Premier League
Sunderland1Watford0

Sunderland 1-0 Watford

Patrick van Aanholt (left) scores for Sunderland against Watford
Patrick van Aanholt (left) scores for Sunderland against Watford

Sunderland moved off the bottom of the Premier League and to within a point of safety with victory over Watford at the Stadium of Light.

Following a first half of few chances, Patrick van Aanholt scored the only goal of the game shortly after the break.

Adnan Januzaj slid a lovely ball to Jermain Defoe, whose low cross was touched by Van Aanholt, who then swivelled and shot in off the post from six yards.

Troy Deeney had a chance to equalise when he met a Nordin Amrabat cross, but his header flew wide.

Daryl Janmaat and Odion Ighalo also had late efforts for the visitors saved by keeper Jordan Pickford, as Watford slipped to a fourth defeat in five games.

Relive Sunderland v Watford

Follow reaction to Saturday's games

A rare clean sheet for Sunderland

Sunderland manager David Moyes had earmarked this as a must-win game in his side's quest to avoid relegation, and his players delivered a display built on determination and solid foundations.

The home side defended resolutely and, when their goal was threatened, Pickford made the necessary saves as the Black Cats kept only their second clean sheet of the season in the league.

Left-back Van Aanholt was key to the win, not only scoring but combining well with Victor Anichebe ahead of him, as 55.8% of Sunderland's attacking play came from their flank.

Van Aanholt went close at the end of the first half when he had a shot saved - when he appeared to be offside - before he was rewarded for his overlapping runs with his third goal of the season.

"It's a massive win for us," said Sunderland captain Defoe. "We've got to keep going now, keep our foot on the gas, as it's so tough down there."

Both sides predominantly attacked down the left side but it was Sunderland (left) who capitalised through Patrick van Aanholt
Both sides predominantly attacked down the left side but it was Sunderland (left) who capitalised through Van Aanholt

Deeney and Ighalo struggles continue

Watford strikers Deeney and Ighalo were key to their side's successes last season, and were reunited in attack from the start for this game.

However, their struggles continued and their lack of goals - they have five between them this season - looks to have dented their confidence.

Deeney has been stuck on 99 goals for the Hornets since 1 October, and when through on goal in the first half he misplaced a pass as he tried to square for Ighalo rather than shoot.

The pair had two shots between them, but Watford did have their chances - Amrabat having a shot tipped over by Pickford, and Miguel Britos heading wide from two yards.

Man of the match - Patrick van Aanholt

Patrick van Aanholt celebrates scoring for Sunderland against Watford
No defender has scored more Premier League goals since the start of last season than Patrick van Aanholt (seven)

What they said:

Sunderland manager David Moyes: "The players stuck at it, even though it got ugly at times.

"We were slow getting out the blocks and, to be fair to Watford, they started OK. We didn't press enough in the first half.

"Watford had a lot of set-pieces and we tightened it up with 10 minutes to go by bringing John O'Shea on. You never know if decisions like that are going to work. It did today.

"I told the players we had to win. It wasn't a great performance but it was a winning performance, which always hides a multitude of sins."

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Moyes relieved after 'must-win' result

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri: "We did everything ourselves and I'm very angry. We missed many chances in the first half and we gave them the goal easily.

"Sometimes you make mistakes but it's only our fault. We should have scored and we didn't. I've spoken with the guys, they know what they did, and we will have to sort it out.

"I'm concerned by the way we play. I was happy with the performance but if we don't take our chances, we won't get anywhere."

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Mazzarri 'very angry' at Watford defeat

Moyes does another Italian job

  • David Moyes has won his past six Premier League home meetings against Italian managers - three against Roberto Mancini, one against Carlo Ancelotti, one against Claudio Ranieri and one against Walter Mazzarri.
  • Six of Patrick van Aanholt's seven top-flight goals for the Black Cats have come at home.
  • Watford have now gone six Premier League games without a clean sheet after keeping three in a row, which were their only shut-outs in their past 22 top-flight games.
  • Watford have failed to score in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since last March (three in a row then).
  • Watford have lost five of their six league trips to the Stadium of Light (W1 D0 L5).

What next?

Watford will get the Premier League action under way on Boxing Day when they host Crystal Palace on Monday, 26 December at 12:30 GMT. Sunderland manager David Moyes takes his side to former club Manchester United for a 15:00 GMT kick-off on the same day.

Line-ups

Sunderland

  • 13Pickford
  • 22LoveSubstituted forLarssonat 88'minutes
  • 23Koné
  • 5Djilobodji
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 17Ndong
  • 4Denayer
  • 9BoriniSubstituted forKhazriat 90+5'minutes
  • 44JanuzajBooked at 36minsSubstituted forO'Sheaat 80'minutes
  • 28Anichebe
  • 18Defoe

Substitutes

  • 1Mannone
  • 7Larsson
  • 10Khazri
  • 16O'Shea
  • 25Robson
  • 29Asoro
  • 39Honeyman

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 4KaboulBooked at 75minsSubstituted forJanmaatat 78'minutes
  • 5PrödlSubstituted forKabaseleat 31'minutes
  • 3Britos
  • 25Holebas
  • 7N Amrabat
  • 11BehramiBooked at 45mins
  • 29Capoue
  • 18ZuñigaSubstituted forSuccessat 56'minutes
  • 24Ighalo
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 10Success
  • 15Cathcart
  • 17Guédioura
  • 19Sinclair
  • 22Janmaat
  • 27Kabasele
  • 30Pantilimon
Referee:
Robert Madley
Attendance:
40,267

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home11
Away10
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away11
Fouls
Home10
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Sunderland 1, Watford 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Sunderland 1, Watford 0.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Wahbi Khazri replaces Fabio Borini.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Didier Ndong.

Attempt missed. José Holebas (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Hand ball by Papy Djilobodji (Sunderland).

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Sebastian Larsson replaces Donald Love.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Donald Love (Sunderland) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Odion Ighalo (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Troy Deeney with a headed pass.

Attempt saved. Daryl Janmaat (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Papy Djilobodji.

Foul by Christian Kabasele (Watford).

Victor Anichebe (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Fabio Borini.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by John O'Shea.

Attempt blocked. José Holebas (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Isaac Success.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. John O'Shea replaces Adnan Januzaj.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Daryl Janmaat replaces Younes Kaboul.

Booking

Younes Kaboul (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Younes Kaboul (Watford).

Adnan Januzaj (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Christian Kabasele (Watford).

Victor Anichebe (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Nordin Amrabat with a cross.

Foul by Miguel Britos (Watford).

Papy Djilobodji (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Papy Djilobodji.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Younes Kaboul.

Attempt blocked. Lamine Koné (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adnan Januzaj with a cross.

Foul by Isaac Success (Watford).

Didier Ndong (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Victor Anichebe (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jermain Defoe.

Attempt missed. Nordin Amrabat (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Etienne Capoue with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Didier Ndong.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Donald Love (Sunderland) because of an injury.

Isaac Success (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea17141235112443
2Liverpool16104240202034
3Arsenal16104237172034
4Man City16103334191533
5Tottenham1686227111630
6Man Utd178632417730
7West Brom176562321223
8Everton166552120123
9Southampton165651415-121
10Bournemouth166372225-321
11Stoke175661924-521
12Watford176382129-821
13West Ham175481931-1219
14Middlesbrough174671619-318
15Leicester174582329-617
16Burnley165291526-1117
17Crystal Palace1743102832-415
18Sunderland1742111528-1314
19Swansea1733112037-1712
20Hull1733111436-2212
View full Premier League table

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