Match: Watford vs Aston Villa
Competition: Premier League
Date: Saturday 28th December 2019
Venue: Vicarage Road
Deeney 42, 67, Sarr 71
Heaton, Targett (Guilbert 66), Elmohamady, Hause, Konsa, Grealish, Hourihane, Lansbury (Kodija 72), Luiz, Jota (El Ghazi 45), Wesley. Unused subs: Nyland, Guilbert, Chester, Kodija, Nakamba, Trezeguet.
Story in brief
Aston Villa ended 2019 with a defeat at Vicarage Road in an incident-packed game against Watford.
Having been more than a match for the hosts in the first 40 minutes, which saw Ben Foster produce a great save from Wesley, Troy Deeney pounced on a rebound to send the visitors into half-time 1-0 down.
The home side were reduced to ten men shortly after the restart when Adrian Mariappa hauled down Henri Lansbury and picked up a second yellow card.
With the game finely poised heading into the final 25 minutes, Watford were awarded a controversial penalty after the hosts played on while Matt Target lay injured on the turf.
Deeney was fouled by Douglas Luiz, and the striker picked himself up to bury the spot kick and net his second of the game.
Villa poured forward in an attempt to get back into the match and they were caught cold as Ismaila Sarr finished off a swift counter attack.
Deeney haunts Villa
In his programme notes, Watford captain Troy Deeney professed his delight at playing against Aston Villa.
The Hornets talisman is a Birmingham City fan and knew he would be in for a rough ride from the away support.
And after he tucked home a rebound to put the home side ahead, he quickly turned and taunted the travelling supporters.
Paying the penalty
Villa players were furious with their opponents after the award of a penalty on 64 minutes.
With the game in the balance and just one goal in it, Watford played on as Matt Targett lay injured on the turf.
Sarr worked the ball in behind Villa's backline where Deeney was brought down by the covering Douglas Luiz.
After a VAR review, the penalty stood and Deeney made no mistake from the spot.
Golden chance goes begging
Ahead of the game, Villa knew they would have to be ruthless against a resurgent Watford.
And after weathering a storm at the beginning of the game, the visitors had a glorious chance to take the lead.
Conor Hourihane curled in a delightful ball to the back post where Wesley was waiting after losing his marker.
The striker headed the ball down and on target, but his effort was superbly saved by Ben Foster.
Aston Villa begin 2020 with a trip to Turf Moor to take on Burnley on New Year’s Day.
Dean Smith’s side begin their FA Cup campaign at Craven Cottage three days later (4th January) before returning home to take on Manchester City (12th January).