Record signing Sebastien Haller scored twice as consigned Watford to a third consecutive defeat this term.

The French striker, who arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt in a deal worth up to £45m this summer, opened his account with a tap-in from Felipe Anderson’s cut-back.

And he then acrobatically turned the ball home with an overhead kick from three yards after following up from a corner.

Mark Noble’s third-minute penalty set on their way to their first win of the season after Manuel Lanzini had been fouled by Abdoulaye Doucoure.

But Watford responded to level with a well-worked Andre Gray goal, with the forward drilling home a right-foot shot from Will Hughes’ pass.

However the Hornets were punished for their wastefulness in front of goal with just three of their 23 shots on target.

Javi Gracia’s side, who sit bottom of the table, have now lost seven successive games in all competitions for the first time since 1999, while ’s victory sees them climb to 13th.

Reversal of fortunes for Watford

At the same stage last term Watford had collected nine points after an impressive start, but a pointless return this time around represents a complete reversal of fortune.

While they did at least register their first goal of the campaign, manager Gracia appears to have problems at both ends of the pitch to contend with.

Despite creating a multitude of opportunities, Gray’s 17th-minute strike was all they had to show for their endeavour.

Gerard Deulofeu’s iuence as a creator was a plus, but he cannot be relied upon to be the prolific forward the club need to improve on last term’s 11th-place finish.

The former man had seven shots on goal, with only a close-range strike that hit the crossbar finding the target.

It was a chance, alongside Will Hughes’ extraordinary miss from a yard out after Gray had squared the ball with the score at 1-1, that summed up the hosts’ lack of potency in attack.

At the other end, the presence of Haller, Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini provided too much power, pace and guile for the Watford defence to cope with.

Gracia’s side now face a challenging sequence of fixtures – with a home game against Arsenal sandwiched between trips to Newcastle and reigning champions – having shipped 41 goals in their last 18 matches.

Haller takes centre stage

Having arrived at after impressing at Utrecht and in the , there is a certain amount of expectation surrounding Haller.

But his first two goals and overall performance suggested that he has the attributes to justify his club record price tag.

The 25-year-old led the line in exemplary fashion and contributed to all three goals.

His work to chase down possession led to Lanzini winning the penalty that delivered their opener.

The former France Under-21 international then displayed his predatory instincts, holding his run to ensure he was well positioned to capitalise on Anderson’s break down the left.

That allowed him to comfortably claim his first goal for Manuel Pellegrini’s side before acrobatically doubling his tally.

Man of the match – Sebastien Haller ()

Sebastien Haller

‘It was an amusing game’ – what they said

Pellegrini speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “It was an amusing game of football because both teams play in an attacking way so were always trying to score.

“As a manager, the most important thing is to win but there are different ways to do it. The fans saw a very good game, a good show, and these are the games that bring people to the game.

“Mark [Noble] is a very important player for us, he is the captain of the team. My first idea was not to play him for 90 minutes but he was telling me he was OK.

“[Sebastien Haller’s] goals were two very important goals for him. Coming to the is not easy. He had just one start in a difficult game against Man City, for a striker the most important thing is to score. The game was open but I told the players it would be before the game. Both teams, especially in the first 45 minutes were very open in both boxes. The impact of [Michail] Antonio was decisive.”

Noble joins esteemed company – the stats

  • Watford have lost four league matches at home in a row for the first time since a run of five between October and December 2013 in the Championship.
  • are undefeated in their last four away matches in the , winning three of those (D1) – they’d lost seven of their previous eight (D1).
  • are the first club to have had as many as 150 different goal-scorers in the , following Haller’s first goal for the club.
  • Watford had more shots against (23) than they managed in their first two games of the season combined (19).
  • Watford’s Gray has scored 13 goals since his debut for the Hornets – only Troy Deeney has scored more in this period (14).
  • ’s Noble has scored five goals against Watford – more than he has netted against any other side in the league.
  • Noble has now scored 25 penalty goals in the – only Alan Shearer (56), Frank Lampard (43) and (32) have scored more in the competition.

What’s next?

Watford host Coventry in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday 27 August (19:45 BST) before they visit Newcastle in the on Saturday 31 August (15:00 BST).

visit Newport in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday 27 August (19:45 BST), before resuming their duties at home to Norwich on Saturday 31 August (15:00 BST).

Line-ups

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 21Femenía
  • 4Dawson
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25HolebasBooked at 63mins
  • 29Capoue
  • 16Doucouré
  • 19HughesSubstituted forSarrat 74′minutes
  • 8CleverleySubstituted forQuinaat 86′minutes
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forWelbeckat 74′minutes
  • 18Gray

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 2Janmaat
  • 10Welbeck
  • 14Chalobah
  • 20Quina
  • 23Sarr
  • 27Kabasele

  • 1Fabianski
  • 24Fredericks
  • 23Diop
  • 21OgbonnaBooked at 76mins
  • 26Masuaku
  • 41Rice
  • 16Noble
  • 7YarmolenkoSubstituted forAntonioat 55′minutes
  • 10LanziniSubstituted forC Sánchezat 88′minutes
  • 8Felipe AndersonSubstituted forFornalsat 78′minutes
  • 22Haller

Substitutes

  • 4Balbuena
  • 5Zabaleta
  • 13Jiménez
  • 15C Sánchez
  • 18Fornals
  • 27Ajeti
  • 30Antonio
Referee:
Chris Kavanagh
Attendance:
20,035

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway Team
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home23
Away16
Shots on Target
Home3
Away10
Corners
Home8
Away7
Fouls
Home12
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 1, United 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 1, United 3.

Domingos Quina (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Issa Diop ( United).

Foul by Domingos Quina (Watford).

Michail Antonio ( United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Etienne Capoue (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

(Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ryan Fredericks ( United).

Substitution

Substitution, United. Carlos Sánchez replaces Manuel Lanzini.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Domingos Quina replaces Tom Cleverley.

Attempt missed. Andre Gray (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Tom Cleverley with a headed pass following a corner.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Issa Diop.

Attempt missed. Arthur Masuaku ( United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Manuel Lanzini.

Attempt saved. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Cleverley.

Attempt blocked. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by .

Attempt saved. Pablo Fornals ( United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Michail Antonio with a cross.

Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sébastien Haller ( United).

Attempt missed. Tom Cleverley (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Corner, United. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Substitution

Substitution, United. Pablo Fornals replaces Felipe Anderson.

Ismaila Sarr (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Felipe Anderson ( United).

(Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. replaces Gerard Deulofeu.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Ismaila Sarr replaces Will Hughes.

Goal!

Goal! Watford 1, United 3. Sébastien Haller ( United) right footed shot from very close range to the top right corner following a corner.

Attempt saved. Michail Antonio ( United) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Manuel Lanzini with a cross.

Corner, United. Conceded by Craig Dawson.

Attempt saved. Michail Antonio ( United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Felipe Anderson with a cross.

Corner, United. Conceded by Etienne Capoue.

Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

Sébastien Haller ( United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt blocked. Felipe Anderson ( United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Arthur Masuaku.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Ryan Fredericks.

Attempt missed. Andre Gray (Watford) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu with a cross following a set piece situation.

Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

goal

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