Swansea City produced a stunning turnaround to win 2-1 at Watford in new boss Carlos Carvalhal’s first game in charge.
Jordan Ayew and Luciano Narsingh scored in the last five minutes to see Carvalhal make an instant impact after being named Swansea’s fifth manager in two years on Thursday.
Their heroics came after Andre Carrillo had given the hosts an 11th-minute lead.
Molla Wague had a goal harshly ruled out for a soft shove on Tammy Abraham early in the second half, while substitute Andre Gray should have done better when he fired straight at Lukasz Fabianski from a one-on-one scenario shortly before Ayew’s leveller.
The equaliser came from a knockdown from Oli McBurnie, and then Carvalhal’s tactical switch paid dividends again, as fellow substitutes Narsingh and Nathan Dyer combined for the winner.
Dyer’s low drive from distance was parried into Narsingh’s path by Heurelho Gomes, and the Dutch winger coolly slotted home for Swansea’s first Premier League away win since August.
The result lifts them off the foot of the table, with West Brom set to face Arsenal on Sunday.
16 – Watford have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the @PremierLeague this season. Frittered.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 30, 2017
One of Carvalhal’s first acts in charge was to select Ayew in a more advanced position alongside Abraham – the latter named as one of three changes from the 5-0 Boxing Day defeat to Liverpool – and the Ghanaian went agonisingly close to giving them an early lead when his effort from 25 yards bounced off the crossbar with Gomes well beaten.
Tom Cleverley then curled a shot around the right-hand post on the turn at the other end, and Richarlison had an effort tipped wide by Fabianski in a lively opening 10 minutes.
It was the hosts who eventually made the breakthrough. Stefano Okaka found Richarlison with a wonderful throughball and, after Fabianski could only parry the Brazilian’s strike, Carrillo was left with a simple headed finish for his first Watford goal.
Creating chances has been Swansea’s biggest problem this season and, while they attempted to keep a higher line, they still found goalscoring opportunities at a premium for long spells, although Roque Mesa should have done better when he fired high and wide from outside the box after 23 minutes.
Richarlison then rose above Kyle Naughton to head straight at Fabianski seven minutes from half-time, ending the opening period with two more individual shots on target than Swansea’s collective zero.
Wague’s disallowed headed goal gave Swansea a reprieve and Alfie Mawson headed over as they looked to capitalise on their lucky escape, before Narsingh prodded the ball meekly into the arms of Gomes from a promising position.
Gray’s failure to finish after being played through on Fabianski looked set to be a footnote in a relatively comfortable Watford victory, but Ayew and Narsingh punished that mistake in emphatic fashion.
First, Ayew stayed just onside to tap home a headed assist from McBurnie – on as a 57th-minute replacement for Abraham – before Narsingh sent the visiting fans into delirium after Gomes had pushed the ball back into the danger zone from Dyer’s long-range strike.
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) December 30, 2017
Key Opta stats:
– Five of Watford’s Premier League games this season have seen a 90-plus minute winning goal – two in their favour, three against.
– This was the fourth Premier League game this season that Watford have been winning with 20 minutes remaining and have ended up as the losing team.
– Watford have now lost 16 points from winning positions this season in the Premier League, more than any other team.
– Swansea scored a 90-plus minute winning goal in a Premier League game for the fourth time and for the first time away from home since April 2014 at Newcastle, when Wilfried Bony scored their winner that day.
– Swansea picked up their first Premier League away win since August 26th (2-0 at Crystal Palace) and ended an eight-game winless run on the road in the competition (W0 D1 L7).
– Watford have lost three of their four Premier League games against sides placed at the bottom of the league since the start of last season – with two of those coming this month (Crystal Palace and Swansea).
– Andre Carrillo scored his first Premier League goal and became only the fourth Peruvian to score in the competition, after Nolberto Solano (49), Herlyn Zuniga (3) and Claudio Pizarro (2).
– Carrillo was the 14th different player to score for Watford in the Premier League this season, a joint-high spread of players along with Chelsea.
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