Southampton 0-2 Watford: Abdoulaye Doucoure and Daryl Janmaat strike in Watford win
By Robert O'Connor
Last Updated: 09/09/17 6:54pm
Watford ground out an industrial 2-0 win away at Southampton thanks to superb strikes from Abdoulaye Doucoure and substitute Daryl Janmaat to maintain coach Marco Silva's unbeaten start to the season.
It took a driven volley from the French midfielder which skipped off the turf and beyond Fraser Forster to break the deadlock late in the first half (38), as Saints struggled to find any rhythm in the face of the visitors' energetic pressing game.
Janmaat crashed in a finely-taken second (66) for the visitors with Forster perhaps slow to react to his low drive, as Southampton took until stoppage time to register a meaningful effort on Heurelho Gomes' goal when Alves Cedric shot straight at the Brazil goalkeeper.
The result stretches Saints' poor scoring form to eight blanks in their last nine games, as new boss Mauricio Pellegrino struggles to inspire his side after taking over from Claude Puel.
Southampton: Forster (5), Soares (6), Stephens (7), Hoedt (6), Bertrand (7), Davis (6), Romeu (7), Ward-Prowse (7), Boufal (5), Redmond (6), Gabbiadini (6)
Subs: Long (6), Tadic (6), Austin (6)
Watford: Gomes (7), Kaboul (7), Holebas (7), Carrillo (8), Kabasele (6), Femenia (6), Cleverley (7), Chalobah (8), Doucoure (7), Gray (7), Richarlison (8)
Subs: Deeney (6), Mariappa (7), Janmaat (8)
Man of the match: Chalobah
It was a game of little goalmouth activity with much of the first half characterized by the hosts looking to release full-backs Ryan Bertrand and Alves Cedric whilst Watford harried well out of possession.
The first chance came when Saints' Sofiane Boufal made space for himself on the byline and pulled an inviting ball back into the box but there was no one in red to execute the finish.
Dutch debutant Wesley Hoedt started at centre-back for Saints with Virgil Van Dijk still missing.Richarlison started in attack with Andre Gray for Watford
Jose Holebas bent a free-kick past Forster's post for the visitors on the half-hour mark, but it took a brilliant strike out of nothing from midfielder Doucoure to set Watford on their way, the 24-year-old whipping the ball past the Saints 'keeper from the edge of the box as Saints failed to clear.
Richarlison went close to making it two with a fierce near-post drive before half time, with Forster relieved to see the ball land in the side-netting.
Janmaat put the game beyond the insipid hosts with a lashed finish from 30 yards after a good first touch from Tom Cleverley's header.
It was the third time in Pellegrino's first four games in the St Mary's dugout that his side have failed to score, with Cedric's drive well held by Gomes doing little to alleviate the home fans' concerns.
- Watford enjoyed a league win over Southampton for the first time in eight attempts (W1 D3 L4); their first since October 2008 (3-0 at St Mary's).
- Southampton have failed to score in nine of their last 12 Premier League matches, including three of their four games so far in 2017-18.
- Abdoulaye Doucouré scored his 14th top-flight goal in his career, but this was his first from outside the box (Premier League & Ligue 1 combined).
- Watford's seven goals in the Premier League this season have come via six different goalscorers - only Abdoulaye Doucouré has scored more than once in the competition for them in 2017/18.
Mauricio Pellegrino: "They were better in the first half especially with long balls and second balls. Physically they were fresher than us. They created enough to score. We have to learn from today. In the second half, we were much better but we couldn't create.
"The game is 22 players to analyse not just 11. I will talk about my team and the other manager will talk about his. They had a lot of people behind the ball and it was difficult for us."
Marco Silva: "It's not easy to come here and do what we did, to control the match and to play like we did. Very, very good game. I didn't remember one chance for our opponent.
"Sometimes we can do something special like we did today. I'm really happy of course. I feel like my team played like they enjoyed the match. Three clean sheets in a row is very important to us it gives our team lots of confidence. I think we controlled these moments and we deserved three points."
Man of the match - Nathanial Chalobah
Stood up brilliantly to Oriel Romeu in the centre of midfield and was a controlling influence as Watford stifled the life out of their hosts.
Southampton play away at Crystal Palace next Saturday at 12.30pm whilst Watford host Man City on Saturday at 3pm.