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Honours even in Vicarage Road stalemate

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Mike Dean

Ben Foster’s superb save prevented Arnaut Danjuma marking his full Premier League debut with a goal as AFC Bournemouth were forced to settle for a second successive 0-0 draw.

The Watford goalkeeper blocked Danjuma’s effort from point-blank range towards the end of a pulsating first half at Vicarage Road.

Eddie Howe’s team, who shared the points with Norwich at Vitality Stadium seven days ago, had the better of the chances against the Hornets and were left to rue Foster’s wonderful save.

Danjuma was drafted in for his first Premier League start as boss Howe made three changes to the Cherries starting line-up.

The Netherlands international, a summer signing from Club Brugge, was preferred to Liverpool loan man Harry Wilson who dropped to the bench.

Jefferson Lerma, who missed the Cherries’ 0-0 draw with Norwich due to a hip problem, reclaimed his place, as did striker Joshua King. Lewis Cook and Dominic Solanke both made way.

For Watford, Gerard Deulofeu and Adam Masina replaced the suspended Jose Holebas and Danny Welbeck who was forced off by injury during their 1-1 draw at Tottenham seven days ago.

The Cherries had an early let-off when Abdoulaye Doucoure blazed high over the crossbar from close range with the goal gaping inside the opening 60 seconds.

Aaron Ramsdale had saved superbly from Deulofeu in the lead up with Doucoure pouncing on the loose ball but lifting his chance over the top.

Lerma’s low left-foot shot from 20 yards flashed past the post as play quickly switched to the other end before Deulofeu saw his corner hit the upright.

And after Craig Dawson had taken aim from the rebound, an heroic block from Steve Cook prevented his shot reaching Ramsdale.

The Hornets were forced into a change after 10 minutes when Will Hughes replaced Tom Cleverley before the Cherries went close to breaking the deadlock through Cook.

He arrived to meet Ryan Fraser’s 15th-minute corner, only to see his powerful header come crashing back off the crossbar after Danjuma had teed him up.

A sweeping move started by Fraser’s pass from deep ended with Philip Billing seeing his strike pushed around the post by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Diego Rico’s dangerous free-kick from 30 yards clipped the top of the Watford wall and went out for a corner.

And from the resultant delivery from Fraser, the ball fell invitingly for Rico just outside the 18-yard box, the Spaniard’s blistering strike parried by Foster who had to dive full length to keep it out.

As a frenetic opening period drew to a close, the Cherries were again denied by Foster, the Watford goalkeeper thwarting Danjuma with a top-drawer stop.

A delightful move saw Lerma send King scampering down the right wing, the Norway international finding Danjuma in acres of space and with the goal at his mercy.

But after pulling the trigger from around seven yards, Danjuma could only look on in despair as Foster spread himself to keep out his effort from point-blank range.

And there was still time for Foster to scurry across his line to beat away Rico’s speculative cross-shot at his near post, bringing a halt to an end-to-end first half.

Deulofeu weaved his way into the danger zone at the start of the second half with Ramsdale standing tall to beat away his resultant shot.

Danjuma’s eventful first top-flight start came to an end when he was replaced by Harry Wilson in the 61st minute.

Chances were at a premium during the second half with Doucoure’s ambitious 25-yarder flying well wide after 70 minutes.

And a promising move from the Cherries ended with King firing straight down Foster’s throat after being put in by Harry Wilson.

Solanke replaced Callum Wilson in the 74th minute before Ramsdale dived to his left to push a Hughes effort around the post.

Appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears after Fraser’s cross had struck Christian Kabasele with referee Mike Dean opted not to refer the decision to VAR.

Andre Gray’s centre flashed across the face of the goalmouth before the Watford substitute failed to connect with a Deulofeu free-kick at the far post.

Harry Wilson went within a whisker of settling the contest in favour of the visitors when his free-kick curled the wrong side of the post four minutes from time before Foster punched clear Fraser's effort in stoppage-time.

Manchester City Etihad Stadium

Premier League

13th August 2022 3:00 PM

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