Super Eagles forward Odion Ighalo extended his season’s tally to eight in 14 league games as Watford condemned bottom placed Aston Villa to their 11th defeat of the season.
The Nigerian international poked home to give the visitors the lead, but Micah Richards’ header brought the home side back on level terms before half-time.
The Hornets lost goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to a head injury, but Alan Hutton’s own goal and Troy Deeney’s bullet header put Quique Flores’ men in control.
Jordan Ayew’s shot found the corner to give Villa hope but they could not equalize in 10 minutes of injury time.
The result means Aston Villa, on five points, have equaled the league record for the lowest points tally after 14 matches of a season. No Premier League team has ever avoided relegation having accumulated five points or fewer after 13 games.
Watford, meanwhile climb to 11th, nine points above the relegation zone and five off the European places.