Danny Ings struck a double and left Ben Foster red-faced as Southampton roared to a 3-1 win at relegation-threatened Watford.

Former England goalkeeper Foster was making his 100th consecutive Premier League appearance but blundered for Ings' second goal at Vicarage Road, before James Ward-Prowse wrapped up the points with an exquisite late free-kick.

Ings got Southampton's first goal in the 16th minute when he whipped a fine low shot beyond Foster from 20 yards, before netting again in the 70th minute after intercepting a throw from Foster and sending a low shot past the veteran via a slight deflection off Craig Dawson.

That took Ings to 18 league goals for the season, just one behind Golden Boot frontrunner Jamie Vardy.

A Jan Bednarek own goal briefly narrowed the gap after 79 minutes, but set-piece specialist Ward-Prowse scored in style three minutes later, whipping the ball over the home wall and leaving Foster standing, with Watford still 16th, just a point outside the drop zone.

Burnley bounced back from their mauling at the hands of Manchester City with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Watford on Thursday.

Sean Dyche's depleted side were thrashed 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium in their first outing since the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension to the Premier League season.

However, they picked up three points on their return to action at Turf Moor thanks to a 73rd-minute goal from Jay Rodriguez, who dived to reach Dwight McNeil's cross and flick a header beyond visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Watford had seen a headed effort from Troy Deeney cleared off the line with the game still scoreless but, having pegged back Leicester City to draw 1-1 at the weekend, were unable to summon up a late leveller on this occasion.

The defeat means the Hornets remain 16th in the table, just one point above the relegation zone. Burnley, meanwhile, are 11th.

Craig Dawson's acrobatic stoppage-time goal earned Watford a 1-1 Premier League draw against Leicester City as Ben Chilwell's late stunner was cancelled out. 

Saturday's contest at Vicarage Road was goalless until the final minute when Chilwell thrashed home a superb strike from just inside the box. 

But the Hornets, who beat runaway leaders Liverpool 3-0 in their previous home game, had the final say as Dawson slammed in a sideways scissor-kick from close range for his first Watford goal. 

Nigel Pearson's side now sit a point clear of the bottom three, with Brendan Rodgers' Foxes are six points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea. 

Ben Foster has agreed a new two-year contract with Premier League side Watford.

The former Manchester United and England goalkeeper's previous deal was due to expire at the end of the 2019-20 season.

But the renewal announcement on Tuesday means the 37-year-old is now contracted to the club until 2022.

Foster is in his second spell with Watford, who he re-joined from West Brom in 2018.

He spent two seasons with them on loan from United earlier in his career.

Foster has started each of Watford's 29 Premier League matches this season in their battle against relegation.

Nigel Pearson's team, who are 17th in the table, are scheduled to return to action at home against Leicester City on June 20.

Over three months after the ball was last kicked, the Premier League is set to restart on June 17.

There have been major doubts over whether the 2019-20 season could be finished amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the action is set to resume in less than three weeks - subject to government approval.

Liverpool were cruising their way to becoming champions of England for the first time in 30 years when the campaign was halted and are poised to lift the trophy behind closed doors.

There may be no title race to look forward to, but it is all to play for in the battle to stay up and European qualification is there for the taking.

We look at the season so far and what is to come in a hectic schedule, with all but four teams having nine matches to play.

 

What is the state of play?

leading the defending champions - who have a game in hand - by a mammoth 25 points.

Watford are the only side to have beaten the European champions, who have had the champagne on ice for months and may have to play higher profile matches at neutral venues.

Norwich City, Aston Villa and Bournemouth are in the relegation zone, with Watford, West Ham and Brighton and Hove Albion also in danger of being consigned to the drop.

Bottom side Norwich are six points adrift of Watford and West Ham, who are only out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Fifth place will be good enough for Champions League qualification if City fail to overturn a ban from the competition and several sides are in the hunt to play in Europe's premier club competition.

Third-placed Leicester City look to be heading for the Champions League, while Chelsea are fourth and three points ahead of Manchester United.

Six points separate seven clubs from United down to Crystal Palace, with Sheffield United the surprise package and one of the stories of the season in seventh place.

 

What have been the big controversies?

A two-year Champions League ban imposed on City by UEFA for allegedly breaching Financial Fair Play rules in February rocked Pep Guardiola's side.

City have appealed against the verdict and June 8-10 is when the case will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with concerns for Guardiola that he could lose key players if they are unsuccessful.

Tottenham's decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino came as a shock in November and the north-London club swiftly appointed Jose Mourinho as his successor.

It came as no surprise when Unai Emery was fired by Arsenal soon after Pochettino's departure, with the Gunners turning to Mikel Arteta to replace his fellow Spaniard.

 

Who had momentum before everything stopped?

United were on a roll before the hiatus, putting together an unbeaten run of 11 games in all competitions to stand well poised for a Champions League berth.

Arsenal had gone eight without defeat in the top flight, winning three in a row prior to the season being suspended, while Burnley had not lost in seven games to move up to 10th.

