• Odion Ighalo scored his eighth Premier League goal of the season to give Watford a 17th-minute lead at Villa Park
  • Micah Richards scored his first goal in four years and Aston Villa‘s fourth goal at home all season after a set-piece 
  • Heurelho Gomes was taken off in a neck brace after being clattered in the head by his own man Craig Cathcart 
  • Alan Hutton scored an own goal after 69 minutes to give Quique Sanchez Flores’ side the lead again
  • Troy Deeney then capitalised on uncertainty from Ciaran Clark to head in a third with five minutes remaining 
  • Ighalo and Deeney responsible for 12 of the 15 goals Hornets have scored in the Premier League this season
  • Villa forward Jordan Ayew curled an effort beyond Giedrius Arlauskis after 89 minutes to set up a frantic finale
  • But Watford held on and move up to 11th while Villa are seven points adrift at the foot of the Premier League 
  • No Premier League team has ever survived having accumulated five points or fewer after 13 games to a season 

Chris Wheeler for MailOnline

Just when Remi Garde thought it couldn’t get any worse, boyhood Birmingham fan Troy Deeney emerged as the match winner to plunge Aston Villa even deeper into relegation trouble.

Only three other teams in Premier League history – QPR, Sunderland and Swindon – have taken only five points from their opening 14 games. They all went down, which is the threat looming even larger over Villa after their 13th league game without a win, a new club record. And just to rub salt into the wounds, it was the man with the Birmingham City tattoo on his calf who scored the decisive goal in the 85th minute. 

Deeney, who once failed a trial at Villa, was booked for his over-exuberant celebrations but the Watford skipper could still not resist taunting the home fans at the final whistle.

Troy Deeney slides in delight after putting his side 3-1 in front against Aston Villa in an entertaining game at Villa Park on Saturday

Troy Deeney slides in delight after putting his side 3-1 in front against Aston Villa in an entertaining game at Villa Park on Saturday

Alan Hutton attempts to prevent the ball from reaching Odion Ighalo but he could only direct the ball passed Brad Guzan at Villa Park

Alan Hutton attempts to prevent the ball from reaching Odion Ighalo but he could only direct the ball passed Brad Guzan at Villa Park

Micah Richards celebrates his first goal for Aston Villa with a header that drew his side level before half-time against Watford on Saturday

Micah Richards celebrates his first goal for Aston Villa with a header that drew his side level before half-time against Watford on Saturday

‘I can’t explain how good that was,’ said the Watford captain. ‘Their fans gave me stick all the way through, which lets me know I’m doing something right.

‘It’s football, we get caught up in the emotion and I don’t think I offended anyone. You should have heard what the crowd were saying to me. But I’m thick skinned and can take it – I’m more interested in taking three points.’

No wonder Garde stood forlornly at the final whistle, hands stuffed in his pockets, staring into the distance. The new Villa boss has just one point from his first three games in charge at the end of a week in which he dumped gifted midfielder Jack Grealish in the Under-21s for going out nightclubbing after the defeat to Everton.

Garde highlighted Villa’s woeful defending and it was certainly the case for Watford’s opening goal in the 17th minute.

Former Manchester City defender Richards leaps to direct the ball with his head beyond the rooted Heurelho Gomes after 41 minutes

Former Manchester City defender Richards leaps to direct the ball with his head beyond the rooted Heurelho Gomes after 41 minutes

Hornets manager Quique Flores looks to offer his side instructions from the sidelines in an attempt to galvanise them in the first-half

Hornets manager Quique Flores looks to offer his side instructions from the sidelines in an attempt to galvanise them in the first-half

26-year-old striker Odion Ighalo looks to the skies after giving Watford the lead after 17 minutes of the contest with a well-taken finish

26-year-old striker Odion Ighalo looks to the skies after giving Watford the lead after 17 minutes of the contest with a well-taken finish

Nigerian striker Ighalo was left unmarked to pounce and score his eight goal in the Premier League this season against the Villains

Nigerian striker Ighalo was left unmarked to pounce and score his eight goal in the Premier League this season against the Villains

MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE FROM VILLA PARK

 

ASTON VILLA (4-3-3): Guzan 5; Hutton 5, Richards 6.5, Clark 6, Richardson 5; Veretout 6, Sanchez 5, Gueye 6 (Gestede 82); Gil 6.5 (Traore 68, 6.5), Ayew 7, Sinclair 5.5. 

Subs: Bunn, Okore, Bacuna, Westwood, Lescott.

Scorers: Richards 41, Ayew 89

Booked: Clark, Sanchez

WATFORD (4-2-3-1): Gomes 6 (Arlauskis 67, 5.5); Nyom 6, Cathcart 5, Britos 5.5, Ake 6; Capoue 6, Watson 6; Paredes 5 (Anya 67, 6.5), Deeney 7, Abdi 6 (Guedioura 81); Ighalo 7.5. 

