IF Swansea do get relegated then they will look back on games such as today as a huge missed opportunity.
There was little to choose between the Welsh side and the Hornets but a moment of defensive naivety sealed Paul Clement’s men’s fate.
In the 42nd minute, Etienne Capoue dispossessed Alfie Mawson and ran through on goal.
Lukasz Fabianski made an impressive save, but the ball dropped for the Frenchman who tapped home at the second attempt.
There were plenty of chances for both teams in the first half with Gylfi Sigurdsson forcing two good saves from Heurelho Gomes and Troy Deeney working Lukas Fabianski at the other end.
And in the second half, Swansea started to gain the upper hand and looked a lot better than fellow strugglers Sunderland did at Vicarage Road two weeks ago.
Although Watford’s margin of victory could have been greater, but Stefano Okaka’s overhead kick was disallowed after the Italian strayed fractionally offside.
The Hornets somehow saw out four minutes of stoppage time to secure a win they scarcely deserved after Sigurdsson missed two late sitters.
STATS, FACTS, GOALS & LOLS
1. Having made up with manager Walter Mazzarri after only being used as a substitute in the defeat against Spurs, Troy Deeney was back in the starting line-up. He made an impact within the first 30 minutes coming close to opening the scoring, having netted four goals in his previous four home games.
2. The Hornets were also boosted by the return of Sebastian Prodl from injury.
3. Swansea missed skipper Jack Cork, who sprained his ankle during the defeat by West Ham last weekend.
4. The Swans top scorer Fernando Llorente – another number nine like Deeney – was also recalled to the starting line-up himself after being on the bench agaomst the Hammers and almost nodded the ball into the back of the net in the opening minutes.
5. Premier League survival still looks tricky for Swansea. Their honeymoon period under Paul Clement has subsided after an initial bounce. They haven’t won in six games. It looks grim.
6. The Hornets’ home form has kept them out of trouble. They have have won four and drawn one of their past six league games at Vicarage Road.
7. Swansea have lost their past six games on the road.
8. Swansea haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last 16 Premier League away games.
9. Paul Clement became the fourth different Swansea manager to face Watford in as many Premier League meetings – Garry Monk, Alan Curtis and Bob Bradley were the three previous incumbents.
10. Etienne Capoue broke the deadlock on the 42nd minute – his first goal for Watford in 19 games.
Next five fixtures
Apr 22 – Hull (A) – PL
May 1 – Liverpool (H) – PL
May 6 – Leicester (A) – PL
May 12 – Everton (A) – PL
May 15 – Chelsea (A) – PL
Apr 22 – Stoke (H) – PL
Apr 30 – Man United (A) – PL
May 6 – Everton (H) – PL
May 13 – Sunderland (A) – PL
May 21 – West Brom (H) – PL
WATFORD: Gomes 7, Janmaat 7, Prödl 7, Mariappa 7, Holebas 7, Capoue 7, Doucoure 7, Cleverley 6 (Behrami 89, 6), Amrabat 6 (Kabasele 64, 6), Deeney 7, Niang 7 (Okaka 78, 6)
Subs not used: Pantilimon, Mason, Success
Goals: Capoue 42′
SWANSEA: Fabianski 7, Naughton 7, Fernandez 7, Mawson 6, Olsson 6, Ki 6, Fer 6, Fulton 6 (Carroll 67, 6), Sigurdsson 7, Narsingh 6 (Baston 58, 6), Llorente 5 (Ayew 81, 6)
Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Kingsley, Routledge, van der Hoorn
STAR MAN: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea)
Watford manager Walter Mazzari said: “We knew it was going to be a very tough game. We could have killed the game off but we didn’t and we had to suffer until the end.
“It is normal that when a new manager comes, he has to give his identity to the team and it takes a bit of time. Now the squad are playing good football.
“Until the numbers say we are safe, we are not. I don’t want my players to relax and I want to play with the same formation in order to get ready for next season.”
Swansea boss Paul Clement said: “I think we did enough defensively. The goal has come for an individual error and Alfie [Mawson] knew that straight away. It’s a big mistake.
“Offensively we got the ball into some good areas but we were missing a clinical edge in the final third. That for me was the difference.
“We had over 45 minutes to try and get out of that situation but we couldn’t get the breakthrough.
“Hull not winning today keeps things the same but for me it’s a missed opportunity not to get a point today.
“The next one is a must-win game for us. It’s the biggest game the club has had in years.
“We will probably need three wins out of the last five to stay up. And I’m not even sure that would be enough.”