Leeds United put their relegation fears behind them after condemning fellow strugglers Watford to a 3-0 defeat at Vicarage Road. The ‘Hornets’ have now lost nine consecutive Premier League (PL) home games, remaining six points adrift of safety.
Everton’s victory over Manchester United cranked up the pressure on Watford for this huge clash against relegation rivals Leeds. Imran Louza nearly gave the hosts the perfect start, as his free-kick drifted inches wide of the post, leaving Illan Meslier motionless between the posts.
No PL team has conceded the opener more often than Watford this season and that dismal run was extended as Raphinha silenced Vicarage Road. Daniel James did well to turn the ball over inside the Watford half with his challenge landing at the Brazilian’s feet. After appearing to set the ball out towards the far corner, Raphinha fired at the near post, completely wrong-footing Ben Foster and finding the corner. A first league goal since February gave Jesse Marsch’s side a deserved lead after the visitors had dominated the ball throughout the first half.
Roy Hodgson’s men faced a crucial 45 minutes in their battle for survival. So often their most dangerous player, Ismaïla Sarr squandered an enormous chance to level the scoreline on the hour mark. The Senegalese winger was in glorious isolation inside the box, but failed to compose himself and blazed his close-range effort high and wide. Another defensive blunder from Watford allowed Leeds to double their lead 17 minutes from time. Hassane Kamara and Samir made an absolute mess of dealing with the ball, allowing Rodrigo Moreno to steal in and claim his sixth goal of the season.
Jack Harrison added a third in the closing stages, driving a gorgeous effort beyond Foster into the far corner. A seventh PL strike of 2022 means only Harry Kane has scored more than the Leeds winger since the turn of the year. Yet another defeat leaves Watford staring down the barrel of an immediate return to the Championship, with no team in the PL suffering more losses than their 21 this term. Meanwhile, a third win from their last four games has lifted Leeds away from the relegation dogfight, after keeping a first clean sheet in the last 10 trips away from Elland Road.