Watford beat Southampton at St Mary’s to give themselves a huge boost in their battle against relegation.
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A double from Cucho Hernandez put them 2-0 up in the first half and although Mohamed Elyounoussi made it 2-1 right on half time, Watford weathered a storm in the second half and held on for just their second win in 17 games.
With the win Roy Hodgson’s side have 22 points from 29 games, as they only below 17th place Everton on goal difference. Southampton remain on 35 points after three-straight defeats for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
Southampton vs Watford final score, stats
Southampton 1-2 Watford
Goals scored: Cucho Hernandez 14′, 34′; Elyounoussi 45′
Shots: Southampton 13, Watford 9
Shots on target: Southampton 7, Watford 5
Possession: Southampton 63, Watford 37
Three things we learned from Southampton vs Watford
1. Hornets give themselves hope: This was a game Watford simply had to win to give themselves hope of staying up and they did. They don’t have another game until April and there will be a feel-good factor around Watford between now and then. This was a gutsy display where they stuck to the plan throughout.
2. Saints in freefall: Three defeats in a row and two home defeats in four days has been a surprise for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side after their fine run in recent months. They have struggled massively against teams who sit deep and let them have the ball, as they can’t play their high-pressing game. They have handed goals to their opponents in recent defeats and that will be most disappointing to Hasenhuttl. Where has this slump come from?
3. Hodgson has had an impact: Defensively they looked very solid throughout this game and as soon as they got the lead they were able to sit back and defend it. They looked comfortable at doing that and then launched dangerous counters. Watford have found a way to get it done and Hodgson is working his magic.
Man of the Match: Cucho Hernandez – Scored twice in the first half and could have had a few more as he often led dangerous Watford counters. The Colombian had a superb outing.
Sloppy Saints punished
Mohamed Elyounoussi’s header was cleared off the line early on as Southampton started well.
Southampton almost gifted Watford an opener as Mohammed Salisu sliced his clearance straight to Joao Pedro but luckily Jan Bednarek was on hand to block his shot superbly.
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Then they did gift them the opening goal, as Fraser Forster almost gave the ball away, then Salisu did inexplicably and Cucho Hernandez slotted home nicely to make it 1-0 to Watford.
Cucho at the double, but Saints fight back
Kyle Walker-Peters almost equalized after a fine run down the right but his shot was cleared at the near post, and Salisu headed over from close range.
Watford made it 2-0 before half time as a cross to the back found Hernandez and he volleyed home his second goal of the game. Watford should have been 3-0 up at half time as Juraj Kucka raced clear but Forster saved down low.
Right on half time Saints pulled a goal back as Che Adams flicked on a Ward-Prowse free kick and Elyounoussi finished at the back post to make it 2-1.
Tense, tight second half
Armando Broja came on at half time to try and kick-start Saints’ comeback, as Salisu headed a free kick wide.
At the other end Kucka’s curler was pushed away by Forster, as the away side had some chances on the break.
Ward-Prowse’s free kick flew inches over the bar and Foster then denied Adams’ header, as there was a VAR check for a potential handball on Christian Kabasele but no penalty kick was given.