Emmanuel Dennis’ late header gave Roy Hodgson his first goal and first win as Watford boss, and earned the Hornets a valuable win at Aston Villa.
Villa dominated proceedings but Watford grabbed all three points when Dennis powered home Ismaila Sarr’s 78th-minute cross after an opportunistic counter-attack.
It ended the visitors’ four-game goal drought and saw them move up to 18th in the table, four points from safety.
The defeat for Villa means Steven Gerrard’s side are now winless in seven of their past eight matches.
Incredibly, Watford’s last six Premier League away wins have now come under six different managers.
The Hornets’ managerial merry-go-round has been well reported, and new boss Hodgson already seemed under pressure coming into this fixture after collecting just one point from an available nine since taking charge in January.
As the game went on, Watford was on course to drop to the bottom of the league table with results going against them elsewhere and looked set to equal a club record of five consecutive games without a goal.
Nine Premier League wins for Roy Hodgson against Aston Villa – it’s his best record against any side he’s faced in the division.
Hodgson became the first manager to win a Premier League game against a specific opponent with six different clubs
The Hornets soaked up plenty of Villa pressure and twice went close through Dennis and Moussa Sissoko on the break.
Sarr, starting his first match since winning the Africa Cup of nations with Senegal, created the winner, chipping the ball up for Dennis to nod in.
The Hornets held on for their first victory in 12 matches, since beating Manchester United 4-1 in November.
Sloppy Villa slip to another defeat
Having started his reign at Aston Villa with four wins from six matches, Gerrard has now seen his side lose four of their past eight. The Villains are closer to the relegation zone than they are to a place in Europe.
The hosts were the better side throughout and should have gone in front in the 34th minute when Danny Ings struck the base of the right post when clean through after a good move from Emi Buendia.
They continued to create half-chances, with Phillipe Coutinho curling a looping effort onto the roof of the net midway through the second half. But once they fell behind, the opportunities dried up.
Despite coming into this fixture as one of three teams to have scored in every home game this season, Villa failed to find a leveller, and stay 12th in the table.
They will face Brighton & Hove Albion next Saturday, while Watford will host Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
Source – BBCSport