10-Man Watford beat Villa, as Everton win again under Ancelotti
Nigel Pearson’s impact is becoming impressively clear at Watford, with the new manager guiding them to two wins in a week, having also presided over the 2-0 defeat of Manchester United before Christmas.
Watford is now within two points of 18th-placed Villa and having previously looked doomed for relegation, they have been revived under Pearson.
Everton is also enjoying something of an improvement, as they left St James’ Park with a 2-1 win over Newcastle United – Ancelotti’s early work seemingly getting a reaction out of the Toffees.
A tense first half at Vicarage Road remained goalless until just before the interval when Ezri Konsa’s error allowed Abdoulaye Doucoure to get a shot away and Troy Deeney converted on the rebound.
Villa was given a boost just before the hour when Mariappa was shown a second yellow card for appearing to catch Henri Lansbury late, though replays suggested contact was minimal.
But Watford got a second goal in the 67th minute – Deeney smashing in a penalty after he had been barged over by Douglas Luiz, and Ismaila Sarr finished Villa off 19 minutes from time.
Ancelotti is overseeing an improvement at Everton, who beat Newcastle to make it two wins from as many matches under the Italian.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin got himself a brace either side of Fabian Schar’s strike, allowing the Toffees to move above their hosts in the table and up to 10th.
Brighton and Hove Albion went into Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth having not won any of their previous four matches in the Premier League.
But it did not take them long to establish control against the Cherries – Alireza Jahanbakhsh putting them in front within three minutes by lashing into the bottom-right corner, finally opening his account for the club more than a year after costing a reported £17million.
Brighton thought they had sealed the win just before the hour when Dan Burn slammed home, only for a VAR review to adjudge him to be offside by a shoulder.
But Aaron Mooy did wrap up the victory 12 minutes from time in style, bringing down Leandro Trossard’s cross, cleverly beating a defender and coolly slotting home.
Brighton’s win moved them above Southampton, who could only salvage a 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace, Danny Ings cancelling out James Tomkins’ header with 16 minutes to go.