Danny Ings scored twice as Southampton deservedly beat Watford, who remain in deep relegation trouble after another uninspired performance.
Ings curled home the opener from 20 yards from Will Smallbone’s pass.
And he blasted home a second – his 18th Premier League goal of the season – after controlling Ben Foster’s poor throw before surging towards the box.
Watford were bereft of ideas going forward and did not manage a single shot on target.
They did score when Jan Bednarek turned a cross into his own net – but their hope of a comeback was brief as three minutes later James Ward-Prowse’s brilliant free-kick settled the game.
Watford, who have only won once in their past 11 games in all competitions, remain one point above the bottom three.
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said his side were not “100% safe” before kick-off but they now move to 40 points, 13 clear of the bottom three, surely ending any tiny bit of doubt.
Watford need to improve – and quickly
Watford’s preparations for the game were not helped by the omission of Andre Gray, Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina, with the club saying it was “to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and officials”.
It came after Gray reportedly held a birthday party at his home, breaking coronavirus lockdown rules.
Watford have now earned six points from their past 10 league matches, having taken 13 points from their first six games under Nigel Pearson.
They could probably have played this game for another five hours without scoring a goal of their own.
The Hornets had one half-decent spell in the game – the opening 10 minutes of the second half when Troy Deeney shot over the bar.
The odd time they got in behind the Saints back four, their final ball was wrong.
The usually reliable Foster, making his 100th consecutive Premier League appearance, was totally at fault for the second – as his throw out went straight to in-form Ings.
The only way they were going to score was with a huge helping hand – and they got it when Bednarek turned home a cross from substitute Jose Holebas.
However, they conceded again soon afterwards to extinguish any hope of a recovery.
More to follow.