Brighton started the game on a streak of seven games without a win and Watford without one in their last five, and despite having scored just one goal in their last six it was the home side who were the more aggressive of the two in the opening stages.
The Seagulls were taking early advantage of Watford's lack of confidence in the back-line as Tomer Hemed was allowed to weave his way into the box and unleash a shot which flashed across the face of goal. Anthony Knockaert managed to keep the ball in play and fire in a low cross from the by-line, which was eventually scrambled clear by the Hornets.
With Watford failing to address the ease at which the home side were strolling into their area, a chance once again fell the way of Knockaert after a cross whipped into the box was fumbled by Heurelho Gomes, the winger's heavy touch let him down in the end as the ball rolled out of play.
Our defending is by far the worst in the league, not even exaggerating.— Dom (@SimplyWatford) December 23, 2017
Having struggled to get a foothold in the game up until the 20th minute, successive corners for the Hornets looked to have steadied the ship as their vulnerable defence was given a number of reprieves from the lack of cutting edge in the Brighton side.
Yet, despite a speculative effort from Watford's André Carrillo the best chance of the half fell the way of Brighton's Connor Goldson in the 31st minute, a corner delivery found the defender unmarked at the back post, but a poor header into the ground allowed Gomes to make a relatively easy save.
The remainder of the half was a sloppy affair, with neither side proving convincing in possession as misplaced passes and a lack of clinical edge scuppered any chance of finding some much needed rhythm for both sides.
No prizes for guessing the half-time score at Brighton v Watford. Brighton have actually been decent in spells but this is really quite poor.— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) December 23, 2017
9 - Pascal Gross has been directly involved in nine Premier League goals this season (4 goals, 5 assists), four more than any other Brighton player. Pivotal.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 23, 2017
With the first game of the frantic Christmas period in the bank Brighton now face a trip to Chelsea and Newcastle before hosting Bournemouth on New Year's Day. Whilst Watford host Leicester and Swansea before making the treacherous trip to face Manchester City.
| #watfordfc XI v @OfficialBHAFC | Gomes (GK) (C); Janmaat, Prödl, Kabasele, Holebas; Watson, Cleverley; Carrillo, Pereyra, Richarlison; Gray.— Watford FC (@WatfordFC) December 23, 2017
Subs | Karnezis (GK), Mariappa, Wagué, Capoue, Sinclair, Okaka, Folivi. pic.twitter.com/DqMdduzwg4