Watford were unable to finish the year on a winning note as they had to settle for a point after Abdoulaye Doucuoure came off the bench to secure a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.

Javi Gracia opted to shuffle his pack and although the much-changed Hornets started promisingly, they struggled after falling behind to a Salmon Rondon header.

The introduction of Troy Deeney and Doucuoure improved matters after the break, but the home side still found it difficult to produce a telling moment until Gerard Deulofeu crossed for the midfielder to head home his third of the campaign.

Here’s how we scored Watford’s players:

Ben Foster – 6.5

The Hornets number one had a couple of close calls when he committed himself to coming towards the edge of the area to deal with balls and some of his clearances were mis-hit. Foster had no chance for the goal after being left exposed by his defence and his other involvements were relatively routine.

Daryl Janmaat – 6

Back in first-team action after a three-month injury-enforced absence and produced a reasonable showing. Tried to get forward when possible but was exposed by the cross which led to the goal and always had to be watchful against Matt Ritchie.

Adrian Mariappa – 5.5

Stepped in, as expected, following the injury to Christian Kabasele and found it tough at times against the physical and aerial challenge of Salomon Rondon.

Watford Observer:

Craig Cathcart – 5.5

Watford’s usually most consistent and reliable defender will be disappointed by the manner in which he was caught ball watching and lost Rondon for Newcastle’s goal. That apart, a generally sound afternoon against the Magpies’ counter-attacking threat.

Adam Masina – 5.5

Making his first Premier League appearance in three-and-a-half months, the former Bologna man never offered a sense of imposing himself on the game. Was replaced by Jose Holebas for the final 15 minutes.

Will Hughes – 5.5

Like many of his teammates Hughes started well, producing one lovely flick to set up Gerard Deulofeu for his best chance, but then struggled after Newcastle had taken the lead. Was replaced by Troy Deeney in the early stages of the second half but will benefit from this return to action.

Domingos Quina – 5

One fine piece of close control during Watford’s positive start suggested it would be another good day for the young midfielder. But Quina found it really hard going in the spell after the Magpies had taken the lead, losing possession and being physically dominated by such as Mohamed Diame. It was no surprise when the 19-year-old was also taken off early in the second half but this experience will benefit him in the long term.

Etienne Capoue – 5.5

The Frenchman has been impressive this season so perhaps he was due in off-day. It arrived yesterday. He didn’t impose himself on the game as usual, his passing lacked its normal positivity and his general demeanour looked a little flat.

Roberto Pereyra – 5.5

Another of Watford’s ‘big’ players who didn’t impose himself enough on the game. His early touches offered some optimism, but after the Hornets had gone behind he struggled to be involved in any of his side's better moments in the final third.

Watford Observer:

Isaac Success – 5

Was given a rough ride by Newcastle’s at times physical approach, but looks to be caught in two minds too frequently at the moment and his end product suffers as a result.

Gerard Deulofeu – 6

On an afternoon when Watford’s final ball lacked quality, he did deliver a fine cross for his side to equalise and should have been used more after being switched to the right flank in the second half. Prior to that though, he spurned the Hornets’ best chance to take the lead in what was one of his ‘in and out’ type of games.


Abdoulaye Doucoure – 7

Capitalised on a rare moment of poor Newcastle defending to head home the equaliser. Offered some much-needed drive and purpose to the midfield after coming on.

Watford Observer:

Troy Deeney – 7

Watford’s club captain did well after entering the fray, winning a large number of headers and offering more of a physical edge to his side’s attacking play that was lacking beforehand.

Jose Holebas – 6.5

The lack of drive and purpose down Watford’s left was evident in Holebas’ absence as well as his deliveries. Played in some good crosses after being introduced and his experience was also beneficial.