- Van Aanholt's goal wins the game for Sunderland
- Watford unable to take their chances at the Stadium of Light
- Hornets drop to 12th in the Premier League
Watford fell to their second straight defeat in the Premier League today, as Patrick Van Aanholt's goal earned Sunderland a narrow victory at the Stadium of Light.
Van Aanholt struck off the post in a game that saw chances come and go for the Hornets, especially in a dominant first half an hour.
The Hornets started the game brightly and managed to test Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford early on with a well-struck volley on the edge of the box from Nordin Amrabat that was tipped over the bar by the Sunderland man.
Odion Ighalo came close to an opening goal as the ball was worked out wide to Jose Holebas who produced a teasing low cross into the box that Ighalo was unable to turn towards goal.
A dangerous Holebas free-kick was then met by the head of Miguel Britos who was unable to find the net from six-yards out.
In a similar situation to Wednesday night, Watford were again forced into an early change as Christian Kabasele replaced the injured Sebastian Prödl.
Sunderland opened Watford up at the back on the verge of half-time following a neat passing exchange that saw Patrick Van Aanholt try to beat Gomes down low at his near post but the Watford keeper was equal to the task and kept the shot out turning the ball behind for a corner.
The Black Cats broke the deadlock with a smart finish on the turn by Patrick Van Aanholt after the Watford defence couldn’t deal with a driven cross by Jermain Defoe.
Defoe’s influence in the game started to grow as the forward had his first attempt of the game cutting inside onto his right foot but the front man could only blast the ball well over the bar.
Following a fast start to the second half by the home side, Walter Mazzarri reacted by introducing Isaac Success to the game replacing Camilo Zuniga.
However it was Sunderland who continued to cause problems for Watford as a ball across the box from Januzaj found its way to Anichebe whose shot went narrowly wide of the Hornets' goal.
The Golden Boys looked for a way back into the match as Nordin Amrabat’s cross was met by the head of Deeney but the Golden Boys' skipper could only head wide from inside the 18-yard box.
Mazzarri made his final change of the day bringing Daryl Janmaat on in place of Younes Kaboul to add some extra width to the side's play.
The closing stages of the game saw Watford push for an equaliser as Daryl Janmaat pounced on a loose ball and drove the ball powerfully towards the Sunderland goal but Jordan Pickford blocked the shot
Moments later an Odion Ighalo volley was again stopped by Jordan Pickford in the Sunderland goal with the keeper able to gather the ball at the second attempt.
Despite late pressure the Hornets were unable to overcome the deficit and were left frustrated with nothing to show for their efforts.
The defeat leaves the Hornets in 12th position in the Premier League with Crystal Palace up next on Boxing Day.