It was an ugly first half for the Saints, who conceded a ninth minute goal to Watford via Ettiene Capoue. Saints had several turnovers, seemed sluggish, and could not seem to provide any attack whatsoever.
Claude Puel's debut almost got off to a rocketing start when Dusan Tadic sent in a low-free kick that was screaming for the bottom corner. Gomes, Watford's keeper, parried it away towards Shane Long who couldn't quite get a good kick on it.
From there, Saints looked lively until Capoue found the opener in the 9th minute. Failure to clear a ball in the box haunted the defense, and Capoue was left alone in the box to fire a shot home.
Saints looked lifeless throughout the first 35 minutes. In the final minutes of the half, they started to gel. Passes were being completed, chances created. Southampton looked like a football team! Late in the half, James Ward-Prowse found space in the box and laid the ball off into the middle, finding no one.
The half came and went without changes or any more goals and Watford were up 1-0 until Nathan Redmond struck gold in the 58th minute. Gomes could not clear a Steven Davis corner as far as he would've liked, and the ball dropped to Nathan Redmond, who volleyed through two defenders and into the corner.
At 1-1, Saints were dominating. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg came on and the game completely changed. The midfield looked more dynamic, and almost overpowering against Watford. Watford were reduced to ten men after a last-ditch tackle from Ben Watson on Shane Long, who would've been through on goal.
Southampton kept the pressure up, but just couldn't find a winner.
Overall, the new signings were very impressive, and towards the latter stages of the match, Saints seemed to really begin to come into their own under this new formation and system.
Overall Team Match Rating: 6/10. A tough start, but finally came to form late. They really should've won that match, but there are a lot of bright spots heading into next week.
Man of the Match: Dusan Tadic. Tadic looks like he will thrive in the new system, and as I wrote in the season preview, could play a huge part in any Saints success this season.
Up the Saints! More to come from our team this weekend.