 

Which clubs have had it toughest during the COVID-19 months?

Liverpool and Tottenham were among the teams who were strongly criticised for using the government furlough scheme for non-playing staff and duly changed their mind.

Jack Grealish, Kyle Walker and Moise Kean were among the players who were caught flouting lockdown regulations.

Spurs and Arsenal players also hit the headlines for the wrong reasons for breaching social distancing rules.

The league was suspended after Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi contracted COVID-19, while three rounds of coronavirus testing at Premier League clubs in the past fortnight have returned 12 positive results.

Premier League clubs fearing a cancelled season could decide their fate away from the pitch can breathe a sigh of relief after it was confirmed the top flight is set to return on June 17.

The 20 clubs have either nine or 10 fixtures each still to complete and though the title race may have already nearly reached the finish line, there is plenty to be decided further down the table.

Here, we take a look at the crucial fixtures that will determine the title, European qualification and the battle to avoid relegation.

 

MD30: Tottenham v Manchester United

Scott McTominay's derby-settling winner against Manchester City had helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer build up plenty of goodwill back in March, but the United momentum has surely been halted by the lengthy break.

They have a tough assignment first up against a Tottenham side that will likely have Harry Kane back from injury.

Solskjaer, whose own squad is set to be boosted by Marcus Rashford's return, has a fine record against the 'big six', though, and a win here - against a club led by his predecessor Jose Mourinho - would boost United's top-four hopes and significantly damage their opponents'.

 

MD31: Liverpool v Crystal Palace

It is a matter of when, rather than if, the Reds wrap up their first top-flight title in three decades, with Liverpool needing just two more wins to guarantee they will be crowned champions.

Should City lose to Arsenal when the league resumes, Liverpool could seal the title across the road from Anfield with a win at Goodison Park.

But the likelihood is Klopp's side will face Palace - the team who helped derail their title bid in 2014 with the 3-3 'Crystanbul' draw - knowing victory would end their long wait for Premier League glory.

 

MD35: Sheffield United v Chelsea

Beyond Liverpool's imperious march to the title, the story of the 2019-20 Premier League season has been the Blades' magnificent campaign following promotion last term.

The top four is still a realistic possibility for Chris Wilder's side, particularly if they can win their game in hand against Aston Villa and close the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to two points, but they face a fight to qualify for the Europa League regardless.

They still have some tough fixtures left on the schedule, with Wolves, Everton and Tottenham their other three home games, but this contest against Frank Lampard's Blues will have a big say in their Europa League, or Champions League, chances.

 

MD35: Tottenham v Arsenal

Champions League regulars in recent seasons, there is a distinct possibility that neither Tottenham nor north London rivals Arsenal are even in Europe's second-tier competition next term.

Both are currently outside the top seven but within three points of Wolves and the Blades, who currently occupy the final two Europa League spots – presuming City's European ban stands.

This derby therefore has extra significance. The possibility of no European football in 2020-21 could also prompt Kane and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to seek pastures new when the transfer window reopens...

 

MD36: West Ham v Watford

The destination of the title may be a foregone conclusion but the battle to avoid the drop is far less clear.

Even Norwich City, six points adrift, will believe they can survive given they must still face West Ham, Brighton and Hove Albion and Watford.

Only goal difference currently separates West Ham and Watford from the bottom three and they meet in a pivotal contest towards the back end of the season.

 

MD38: West Ham v Aston Villa

The Hammers are no stranger to final-day drama - their draw with United in 1995 handed the title to Blackburn Rovers, while Carlos Tevez's winner at Old Trafford in 2007 helped ensure they stayed up.

David Moyes' men may need more heroics if the fight to avoid relegation goes to the wire.

Villa will begin the resumption in 19th place, two points behind West Ham, but with a game in hand. All eyes could be on London Stadium on the final day.

After what will have been a three-month absence, the Premier League is set to restart on June 17.

The first games following the coronavirus pandemic will see Manchester City take on Arsenal and Aston Villa play Sheffield United, before a full round of fixtures begins on June 19.

Liverpool are a maximum of two wins away from clinching a first title in 30 years, though they could secure the trophy against Everton at Goodison Park on matchday 30 if City lose their first match back against Arsenal.

There is also plenty to play for in the race for European qualification and the battle against the drop.

We look at the outstanding 92 games in the 2019-20 Premier League season.

