Danny Ings pulled to within one goal of the Premier League lead after scoring a brace in Southampton’s 3-1 defeat of Watford on Sunday.

Ings’ 18 goals are one back of Jamie Vardy and one more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah.

A Jan Bednarek own goal gave Watford 10 minutes to tie the match, but James Ward-Prowse’s pristine free kick restored the 2-goal lead within minutes.

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The match started with inauspicious news, Watford omitted three players for “health reasons” after reports of a 20-person party at Andre Gray’s house attended by Domingos Quina and Nathaniel Chalobah.

Southampton moves 13th with 40 points, while Watford’s 28 remain just one point above the drop zone.

1. Gold-Ings boot (TM): Ings’ first goal was wonderful and his second aided by Watford, but there’s no denying that he’s firmly in the Golden Boot race with six matches to play. None of his 18 league goals this season have come from the spot and it would be a wonderful story if his injury-riddled years at Liverpool give way to etching his name in PL lore in the same season the Reds finally lift the Premier League trophy.

2. Ward-Prowse delivers the goods: There are few players in England more deadly standing over a free kick, and even fewer as overlooked or unknown as Ward-Prowse. The Southampton captain’s late goal was a marvelous, powerful, dipping bit of goodness.

3. Watford’s path very clear: The Hornets will have wanted all the points here, but it’s clear that a 9-day span will define their season. After meeting Chelsea next, Watford meets Norwich City, Newcastle, and West Ham between July 7-15. When you consider the season concludes with Man City and Arsenal, the Hornets need to get their act together now. No more parties, gents.

It’s gotta be Ings, doesn’t it?

10 – Danny Ings has become the first player to score 10 away goals in the Premier League this season. Indeed, Ings is the first Southampton player to hit double figures on the road in a single top-flight campaign since @mattletiss7 in 1993-94 (12). Starring. #WATSOU

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 28, 2020

Danny Ings set up Shane Long for a 15th-minute shot that was driven well but right at Ben Foster.

Ings’ first goal was a beauty, the Golden Boot-chaser dribbling to the center of the box and stroking a sweet strike inside the post.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

His second was most certainly the product of a decent effort from him and a poor one from Ben Foster.

Bednarek was under pressure from Danny Welbeck when he redirected a cross into his own goal, but Ward-Prowse answered with vigor.

Che Adams nearly made it 4-1 late but Ben Foster was on the case.

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