Watford inflicted further misery on Bournemouth at Dean Court, sealing a comfortable 3-0 win and placing their opponents into the relegation zone while temporarily moving themselves up to 17th.
The visitors were the more threatening side throughout the first half, mostly due to Bournemouth's insistence on playing out from the back. It was as a result of this that the Hornets grabbed the opener, capitalising on Mark Travers' poor pass with Ismaila Sarr finding
The second goal came through a different route, however, as fine work down the right from Sarr saw the ball fall to Troy Deeney, who thumped home to double the Hornets' advantage 20 minutes after the restart.
Finished as a contest from there, Watford coasted through the remainder and put gloss on the scoreline through Roberto Pereyra, in turn gaining a huge psychological boost by leapfrogging their opponents out of the Premier League bottom three - at least until Aston Villa kick off later on Sunday.
8 - Troy Deeney has scored eight league goals against Bournemouth, the most he has scored against any opponent in England's top four tiers. Punisher. pic.twitter.com/hd6dYkTwKt— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 12, 2020
Key Talking Point
Barring an away win over Chelsea, there really has been little to shout about on the south coast this season. Eddie Howe is highly regarded manager, but at present his credentials are facing their sternest test yet.
Bournemouth have struggled immensely all campaign, and their troubles are continuing to pile up after Sunday's shambles. Defensively they're all over the place, conceding goals from every angle due to their insistence on passing out from the back. Up front the strikers are receive little to no service, and in midfield they fail to wrestle any control on proceedings.
So sloppy in possession, particularly in their own half, it comes as no surprise to see the Cherries staring down the barrel of relegation. Howe has worked wonders in charge of the club, but even he looks devoid of ideas at present and there is seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel for the south coast side. Relegation looks more likely than not.
Starting XI: Travers (4); Smith (4), Francis (3), Cook (5), Ake (4); Wilson (4), Lerma (4), Gosling (4), Fraser (6*); Solanke (3), Wilson (4).
Substitutes: Cook (5), Billing (4), Surridge (3).
It's difficult to choose one player over another for Bournemouth, and not for the right reasons. Nobody shone on Sunday afternoon in what was another miserable day for Howe's side. Only Ryan Fraser ever looked like creating anything meaningful in attack, but he hardly set the world alight.
Ryan Fraser really is a quality player.— Aldo (@aldop1903) January 12, 2020
Arteta should think of signing RYAN FRASER. he is so direct.— BABAKE...DC1X (@IvanHezz) January 12, 2020
Bournemouth are woeful and look certs for the drop. Ryan Fraser is the only one of their players who looks remotely capable. Nigel Pearson has done some job at Watford so far— AlanC (@AlanC_69) January 12, 2020
Key Talking Point
It's hard to believe this is the same Watford side who were so utterly abysmal for the first half of the season, such has been the excellent work of Nigel Pearson. The former Foxes boss has made the Hornets a well-organised, hard-working outfit and to do so in such a short space of time is commendable.
Furthermore, the tactical tweaks have paid off and the new pressing game he's installed is causing sides problems high up the pitch. He's managed to get the best out of record signing Sarr, among others, and at the moment there is absolutely nothing to suggest this Watford side will be anywhere near the bottom three come August.
They brushed aside the Cherries without ever looking troubled, both comfortable in defence and varied in attack. Balance is key in football, and Pearson's got that spot on.
Starting XI: Foster (7); Mariappa (7), Dawson (7), Cathcart (7); Masina (7); Capoue (8), Chalobah (7), Sarr (8), Doucoure (8*), Deulofeu (7); Deeney (8).
Substitutes: Pereyra (7), Quina (N/A), Gray (N/A).
One of the noticeable changes Pearson has made in Hertfordshire is a change of position for
He never gave the Cherries defence a moment's peace, constantly hounding them in possession and scoring his goal as a result of this in another fine showing.
Abdoulaye Doucouré's first 19 games of the Premier League season for Watford: 1 goal— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 12, 2020
Abdoulaye Doucouré's last two Premier League games for Watford: 2 goals
Back-to-back goals for the midfielder. pic.twitter.com/81gg5QK4ZF
doucoure is such an effective player.— E D (@officialdavies) January 12, 2020
#WatfordFC Three months ago, Doucoure’s first touch would have let him down. As Sarr rolled the ball to him, I knew he’d score.— Barry French (@Barry2103) January 12, 2020
The Cherries face another side languishing at the wrong end of the Premier League table next weekend, as they travel to Carrow Road to face Norwich.
For the Hornets, they're in FA Cup action next, as they bid for revenge in their third round replay against Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday having surrendered a three-goal lead in their first encounter.