A dour game with few clear-cut chances, but a 1-0 win over Swansea that all but seals Watford's place in the Premier League will be cause for celebration among the Hornets' faithful. Swansea, on the other hand, look doomed to the Championship after a limp and lacklustre display.
Despite a paucity of defensive options, Watford looked solid at the back, while the continued improvement and dominance of Abdoulaye Doucoure allowed for a more cohesive attacking threat. The Hornets are far from the finished article, but there are signs that this squad have the capability to finish the season strongly.
Swansea looked out of sorts throughout, yet Watford were unable to capitalise. The home side's goal was forced after a defensive lapse, but apart from an incredible close-range save from a first-half Troy Deeney effort, Lukasz Fabianski remained relatively untroubled in the Swansea goal.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Walter Mazzarri will perhaps be criticised for not being more attacking in his approach, but in truth his side did exactly what they had to do. In replacing Nordin Amrabat with Christian Kabasele, he nullified Swansea's change to two up front. While it wasn't necessarily exciting, it was effective.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Heurelho Gomes, 6 -- Made a smart early stop to deny Gylfi Sigurdsson from close range, but a weak punch a few moments later presented Swansea with a golden chance. Misjudged the flight of a free kick towards the end and looked uncharacteristically jittery.
DF Daryl Janmaat, 7 -- Was given licence to roam forward and made the most of the opportunity. Put Swansea on the back foot on a number of occasions and went close with a fierce drive early in the second half.
DF Sebastian Prodl, 7 -- Was back to his imperious best after a spell out due to injury. Looked composed throughout, dealing comfortably with balls in the air and on the ground. Formed a solid centre-back pairing with Adrian Mariappa.
DF Adrian Mariappa, 7 -- Put in another full-blooded performance. Like many of his teammates, he was guilty of the occasional wayward pass, but overall this was a great showing.
DF Jose Holebas, 7 -- Continues to turn in more disciplined and focused performances, with this another fine example. Carried out his defensive duties while also posing an attacking threat.
MF Etienne Capoue, 7 -- Was alert and strong enough to steal the ball from Alfie Mawson before firing home the only goal at the second attempt.
MF Abdoulaye Doucoure, 8 -- Put in a confident and dominant performance, taking charge of the midfield, marshalling his teammates and making himself available at every opportunity. An exciting and mature showing from the youngster.
MF Tom Cleverley, 6 -- Did not have his best performance, but put in a typically energetic shift. Never hides, is strong in the tackle and always on the lookout for an opportunity to start a move. Continues to look like a shrewd signing.
MF Nordin Amrabat, 6 -- Has struggled to deliver the performance levels he was turning in before being injured and looked somewhat off the pace here. Is prone to giving away free kicks when backing into opponents and continues to have problems with his final ball.
MF M'baye Niang 7 -- Continues to impress and was the catalyst for much of Watford's attacking threat. Quick-footed and strong, he embarked on a number of eye-catching runs while battling for possession when required. Swansea found him a handful throughout.
FW Troy Deeney, 6 -- Was unlucky not to get on the score sheet after forcing Fabianski into a superb save from close range on 25 minutes, which proved to be his only chance of note. Was workmanlike without being spectacular.
DF Christian Kabasele, 5 -- Replaced Amrabat just after the hour mark and played a part in completely nullifying any Swansea threat despite never looking totally at ease. A difficult afternoon.
FW Stefano Okaka, N/R -- Turned in a terrific 15-minute cameo after coming on for Niang and was slightly unlucky to see an acrobatic effort ruled out for offside. Held the ball up well and played a big part in seeing the game out.
MF Valon Behrami, N/R -- Was a last-minute replacement for Cleverley and patrolled the midfield for the final few moments.