Gerard Deulofeu scored Watford’s first top-flight hat-trick since 1986 as they boosted their hopes of a Europa League set up by cruising to victory at Cardiff.
Deulofeu set the Hornets in front on 18 minutes before two targets in the station of as many second-half minutes ended any hope of a fightback from the hosts, who conducted a project in their comprise downfall with some woeful defending.
The Spaniard opened the scoring after Bruno Manga gave the ball away, and doubled the advantage after a mercurial counter-attack. He accomplished his hat-trick after Harry Arter surrendered the ball tamely.
Deulofeu then living up Troy Deeney for a tap-in as Watford took a 4-zero lead.
Cardiff arguably could even have confidence accomplished greater for the company’ opening three targets, even though they were aggrieved at 1-zero that they were now not awarded what looked a certain penalty when Daryl Janmaat brought down Josh Murphy.
They did prepare a consolation when Sol Bamba bundled home, but the four-aim margin changed into once restored when Deeney scored his second from Will Hughes’ sinful in smash time.
Victory sends Watford as a lot as seventh whereas Cardiff dwell Seventeenth, even though they’ll also return to the relegation zone over the weekend.
Watford aiming for Europe
Many felt Watford would be in the lower reaches of the table this season alongside with Cardiff, but as March approaches they are seventh and by to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
They qualified about shaded the early exchanges here, even though their opening aim changed into once a present from the hosts.
Cardiff did now not certain now not once but three events, with Manga surrendering possession and Sean Morrison and Joe Bennett failing to capture abet the ball in a scrappy passage of play that culminated with Deulofeu sweeping home a valid, controlled enact.
As with the first, Watford’s second changed into once as principal about Cardiff’s sad defending as anything, with the Hornets countering from a living-share and Deulofeu ending after outpacing Manga and rounding Neil Etheridge.
He repeated the trick at this time afterwards. This time Arter surrendered possession and Deulofeu all over again had time and station to enact and rating Watford’s first hat-trick in the quit division since Mark Falco.
The 24-year venerable Spaniard capped a sufficient indicate with an abet for Deeney, who also can now not miss after a ideal personnel pass as he ended a bustle of eight video games without a aim in opposition to the Bluebirds.
And Deeney changed into once now not accomplished there, sweeping home from Hughes’ sinful after Bamba had pulled a aim abet by firing home from a rebound after his header hit the post.
“I am delighted with the plan we are playing,” stated Hornets supervisor Javi Gracia. “We are competing in all of the video games and with this ambition, I am particular we can quit one thing completely different this season.
“We have confidence forty elements now which is exact, but we are desirous to encourage coming into the league and FA Cup.
“I am very happy with all my players, they are showing their tremendous and commitment, the personnel is bettering and better, but we must strive to give a enhance to.”
Cardiff clobbered after emotional week
Cardiff supervisor Neil Warnock spoke this week in regards to the want to make in “12 cup finals” but their preparation changed into once all over again overshadowed by the fallout over the switch of Emiliano Sala.
Sala changed into once Cardiff’s document signing but never conducted for the club – he died when a plane piloted by David Ibbotson, who remains missing, crashed.
Warnock stated the £15m switch also can had been greater conducted, but that chairman Mehmet Dalman “will like issues in the trusty manner”.
Cardiff now peer to Everton loanee Oumar Niasse as their foremost aim menace, but he changed into once chanced on wanting qualified before Watford’s opener as he poked the ball straight at Ben Foster after stealing in late the company’ defence.
Winger Murphy also looked nice looking – firing straight at Foster from a exact situation – and figuring out he’s going to must had been awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Bluebirds boss Warnock also can now not regain over “the injustice of it”.
He told BBC Match of the Day: “Troy Deeney and all their staff told us it changed into once a stonewall penalty. I had to take a peer at and regain it out of their minds at half-time.
“When everyone from the opponents repeat you and deep down I private all of the officers knew the truth is. I private the referees guess plenty of the time and that which it’s doubtless you’ll presumably now not like that at this level.”
The Bluebirds were attempting to capture three consecutive top-flight league video games for the first time since February 1961, but Watford’s opening aim perceived to dent their self assurance and in addition they never recovered.
Deulofeu joins the Windass and Henry club – stats
- Warnock has lost his previous four home league matches in opposition to Watford by an aggregate of sixteen-2, with this his sixteenth league defeat in opposition to the Hornets. Most efficient in opposition to Learning (sixteen) has he lost as many league matches as a supervisor.
- Watford scored five targets in a top-flight match for the first time since a hit 5-1 in opposition to Leicester in November 1986.
- Deulofeu has had a hand in seven targets in his previous three Premier League appearances in opposition to Cardiff (5 targets, 2 assists).
- Deulofeu grew to turn into most animated the 1/three participant to rating a Premier League hat-trick on a Friday, after Dean Windass (Bradford v Derby, April 2000) and Thierry Henry (Arsenal v Liverpool and Leeds in April 2004).
- Deeney’s first seven Premier League assists were inquisitive about Odion Ighalo – his 9 since had been for eight completely different players (Capoue twice, Kabasele, Niang, Richarlison, Doucoure, Gray, Sema and Deulofeu).
- Cardiff have confidence conceded 28 home Premier League targets this season – better than another side.
- All four Premier League hat-programs scored in Wales had been scored by the opposition – Luis Suarez v Cardiff (Liverpool, 2014), Riyad Mahrez v Swansea (Leicester, 2015), Jermain Defoe v Swansea (Sunderland, 2016) and Deulofeu.
Man of the match – Gerard Deulofeu (Watford)
Cardiff Metropolis host Everton in the Premier League on Tuesday, 26 February. Watford are at Liverpool the next night.