Following their defeat at Burnley on Thursday evening head coach Nigel Pearson said his side lacked cohesion, but there was even less of it on show at Vicarage Road as the visiting team took all three points with relative ease.
Ings curled home the opener from 20 yards following Will Smallbone’s pass. And he blasted home a second – his 18th Premier League goal of the season – after controlling Ben Foster’s poor throw before surging towards the box.
Watford were handed a lifeline on 79 minutes when Southampton defender Jan Bednarek put through his own net, but the Hornets’ hopes were extinguished three minutes later by James Ward-Prowse’s spectacular free-kick.
Southampton were good value for their second consecutive away win, secured thanks to a sharp double from Ings and a trademark free-kick from James Ward-Prowse. The anxiety weighed heavily on Watford, who remain a point above 18th-placed Bournemouth, and defeat was not a good look given that Nigel Pearson had to drop three players following an alleged lockdown breach involving Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina reportedly attending a party hosted by Andre Gray. “Until I know all the facts I am not making any further comment on that situation,” Pearson said.
The investigation should not take long. Gray posted videos of the party on Instagram. His Watford team-mates who did play created virtually nothing of note for lone target man Troy Deeney, to whom they kept pumping long balls much to the delight of Southampton’s centre-backs Jan Bednarek and Vestergaard.
If, like me, you’ve spent far longer than is strictly healthy in front of televised kind-of-football over the last twelve days (yes, it’s really only been twelve days) you’ll almost certainly have come to the reassuring conclusion that our “rivals” in the musical chairs mini-league at the bottom really aren’t very good. Perhaps this should be no surprise, that teams in a relegation scrap are a bit crap. No doubt it was ever thus, we’ve just never studied a relegation battle quite so forensically. Never been able to, not actually needed to for some time…. the last time we were involved in anything resembling a relegation scrap was Malky’s first season ten years ago, a season that Tom Cleverley, Aidy Mariappa and Craig Cathcart all featured in.
Project restart continues to be a false start for Watford, as Jon, Jas and Mike gather in the aftermath of another damaging display, this time against in form Southampton. The boys don’t pull any punches in their assessment of a listless display in which Watford failed to record a single shot on target. This combined with a litany of errors mean that positivity is pretty thin on the ground; despite a heartwarming message from young Arlo.