Guidolin sees Swansea take sting out of Hornets through Williams
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 18, 2016
Swansea City 1-0 Watford
- Early chances for hosts thwarted by offside flags
- Incoming head coach Guiodlin has watching brief from Liberty stands
- Swans skipper Williams scores winning header midway through first-half
- Hornets now without league win since December 20th
Guidolin watches new side Swansea win
New Swansea City head coach Francesco Guidolin watched from the stands as Watford – one of the sides for which he previously acted as technical supervisor on behalf of owners the Pozzo family – lost to his latest charges at the Liberty Stadium.
Victory for Swansea, courtesy of skipper Ashley Williams, lifted them out of the Premier League relegation zone with Newcastle United dropping in, despite their win over West Ham United.
Interim Swans boss Alan Curtis is due to meet incoming Italian gaffer Guidolin following his appointment on Tuesday, where details about how the new coaching structure of the south Wales outfit will be ironed out.
Swansea’s backroom constant and managerial future both witnessed a narrow win in which they built upon early openings and being caught offside on a couple of occasions, before club captain Williams headed them in front with just his third Premier League goal.
More news made off the pitch
This was a game overshadowed somewhat by announcements, as the Hornets confirmed the capture of Dutch-born Morocco winger Nordim Amrabat from Malaga an hour before kick-off, accompanying Guidolin being given charge of the Swans for what remains of this season.
— Watford FC (@WatfordFC) January 18, 2016
Wayne Routledge and Ki Sung-Yueng both failed to time their runs right, as an unorthodox midfield diamond system shorn of proper strikers up top was once again put to good effect by cunning caretaker Curtis.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s clever flick teed up usual winger Routledge early on and he stung the palms of Heurelho Gomes in the visiting goal, only for a raised flag to render that irrelevant.
Swans go close early on
Neil Taylor then seized upon a sloppy clearance from the returning Craig Cathcart to find Jack Cork, who lashed wildly over with another sight of the Watford net.
Ki needed Sigurdsson to return the ball to him more swiftly, seeking a one-two instead of the Iceland international taking an extra touch, as Swansea continue to cut open Quique Sanchez Flores’ side.
Odion Ighalo, the Premier League player of the month for December, saw a close-range header well-defended as he scrapped to get on the end of Watford strike partner Troy Deeney’s right-wing centre in a rare Hornets chance.
Winning goal from surprise source Williams
Swans skipper Williams found himself given the freedom of the visiting penalty area when Ki seized upon Ben Watson’s poor attempt to clear danger, and headed home when found by the South Korea captain after the 25-minute mark had passed.
Watford retained a sporadic threat with summer signings Jose Manuel Jurado and Miguel Britos both going close either side of half-time.
Cork cracked another effort wide for hosts Swansea, while Hornets livewire Jurado steered just off target as this match remained in the melting pot.
Home defence holds firm
A third Jurado attempt ended up like his first shot – straight into the grateful gloves of Lukasz Fabianski in the home goal – and a fourth attempt late on was volleyed just the wrong side of the post.
Man of the match Williams dealt with a predictable away team aerial bombardment in the closing stages, having shackled Deeney and Ighalo with subtlety as well as strength, leading the Swans to a fourth clean sheet in eight games under Curtis.
Getting Guidolin and a win that takes them out of the bottom three makes things look much more rosy for Swansea, who are still 7/4 to be relegated and hit the post through Bafetimbi Gomis in stoppage time; while Watford’s winless Premier League run now stretches to five matches.