Watford 3 Southampton 4: Puel's men leapfrog Watford after comeback victory
Southampton came from behind to beat Watford 4-3 and leapfrog their opponents in the Premier League table.
The Saints put the memory of their EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United behind them with a fluent performance, and became only the second side to win at Vicarage Road in 2017.
Troy Deeney scored his fifth goal in six Premier League games to put Watford ahead, but the afternoon got worse thereafter for Walter Mazzarri's men.
Southampton's success was forged in their midfield, and Watford struggled to contain the industry and craft of James Ward-Prowse, Dusan Tadic and Nathan Redmond. Tadic scored his third goal of the season to level matters, before turning provider for Redmond to make it 2-1.
Stefano Okaka restored parity after 79 minutes, but Mazzarri's pre-match plea to his side to "stop sitting back" fell on deaf ears as an error by Heurelho Gomes allowed Manolo Gabbiadini to make it 3-2 before Redmond wrapped up the win with a solo run and finish, rendering Abdoulaye Doucoure's late consolation goal meaningless.
Deeney gave Watford an early lead with a goal he created and scored himself, playing a neat one-two with Okaka before side-footing a volley past the out-stretched Fraser Forster and into the corner of the net.
The Saints showed the quality that pushed United all the way in the EFL Cup final and Redmond danced through the Watford midfield before flashing a shot just wide and the scores were level after 27 minutes.
Tadic and Redmond passed their way into the box and, when Watford failed to clear their lines, the Serbian midfielder rifled a low shot beyond Gomes to make it 1-1.
3 - Nathan Redmond has now scored in three successive Premier League appearances against Watford & also has one assist. Thorn.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 4, 2017
The Watford goalkeeper then pulled off two excellent saves, but he could do nothing to stop Redmond giving Southampton the lead just before half-time after Tadic teed him up in the box for a low shot into the far corner of the net.
Gabbiadini went into the game hoping to become the first Southampton player to score in his first three Premier League appearances for the club, and he should have clinched the record when he ran across the face of goal early in the second half but failed to get his shot away before being dispossessed.
Gomes made a wonderful fingertip save to turn Tadic's half-volley over the crossbar after an hour, and the Brazilian goalkeeper kept Watford in the game again moments later with a reaction save from Maya Yoshida's close-range volley.
Tom Cleverley put Okaka through for a rare Watford chance with 15 minutes remaining and Forster saved the Italian striker's shot with his feet, but Southampton's resistance was eventually breached.
The introduction of Isaac Success seemed to galvanise Watford, and the substitute raced down the left wing before crossing to the feet of Okaka, who hit a first-time shot high into the net.
But Watford capitulated in the dying minutes of the game, with Gomes spilling Tadic's speculative shot at the feet of Gabbiadini to allow the Italian to score his sixth goal in his last four Southampton appearances in all competitions.
And three minutes later Sebastian Prodl backed off as Redmond dribbled into the box and chipped Gomes to wrap up a deserved victory even though Watford had the last word with Doucoure's close-range goal in injury time.