Premier League
SouthamptonSouthampton2WatfordWatford0

Southampton 2-0 Watford

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Shane Long
Shane Long grabbed his eighth of the season in the first half

Goals from Shane Long and Dusan Tadic earned Southampton only their second league win in nine games as they saw off Watford at St Mary's Stadium.

The Saints were exceptional and outshone their in-form visitors on a wet and cold night on the south coast.

Long opened the scoring when he directed his header past Heurelho Gomes from a excellent Matt Targett delivery.

Dusan Tadic made it 2-0, two minutes after coming on in the 71st minute, when he fired in from eight yards.

The Saints move up from 13th to 12th with the win, two points behind Watford who remain on 29 points, but drop from ninth to 10th.

Relive the action as it happened

Wednesday's football action as it happened

Southampton finally make it count

Saints manager Ronald Koeman had seen his side play well in patches over the past few games, but bar the 4-0 win over Arsenal on Boxing Day, they have lacked the killer punch in the final third.

On a night for only the hardiest souls, the Dutchman's players showed their mettle and made it count in the final third, while Watford never looked up for the battle.

Shane Long's goal
Number 7 Shane Long was in the perfect position to nod in Matt Targett's (33) cross

Long and Tadic might have grabbed the goals but it should be Sadio Mane who grabs the headlines.

The Senegal midfielder, who was left out of the starting XI for the 1-0 loss to Norwich as punishment for arriving late, started and ran the visiting backline ragged with his pace and tenacity.

He had two great chances to score - first a low shot that whistled past the post when he just had Heurelho Gomes to beat, and then a drive that narrowly missed the upright.

What happened to Ighalo and Deeney?

The Watford strike force of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, who have scored 20 goals between them this season, only managed one shot each and neither was on target.

Their supply line was cut off thanks to the dogged work of the Saints midfielders, who suffocated the space for Almen Abdi, Etienne Capoue and Ben Watson.

The Hornets' only shot on target came in the 85th minute when substitute Craig Cathcart drove in a skidding effort that Fraser Forster easily collected down to his left.

The England goalkeeper was making his first start since March after recovering from a knee injury. He could not have hoped for an easier reintroduction.

Man of the match - Sadio Mane (Southampton)

Sadio Mane
He might not have scored, but five efforts on goal and two on target was a great effort by the Senegal player

What the managers said

Southampton's Ronald Koeman:

"We had really big chances, Sadio had two big chances. The team was aggressive and superb.

Southampton 2-0 Watford: Ronald Koeman would have liked more goals

"The centre-backs did a great job, with Matt Targett on the left and Cedric Soares on the right. There was also good movement from midfielder Steven Davis - he was one of the best of the night. Watford only had one good chance.

"It makes everybody proud that Fraser [Forster] is back. A clean-sheet gives everybody a good boost."

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores:

"We didn't hit the level of other matches. We didn't play well. It was the worst match we've played in the Premier League. Southampton played much better.

Southampton 2-0 Watford: Flores admits defeat is Hornet's worst game

"I am sorry for the first half. I apologise to the fans. It's the first time in the season we failed to find the level.

"We didn't play our style on the pitch. The players can make mistakes - it's football."

The stats you need to know

  • Southampton are unbeaten in their last five league meetings with Watford (W3 D2)
  • Watford have failed to score in their last four league games against the Saints
  • Long has scored five goals in 13 Premier League appearances this season; the same tally as he netted in 32 league appearances for the club in 2014-15
  • Eight of Long's 10 Premier League goals for Southampton have come at St Mary's
  • Watford were losing at half-time for only the second time in the Premier League this season

What next?

The Saints will be looking to make it two wins out of two on Saturday when they host West Brom. The Hornets are away to Swansea.

Line-ups

Southampton

  • 44Forster
  • 2Cédric SoaresBooked at 24minsSubstituted forYoshidaat 82'minutes
  • 17van Dijk
  • 6José Fonte
  • 21Bertrand
  • 14Romeu
  • 4Clasie
  • 8DavisSubstituted forPellèat 81'minutes
  • 10ManéSubstituted forTadicat 71'minutes
  • 33Targett
  • 7Long

Substitutes

  • 1Davis
  • 3Yoshida
  • 11Tadic
  • 15Martina
  • 16Ward-Prowse
  • 19Pellè
  • 20Juanmi

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 2NyomSubstituted forIbarboat 68'minutes
  • 5PrödlBooked at 67mins
  • 3BritosSubstituted forCathcartat 72'minutes
  • 25Holebas
  • 22AbdiSubstituted forAnyaat 61'minutes
  • 23Watson
  • 29Capoue
  • 7Jurado
  • 24Ighalo
  • 9DeeneyBooked at 77mins

Substitutes

  • 8Behrami
  • 14Paredes
  • 15Cathcart
  • 17Guédioura
  • 19Ibarbo
  • 21Anya
  • 34Arlauskis
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
28,399

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home15
Away4
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home8
Away1
Fouls
Home9
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Southampton 2, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Southampton 2, Watford 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Southampton. Dusan Tadic tries a through ball, but Shane Long is caught offside.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Sebastian Prödl.

  6. Post update

    Hand ball by Víctor Ibarbo (Watford).

  7. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by José Holebas.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Dusan Tadic (Southampton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Jordy Clasie (Southampton).

  10. Post update

    Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Craig Cathcart (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Odion Ighalo (Watford).

  13. Post update

    Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Sebastian Prödl (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Graziano Pellè (Southampton).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Maya Yoshida replaces Cédric Soares.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Graziano Pellè replaces Steven Davis.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Watson.

  19. Booking

    Troy Deeney (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal21134437211643
2Leicester21127238251343
3Man City21124539211840
4Tottenham2199334171736
5West Ham219843324935
6Man Utd219752720734
7Stoke219572422232
8Crystal Palace219482320331
9Liverpool218762527-231
10Watford218582524129
11Everton2161053629728
12Southampton217682824427
13West Brom217682227-527
14Chelsea216692831-324
15Norwich2165102435-1123
16Bournemouth2156102337-1421
17Swansea2147101930-1119
18Sunderland2153132641-1518
19Newcastle2146112238-1618
20Aston Villa2125141737-2011
View full Premier League table

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