Watford are currently on course for just their third win in 18 matches as they lead Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 at half time.
Ikechi Anya scored the game’s only goal so far in the 13th minute with a low shot from ten yards out.
The Hornets made four changes to their starting XI and reverted to the 3-5-2 formation they had been using prior to the Manchester City FA Cup tie.
Daniel Tozser was the only new signing in the XI but Samba Diakite and Park Chu-Young were on the bench.
The opening ten minutes was uneventful but a minute after Fernando Forestieri had a shot from distance saved, Alexander Merkel passed to Anya just inside the area and he sent a low drive into the far, bottom corner from ten yards out.
The Golden Boys enjoyed more possession and a better attacking threat after the goal and Anya again tried his luck, but this time from 20 yards and this time Tomasz Kuszczak saved.
Forestieri arguably should have scored a second, or at least brought out the best in Kuszczak, when he was picked out by Marco Cassetti but the forward’s first-time volley from eight yards was tame and easily saved.
The closest Albion came to scoring was when Manuel Almunia could only punch a cross to David Lopez and his half-volley was allowed to run wide by Fitz Hall.
Watford had shipped eight goals in their previous two games so Beppe Sannino would have been pleased with how comfortable his team were defensively for most of the first half.
The goal-mouth action dried up for a while but moments after Cristian Battocchio’s deflected shot from distance was saved, Kazenga LuaLua had a cross-shot hit the bar and then Lopez struck a volley into the side-netting.
Watford line-up: Almunia; Angella, Hall, Ekstrand; Cassetti, Tozser, Merkel, Battocchio, Anya; Deeney, Forestieri.
Subs: Bond, Bellerin, Doyley, Murray, Faraoni, Park, Diakite.
Brighton ine-up: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer, Upson, Ward; Andrews, Stephens, Forster-Caskey (LuaLua 40); David, Ulloa, Orlandi.
Subs: Brezovan, Calderon, Dunk, March, Rodriguez, Obika.
Follow the second-half action here.