Watford continued their solid start to life under Marco Silva with an impressive 2-0 away win over Southampton on Saturday.
Abdoulaye Doucoure and Daryl Janmaat scored either side of half-time to give Silva his second win as Watford boss and extend the Hornets’ unbeaten opening to the Premier League season.
The contrast could hardly be greater for Mauricio Pellegrino, whose Saints side have now failed to score in nine of their past 12 home league matches.
Southampton failed to register a shot of any kind in the first half and duly fell behind when Doucoure crashed in his second of the season shortly before half-time.
Janmaat fired home another effort from outside the area to put the result beyond doubt with 24 minutes left.
Untroubled for the remainder of the match, Watford now boast two wins from their opening four matches.
With both sides held to scoreless draws last time out, it came as little surprise that the first shot failed to arrive until Jose Holebas curled a free-kick wide in the 23rd minute.
Brazilian winger Richarlison then drew an important block from Jack Stephens as the visitors started to grow into the match, enjoying the majority of possession and creating more space in attack.
Watford got their reward when Doucoure, who scored in the opening-round 3-3 draw with Liverpool, won a bouncing ball outside the area and struck a superb half-volley into the bottom far corner.
Richarlison soon dragged an inventive effort around the near post before Doucoure blazed another effort over the crossbar as the home fans greeted the half-time whistle with a chorus of boos.
The visitors might have grabbed a second shortly after the restart, but Nathaniel Chalobah was unable to force home a header from Holebas’ corner.
Southampton almost found a way through on the hour when a cross dropped invitingly for defender Stephens, only for Christian Kabasele to make a timely intervention.
And the hosts were punished for failing to grasp the opportunity as Janmaat fired home a second from outside the area, steadying over a loose ball and thumping a fine low strike past Fraser Forster.
The Hornets were rarely troubled from there on as they saw out their second victory in four matches.
Southampton will need to regroup away to Crystal Palace next weekend, while Watford will be tested by an in-form Manchester City, fresh from their 5-0 thrashing of Liverpool.
Key Opta stats:
– 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).
– The Hornets have kept a clean sheet in three successive Premier League games for the first time since October 2016.
– Southampton did not manage a shot on target in this match until the 92nd minute.
– Watford’s seven goals in the Premier League this season have come via six different goalscorers – only Abdoulaye Doucoure has scored more than once in the competition for them in 2017/18.