A brilliant defensive effort helped Sunderland beat Watford to climb off the bottom off the Premier League just in time for Christmas.
Left-back Patrick van Aanholt scored the only goal of the game, a scrappy effort on 49 minutes.
However, it was Sunderland’s central defenders who really stole the show.
Papy Djilobodji and Lamine Kone were outstanding at the heart of the Black Cats backline, winning the vast majority of their headers and creating a virtual brick wall.
When that wall was breached, which it wasn’t very often, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was on hard to continue his fine season.
Victor Anichebe was again Sunderland’s best attacker and his hold-up play helped take some pressure of the superb defence.
Watford will want to forget this game swiftly. There best player was probably Jose Holebas – who touched the ball 88 times and created two decent shooting opportunities for his teammates, as well as trying his luck – without success – himself.
Sunderland player ratings
Pickford 8, Love 7, Van Aanholt 8, Djilobodji 9, Kone 9, Denayer 7, Ndong 8, Borini 6, Januzaj 6, Anichebe 7, Defoe 6.
Watford player ratings
Gomes 6, Kaboul 5, Prodi 6, Britos, Holebas 7, Amrabat 6, Behrami 5, Capoue 6, Zuniga 5, Deeney 6, Ighalo 6.
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