Subs: Jurado, Ibarbo, Berghuis, Diamanti.

Scorers: Ighalo 17, Hutton og 69

Booked: Watson, Capoue, Deeney

Referee: Lee Mason 7

Star man: Odion Ighalo

Attendance: 35,057 

Here's how Villa made a hash of clearing the ball for Watford's first goal - click here for more of our brilliant Match Zone

Here’s how Villa made a hash of clearing the ball for Watford’s first goal – click here for more of our brilliant Match Zone

They had several chances to clear the danger after Brad Guzan saved from Odion Ighalo before Ben Watson’s shot was deflected into the path of Ighalo who seized his second opportunity by touching the ball past Guzan.

Villa went close on numerous occasions in a frantic first half before captain Micah Richards headed them level four minutes before the interval, rising unmarked to meet Jordan Veretout’s freekick after Watson had taken down Alan Hutton.

Richards’s wild celebrations were mirrored by those in the stands as the Villa fans sensed their first league win since the opening day of the season. 

Richards rises above Craig Cathcart to head the ball across goal to bring Villa level with four minutes of the first-half remaining

Richards rises above Craig Cathcart to head the ball across goal to bring Villa level with four minutes of the first-half remaining

Jordan Ayew swivels and shoots in the six-yard box but Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was on hand to parry the Ghanaian's effort

Jordan Ayew swivels and shoots in the six-yard box but Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was on hand to parry the Ghanaian’s effort

Ayew looks dejected after missing a chance to score in the opening 45 minutes as the hosts took the game to their opponents

Ayew looks dejected after missing a chance to score in the opening 45 minutes as the hosts took the game to their opponents

Watford then suffered another blow when keeper Heurelho Gomes was carried off with a neck injury in the second half, bringing a rather jittery Giedrius Arlauskis off the bench for his Premier League debut.

But it was the visitors who regained the lead in painful circumstances for Hutton who tried to prevent Ighalo from latching onto Deeney’s throughball and succeeded only in prodding it into his own net.

Hutton was partly at fault for Watford’s third as well when he conceded possession just outside his own box.

The ball was played to Ighalo whose shot cannoned off Richards before looping up in the air, and there was Deeney leaping above a static Villa defence to head past Guzan. 

Watford's Almen Abdi and Aston Villa's Alan Hutton compete for the ball in a damp first-half in which both sides cancelled each other out

Watford’s Almen Abdi and Aston Villa’s Alan Hutton compete for the ball in a damp first-half in which both sides cancelled each other out

Jordan Veretout of Aston Villa and Almen Abdi of Watford compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match on Saturday

Jordan Veretout of Aston Villa and Almen Abdi of Watford compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match on Saturday

Remi Garde took charge of only his second Premier League game at Villa Park as his side went in search of a morale-boosting win

Remi Garde took charge of only his second Premier League game at Villa Park as his side went in search of a morale-boosting win

Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark is unable to connect with the ball at the far post as the home side look to pile pressure on the visitors

Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark is unable to connect with the ball at the far post as the home side look to pile pressure on the visitors

Troy Deeney added a third goal for Watford after 85 minutes in a frantic finale between both sides in an open game with Aston Villa

Jordan Ayew curled in an excellent second goal for Villa after turning on the edge of the box in the 89th minute but they could not avoid an 11th defeat in 13 league games despite 10 minutes of added time for Gomes’ injury.

Despite the gloomy statistics, however, Garde insists he can guide his new club to safety.

‘If we carry on this way it will be over, but I still believe that the way we played today I can’t say that we are dead,’ he said.

‘We obviously have a lack of confidence offensively and defensively which is tough and today we were not especially lucky. It’s painful for my players to have this result.’

Villa captain Richards keeps his eyes firmly on the ball with Watford striker Troy Deeney in close proximity in the second-half 

Villa captain Richards keeps his eyes firmly on the ball with Watford striker Troy Deeney in close proximity in the second-half 

Villa midfielder Idrissa Gueye looks to hold off Juan Carlos Paredes in a game high on intensity and not short of quality at Villa Park

Villa midfielder Idrissa Gueye looks to hold off Juan Carlos Paredes in a game high on intensity and not short of quality at Villa Park

Both sides looked in search of a winning goal in the second period with Nathan Ake making surging runs down the left-hand side

Both sides looked in search of a winning goal in the second period with Nathan Ake making surging runs down the left-hand side

Craig Cathcart clatters into Gomes and the Brazilian was replaced by Giedrius Arlauskis in the second-half following his head injury

Craig Cathcart clatters into Gomes and the Brazilian was replaced by Giedrius Arlauskis in the second-half following his head injury

Scotland defender Hutton could only direct his intervention passed his own goalkeeper as Villa were the architects of their own downfall

Scotland defender Hutton could only direct his intervention passed his own goalkeeper as Villa were the architects of their own downfall

 

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