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Watford 0 AFC Bournemouth 0: Ighalo misses cost hosts at Vicarage Road

Watford and AFC Bournemouth played out a goalless Premier League draw at Vicarage Road, with Odion Ighalo missing the best opportunities to win the match.

Ighalo came close to scoring an early opener only for Adam Federici to make a good save as Watford started well, but the hosts could not find the goal their dominance deserved.

Bournemouth were on top after the interval and a fine Heurelho Gomes save kept out Harry Arter’s left-footed drive from fully 25 yards.

Valon Behrami could have conceded a penalty for a handball, before Ighalo missed the match’s clearest chance by heading over a Nordin Amrabat cross.

It was the 100th league meeting between the sides and both clubs remain tied on 35 victories apiece after this stalemate.

Quique Sanchez Flores recalled top scorer Ighalo, who was rested for last weekend’s 1-0 FA Cup win against Leeds United, while Bournemouth welcomed back Max Gradel to their squad after six months out with a knee injury.

Ighalo almost gave Watford a flying start inside two minutes when he burst clear of Arter and Steve Cook, but Federici made a good save.

The 14-goal striker then screwed a shot wide from eight yards after Amrabat played in Juan Carlos Paredes down the right wing as Watford started the match well on top.

Arter shot off target for Bournemouth after 12 minutes with Amrabat’s effort deflecting wide off Cook moments later.

Gradel then made an early substitute appearance on his comeback due to Junior Stanislas pulling up with a hamstring injury, but the game remained one of few chances.

The first opening of the second half fell to Josh King after 52 minutes, but the striker turned a fine Matt Ritchie cross over the crossbar.

Bournemouth, who have now only lost one of their last eight away league games, then put together the best move of the game to free Gradel, who shot over under pressure from Miguel Britos.

Gomes preserved Watford’s second clean sheet in 10 matches on the hour-mark, diving to his left to superbly keep out a 25-yard Arter drive, before Behrami was fortunate not to concede a penalty for handling a cross.

After 66 minutes Ighalo missed the best chance of the game, heading an Amrabat right-wing centre over the crossbar.

Ighalo missed the target again after 75 minutes, turning inside and shooting over from a good position after Ben Watson took a quick free-kick.

Substitute Dan Gosling could only turn a loose ball into Gomes’ arms before the goalkeeper saved a header by Gradel.

Despite a frantic finale the game remained goalless, meaning Watford missed a chance to climb to eighth in the Premier League, while the point edges Bournemouth away from the relegation zone.

Key Opta stats:

– Watford fired in just one shot on target against Bournemouth; only against Southampton (0) in August have they attempted fewer at Vicarage Road in the Premier League this season.
– The Hornets have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League matches.
– Bournemouth have lost just one of their last eight Premier League away games (W3 D4 L1).
– Troy Deeney made his 250th appearance for Watford.
– Only Manchester United (5) have drawn more Premier League games nil-nil this season than Watford (4).
– Heurelho Gomes made more passes than any other Watford player versus Bournemouth (37).

Sat 27 Feb, 2016
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