There were encouraging signs for Bob Bradley in his first home Premier League fixture as Swansea City manager, but he was ultimately made to settle for a goalless draw against Watford.
The American, who replaced Francesco Guidolin at the Liberty Stadium at the beginning of this month, saw his side make Arsenal work hard for a 3-2 victory in his first game in charge last weekend.
A more disciplined defensive display restricted Watford during the first half, yet Swansea’s more attacking outlook after the interval reaped no reward.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – who hit the post late on – and Mike van der Hoorn came closest to breaking the deadlock as Modou Barrow once again proved a menace down the wing, but Watford held out for a share of the spoils.
The result leaves Swansea, who kept their first home clean sheet of the season, languishing in the relegation zone without a win since the opening weekend of the season, while Watford are now unbeaten in three.
Bradley made five changes to the side that started at Arsenal, bringing Van der Hoorn, Stephen Kingsley and debutant Alfie Mawson into a new-look back four.
Barrow was one of Swansea’s biggest attacking threats at Emirates Stadium and the Gambia international was first to get a shot at goal on Saturday, sending a low effort from outside the box skidding just wide of the right-hand upright.
Although Watford, who were missing forward Isaac Success due to a foot injury, regularly probed the home defence, they struggled to cause Lukasz Fabianski any real problems
Sigurdsson drew a diving save from Heurelho Gomes with a curling strike after 22 minutes, but both teams lacked quality in the final third – Etienne Capoue lashed a free-kick well over as he squandered an opportunity to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark.
A deflected Younes Kaboul strike wrong-footed Fabianski before bouncing harmlessly wide in the closing stages of the half, but it was Swansea who emerged after the break with renewed attacking intent.
Barrow continued to torment Miguel Britos in much the same way he terrorised Nacho Monreal at Arsenal last weekend, but his delivery shortly after the hour was just behind Borja Baston, who diverted wide.
Swansea had an even better chance to go in front soon after, when Van der Hoorn met a Sigurdsson free-kick only to send his effort straight at goalkeeper Gomes.
It was the hosts who looked most likely as the match progressed, with substitute Fernando Llorente seeing an effort deflected over before Sigurdsson struck another Barrow cutback into the grateful clutches of Gomes.
Sigurdsson’s shot from the edge of the box bounced off the left-hand post in the last 10 minutes, but Bradley’s wait for a first win continues, with the Swansea boss grateful to see a late Nordin Amrabat effort go just over.
Key Opta Stats:
– Swansea City failed to score in a home league game against Watford for the first time since March 1923.
– Watford kept consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since December 2015 (three in a row).
– No Watford player made more tackles (4), clearances (6) or interceptions (5) against Swansea than Jose Holebas.
– This was Swansea’s 100th Premier League home game. They have won 37, drawn 33 and lost 30 of their 100 home games in the competition.
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