Miguel Britos’ first Watford goal was enough to give the Hornets a first Premier League win since the start of February with victory over Sunderland.

The Uruguayan’s header on the hour ended a resolute resistance from Black Cats keeper Jordan Pickford, who denied the Hornets greater reward than their 1-0 winning margin with a string of fine saves.

Victory briefly took Watford up to 10th before a 0-0 draw between Southampton and Bournemouth, in the day’s late kick-off, saw both club’s leapfrog Walter Mazzarri’s side.

Still, a day in which the hosts created plenty of chances was welcome, even if some of the finishing left a little to be desired.

Without Troy Deeney, who remained an unused sub after suffering with illness during the international break, Watford still managed to force a potentially vital result to remain seven points clear of the drop zone.

Here’s how Watford’s players rated against the Black Cats.

Heurelho Gomes – 6.5

Captain for the day and dealt with what precious little Sunderland offered with ease and commanded his area well. A good late save from Fabio Borrini’s drive was the highlight of a quiet day at the office for the Brazilian.

Craig Cathcart – 6

Started at right-back for the second game running before moving centrally to cover for the injured Kaboul. Familiarity favoured the Northern Irishman and he looked far more comfortable in his natural position.

Younes Kaboul (replaced by Janmaat 42) – 6.5  

Looked solid while he was involved before a hamstring injury ended his day before the interval.

Watford Observer:

Miguel Britos – 8

Far more assured in the centre of defence after a below-par display at left-back against Crystal Palace last time out. Marked a strong defensive display with the vital winning goal, heading home from close-range for his maiden Hornets strike.

Jose Holebas - 7

Reinstated in the Watford defence and provided a threat going forward, both from open play and set pieces. Claimed an assist after rising high to head across goal for the Watford winner. Unlucky not to score with a long-range effort.

Abdoulaye Doucouré - 7

Drew a fine low save from Jordan Pickford early on with a left footed drive which looked destined for the bottom corner. Provided energy in the centre of the pitch, on a day when his passing was found wanting at points.

Tom Cleverley - 7

A quiet day for a player who agreed a five-year contract at Vicarage Road, which will be completed on July 1, this week. Tidy in possession, however, and provided the corner which ultimately yielded the game’s only goal.

Etienne Capoue – 6.5

A vast improvement on recent displays from the Frenchman. Linked up play nicely and went close to scoring in spectacular fashion with a curling effort from distance.

Watford Observer:

Nordin Amrabat (replaced by Success 53) – 7

Making his first start since January 1, the winger provided Watford’s main attacking outlet as he looked to run at the Sunderland defence. combined well with the Hornets front three and Watford fans will be delighted to see the number seven back in action.

Stefano Okaka – 7.5

Selected to lead the line in Troy Deeney’s absence, the burly striker wasted a presentable chance after 20 minutes, heading over from 10 yards after being picked out by Capoue’s fine cross. Impressed with his hold up play and should have had an assist after playing Success through on a day when he led the line with genuine quality.

M’Baye Niang (replaced by Zuniga 83) – 7 

Showcased his skill with an early burst down the right wing and forced Pickford into a fine save low to his left in the 11th minute. Went close again before the half-time break, but again found Pickford in his way as he saved at his near post. Constantly looked to trouble the Sunderland back four with his direct approach.


Daryl Janmaat (replaced Kaboul 42) – 6

Provided greater attacking threat down the right than Cathcart had been able to prior to the Dutchman’s introduction.

Isaac Success (replaced Amrabat 53) – 5.5

Wasted a golden chance to double the Watford lead when a heavy touch allowed Pickford to narrow the angle and deny him when through on goal. Sloppy in possession and failed to grasp a genuine opportunity to stake a claim for more minutes.

Watford Observer:

Camillo Zuniga (replaced Niang 83) N/A

Given too little time to make a telling impact.