blank slate. A renewed sense of hope for all clubs. Anything and everything is possible – start hot and finish strong. The world is your oyster.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of this Premier League match as Watford welcome Brighton to Vicarage Road!


M. Ryan
Bruno Saltor
D. Janmaat
S. Duffy
L. Dunk
D. Stephens
T. Deeney
A. Knockaert
P. Groß
C. Cathcart
A. Doucouré
G. Murray
A. Gray
W. Hughes
S. March
D. Pröpper
J. Holebas
B. Foster
C. Kabasele
E. Capoue
R. Pereyra

Additional info

J. Moss
E. Smart
Fourth official
D. Coote


Match Stats

Watford Brighton & Hove Albion
39 Attacks (Dangerous) 26
8 Corners 2
10 Fouls 14
19 Free Kicks 10
8 Goal Kicks 10
0 Offsides 4
4 Shots (blocked) 0
6 Shots (off target) 5
3 Shots (on target) 1
0 Shots (woodwork) 0
16 Throw Ins 19

Regular Season

Vicarage Road Stadium

Vicarage Road Stadium