Southampton scored two goals in five second half minutes to record a vital 2-1 win over Watford at St. Mary's, their first Premier League victory at home since April.


Watford had opened the scoring in the first half, as Ismaila Sarr used his pace to get on the end of Étienne Capoue's speculative first time long ball, before finishing superbly.

Sarr almost doubled the visitor's lead as his fiercely struck first time volley was well save by McCarthy. The Southampton keeper was called into action moments later, getting a vital touch on a Gerard Deulofeu cross to tip it away from the waiting Sarr. 


Southampton piled the pressure on in the second half, with Ben Foster tipping Shane Long's close range effort over the bar. Long then had a scuffed effort cleared off the line by Craig Cathcart.


Their pressure eventually played dividends. Moussa Djenepo danced his way into the box, and his prodded cross was bundled in by Danny Ings. James Ward-Prowse grabbed the winner for the Saints seven minutes from time with a masterfully struck free kick. 


Southampton​

Key Talking Point

Southampton are not a team lacking in quality by any stretch of the imagination. But in the first half, they were a side severely lacking in cutting edge. For all their possession in Watford's half, they did not really create any clear cut chances. There was no risk taking, no excitement, no flair. 


In the second half, they looked a completely different side. There was urgency, there was intensity and there was quality. They dominated the second 45 and eventually got their just rewards. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: McCarthy (7*); Soares (5); Stephens (5); Bednarek (5); Bertrand (5); Djenepo (7); Ward-Prowse (7); Højbjerg (5); Redmond (6); Ings (6); Obafemi (5).


Substitutes: Boufal (6); Long (6); Valery (5).


STAR PLAYER: Alex McCarthy


The Southampton stopper kept his side in the game in the first half, with two good saves from Sarr, and another from Deulofeu. While his defence looked shaky at times, McCarthy was solid. 


His saves proved vital, giving Southampton a fighting chance in the second, which they went on to seize. While Ward-Prowse will get the glory for his fine free kick, a winning goal would not have been on the cards had it not been for the heroics of McCarthy in the first half.


Watford

Key Talking Point

Adrian Mariappa

This was a perfect away performance from Watford in the first half. They sat back, soaked up the Southampton pressure and utilised Sarr's speed up top with a quick goal on the counter attack.


But in the second half, Watford invited Southampton onto them, and in the end, the pressure inevitably took its toll. There will be regrets over the opportunities they missed in the first half, but they were completely overrun in the second. They finally came alive again when they went 2-1 down, but it was too little too late.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Foster (6); Mariappa (5); Cathcart (6); Masina (5); Femenía (5); Holebas (5); Doucouré (5); Capoue (6); Hughes (6); Deulofeu (6); Sarr (7*).


Substitutes: Gray (5); Chalobah (5); Foulquier (5).


STAR PLAYER: Ismaila Sarr


With a £40m price tag weighing heavily around his neck, it has not been an easy introduction to English football for the Senegalese international. However, there were no signs of the pressure of his transfer fee today, as he slotted home expertly within the opening 25 minutes.


The striker was a constant thorn in the side of Southampton defence, who had no answer to his pace as he stretched them and got in behind on numerous occasions.  But he was just as effective when he received the ball to feet; Sarr demonstrated his skill to create an opening for himself and then the confidence to shoot from distance, as he sent a second half effort fizzing over the bar. 


Looking Ahead


Southampton welcome fellow strugglers Norwich to St. Mary's on Wednesday, in what will be another massive opportunity for Ralph Hasenhüttl's side to take points off a relegation rival. 


There's no let up for Watford, who face a tricky looking trip to goal happy Leicester on Wednesday.