Warm Down: Watford take giant step to playing top flight football next season
WATFORD, ENGLAND - JULY 11: Troy Deeney of Watford scores his team's first goal from a penalty during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Newcastle United at Vicarage Road on July 11, 2020 in Watford, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Watford captain Troy Deeney led from the front yesterday as his two penalties gifted his side a huge three points at the battle of survival. 

It was a result that has moved them on the verge of securing their Premier League status, even if Aston Villa did pick up three points today.

For the Magpies, it is a relief they are already safe given their recent slump in form as their season has begun to fade.

They did see Dwight Gayle open the scoring from a Matt Ritchie corner that wasn't dealt with, and going into the break they looked assured of their lead.

But a second-half collapse that saw two penalties conceded ensured a miserable end to the afternoon for Steve Bruce - who described both fouls as "soft".

After Villa's victory today, the Hornets are four points clear off the drop zone with just three games left on the calendar. 

Captain Deeney leads by example

It wasn't Watford's most memorable first 45 minutes that they'd ever seen, nor was the second really. 

But it wasn't all about performance, it was all about the result and no doubt Nigel Pearson will have been satisfied with the spirit shown to turn the game around. 

Deeney revealed afterwards that his battle with an ongoing knee issue has threatened to halt his progress, but two opportunities from the penalty spot were never going to be passed by.

It was the fight and determination that has been largely missing from this Watford side post-lockdown, but six points from their last two outings will prove massive. 

United hoping not for their season to fizzle out 

It is no secret to anyone who has watched Bruce's side after the restart that they have become a difficult side to defend against, given their alteration to playing four at the back. 

The extra attacker has boosted them massively, but in the last week, they have looked jaded and void of ideas.

It's been an impressive few weeks for striker Gayle, whose three goals have glossed over a season left frustrated with injuries. 

Their level of performance they showed to climb over the 40 point mark was always going to be tough to sustain right until the final act of the season but no doubt Bruce will want a reaction.

With Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool still to host out of their final three outings, things aren't about to get much easier.

Saturday's result at the Vic is highly likely to be repeated again next season, but both sides will want to be sitting higher up the table when they meet again. 

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