Bournemouth tear Watford apart in landmark victory
What a time to be a Bournemouth supporter. The Cherries are not quite on the top of the cake, but only by three points.
The club’s record Premier League away win brought them to 16 points after eight games. It took them twice that number to reach the same tally last season. “A great result for us,” said manager Eddie Howe. “We’re absolutely delighted with that. We have played better than that, but we’re certainly very pleased with the result and our league position on the back of it.”
This game was effectively finished after 33 minutes, when Josh King slotted home a penalty to put his team two up and Watford’s Christian Kabasele had been sent off.
After their own impressive start to the campaign, the Watford have not won for four league games and were dreadful amid the autumn gloom at Vicarage Road.
“A bad day today,” said manager Javi Gracia. “It has been the first game where we haven’t competed at the same level as other games. It was very strange. We made more mistakes than in all the other games put together.”
Kabasele’s red card is the 13th for a Watford player since their return to the top flight in 2015 – more than any other Premier League side.
After a bright opening, Gracia’s men fell behind to a clinical Bournemouth counter-attack.
Bournemouth broke from their own penalty area and Ryan Fraser and King combined down the left.
King crossed for Callum Wilson, whose shot was brilliantly saved by Ben Foster, before David Brooks swept in the rebound for his second goal since joining the club in the summer.
Kabasele had been booked when jumping into Asmir Begovic in the 11th minute. He received his second after being outmuscled and outpaced by King before eventually bringing him down for the penalty.
With the Hornets still dazed and confused, King struck again. This time Wilson provided the cross for the Norway international to nod in at the far post on the stroke of half time.
Two minutes after the restart, the fourth, and surprisingly last goal came as Wilson exploited more calamitous defending. Ben Foster and Etienne Capoue, who was deputising as a makeshift centre back, failed to clear Ryan Fraser’s cross and Wilson strolled around them to tuck into an empty net. That was the cue for many of the Watford supporters to exit into the relentless October rain.
The attendance read 20,139 but there was barely quarter of that number left inside Vicarage Road at full-time. Unsurprisingly, the away support were keen to stay until the end to serenade their team and their heralded manager.
Howe, at 40 both the youngest manager in the Premier League and the longest serving, seems to have the Midas touch and his remarkable journey shows no sign of ending.
Sure, key signings like Jefferson Lerma, Brooks and in particular Nathan Ake were impressive but Howe is undoubtedly Bournemouth’s most prized asset.
“We just try and win every game and see where that takes us at the end of the season,” said the Bournemouth manager, playing down talk of Europe. “I thought it was an incisive performance, an efficient performance without necessarily being a totally dominant one.”
Silent assassin: Josh King hushes Vicarage Road after his penalty delivered a 2-0 lead