Watford 0-0 Bournemouth: Goalless at Vicarage Road
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 27/02/16 6:17pm
Watford and Bournemouth collected a point each as they drew 0-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Both sides struggled to create any real clear-cut chances for most of the game, although Heurelho Gomes was the busier of the two 'keepers in goal for the home side.
The result sees Bournemouth move five points clear of the relegation zone in 15th, while Watford drop to 10th.
A highlight for the Cherries, though, was the return of Max Gradel after six months out injured.
The game started brightly and Odion Ighalo could have put Watford in front inside two minutes. The striker has just one goal in the Premier League in 2016 so far, but looked lively early on as he picked up the ball on the halfway line and charged towards goal, out-muscling two Bournemouth defenders before forcing a good save out of Artur Boruc.
It was the closest we'd get to a goal in the opening 45 minutes - soon afterwards Ighalo skewed one just wide when he should have done better from Juan Carlos Paredes' cross, but that was about it as the game descended into a scrappy affair.
There was disappointment for Bournemouth as Junior Stanislas was forced off after 23 minutes with a hamstring injury, but the return of Gradel was a real bonus - the summer signing making his first appearance since August.
Gradel's return couldn't inspire Bournemouth to create any clear-cut chances in the first half, but he did force Gomes into action twice in the last 10 minutes with a header from close range then a deflected effort that the Watford goalkeeper managed to tip over.
Gomes had also tipped wide a great 25-yard effort from Harry Arter on the hour mark, and also denied substitute Dan Gosling in the closing stages after the Bournemouth midfielder failed to control the ball when it had dropped to him in the area.
Undoubtedly the biggest chance of the afternoon for Watford fell to Ighalo after 67 minutes. January signing Nordin Amrabat got down the right and put one on a plate for the striker, but he could only send his header over when completely unmarked in the middle of the box.
Next up for Watford is a trip to Manchester United on Wednesday night, while Bournemouth host Southampton on Tuesday.
Soccer Saturday verdict - Alan McInally
After three defeats on the spin for Bournemouth, I think Eddie Howe privately might have taken the point before the game but it's certainly one they could have nicked.
Gradel on his return was very good. I think there's plenty of time for him to play a part before the season's end. It's like signing a new player, and he was involved in everything in the final third, although he missed a good chance.
I was a little disappointed in Watford, but it was a good game in general. Both goalkeepers had important saves to make but Gomes was the busier of the two. He was unbelievable and one save from Arter - you can see by Howe's reaction he thinks Harry has scored."
Watford: Gomes (6), Paredes (5), Britos (5), Cathcart (5), Ake (5), Capoue (5), Watson (5), Behrami (5), Amrabat (5), Deeney (5), Ighalo (4)
Subs: Suarez (5), Abdi (n/a)
Bournemouth: Boruc (5), Smith (5), Francis (5), Cook (5), Daniels (5), Surman (5), Arter (5), Ritchie (5), Stanislas (5), King (5), Afobe (5)
Subs: Gosling (5), Gradel (6), Murray (n/a)
Man of the match: Heurelho Gomes