Matchday 28

Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Arsenal

Matchday 30

Aston Villa v Chelsea
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal
Everton v Liverpool
Manchester City v Burnley
Newcastle United v Sheffield United
Norwich City v Southampton
Tottenham v Manchester United
Watford v Leicester City
West Ham v Wolves

Matchday 31

Burnley v Watford
Chelsea v Manchester City
Leicester City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Manchester United v Sheffield United
Newcastle United v Aston Villa
Norwich City v Everton
Southampton v Arsenal
Tottenham v West Ham
Wolves v Bournemouth

Matchday 32

Arsenal v Norwich City
Aston Villa v Wolves
Bournemouth v Newcastle United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United
Crystal Palace v Burnley
Everton v Leicester City
Manchester City v Liverpool
Sheffield United v Tottenham
Watford v Southampton
West Ham v Chelsea

Matchday 33

Burnley v Sheffield United
Chelsea v Watford
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Manchester United v Bournemouth
Newcastle United v West Ham
Norwich City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Southampton v Manchester City
Tottenham v Everton
Wolves v Arsenal

Matchday 34

Arsenal v Leicester City
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool
Bournemouth v Tottenham
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Everton v Southampton
Manchester City v Newcastle United
Sheffield United v Wolves
Watford v Norwich City
West Ham v Burnley

Matchday 35

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
Bournemouth v Leicester City
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester City
Liverpool v Burnley
Manchester United v Southampton
Norwich City v West Ham
Sheffield United v Chelsea
Tottenham v Arsenal
Watford v Newcastle United
Wolves v Everton

Matchday 36

Arsenal v Liverpool
Burnley v Wolves
Chelsea v Norwich City
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Everton v Aston Villa
Leicester City v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Bournemouth
Newcastle United v Tottenham
Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion
West Ham v Watford

Matchday 37

Aston Villa v Arsenal
Bournemouth v Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United
Liverpool v Chelsea
Manchester United v West Ham
Norwich City v Burnley
Sheffield United v Everton
Tottenham v Leicester City
Watford v Manchester City
Wolves v Crystal Palace

Matchday 38

Arsenal v Watford
Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion
Chelsea v Wolves
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Everton v Bournemouth
Leicester City v Manchester United
Manchester City v Norwich City
Newcastle United v Liverpool
Southampton v Sheffield United
West Ham v Aston Villa

The Premier League season is set to resume on June 17 with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved.

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches is then planned take place from June 19, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

All weekend games are set to kick-off at different times, with midweek matches taking place across Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday, June 17.

"But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

"Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. 

"The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.

"We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season."

It has been reported the Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the English top flight since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of most sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – confirmed a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

The Premier League season will resume on June 17, according to widespread reports, with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved..

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches will then take place the following weekend, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

The Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – is poised to confirm a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

Troy Deeney is expected to return to Watford training after holding positive talks with health officials.

The Hornets captain, though, detailed the significant abuse he had received after initially opting not to train when clubs were permitted to resume non-contact sessions.

Deeney, 31, had concerns over the health of his son – who has breathing difficulties – and statistics that showed BAME people were more at risk from COVID-19. 

He is now poised to join his team-mates when Watford train next week after the approval of contact training, having held discussions with Dr Jonathan Van-Tam, the Government's deputy chief medical officer, and the Premier League.

"I only said that I wasn't going back for the first week," Deeney told CNN. "People took that as I'll never go back.

"Jonathan is doing really well, not only answering questions, he has also been honest enough to say at times: 'I don't have the answer'.

"The first conversation I had with Jonathan was maybe three weeks ago. The last conversation we had was on Friday and he had so much more information, so much more detailed analysis.

"So it just filled me with confidence that he's trying his best to make sure that we have all the information. The risk factor will be down to players.

"He's been doing very, very good research and there is a lot of goodwill on his part to tell me, ultimately, that I'm going to be looked after as best as they can.

"Ultimately, there is going to be some form of risk for all of us going back to work. Lockdown [ending] and the social distancing measures coming down mean people will still always have risk."

Deeney said some of his meetings with the Premier League were "productive", while others were "heated". 

"I needed more questions answered with a bit more authority and, at the start, they couldn't really do that, but it was just because they didn't have the information," he said.

"I think everyone can appreciate everything that the Premier League is trying to do as well. I don't think it's a pure neglect of: 'We're going back to work and get on board or [else],' it's nothing like that. They have very good lines of communication.

"There's some frustrating conversations. When somebody said I'm at the same risk of getting coronavirus by playing football or going to the supermarket, I said: 'I've never had to jump for a header while picking up a cucumber'."

While the issue over his training dilemma appears to be solved, Deeney was unhappy with abuse he received, particularly that which targeted his son.

He added: "I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: 'I hope your son gets coronavirus'. 

"That's the hard part for me. If you respond to that, people then go: 'Ah, we've got him' and they keep doing it.

"In a time where it's all about mental health and everyone says: 'Speak up, speak out,' Danny Rose spoke out – and I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it.

"The missus gets direct messages and you'll be walking down the street and people will be like: 'Oh, I'm at work, you go back to work’."

Watford captain Troy Deeney believes the integrity of the Premier League season is "already gone" and said the coronavirus pandemic has spoiled Liverpool's dominance.

Liverpool held a 25-point lead atop the Premier League table when the campaign was suspended in March due to COVID-19.

While the Premier League is bidding to restart its season, Deeney has spoken about his health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And the 31-year-old forward feels for Liverpool because their dominant season has been spoiled.

"I believe that when it comes to the integrity of this season anyway, it's already gone," Deeney told CNN.

"I feel sorry for Liverpool because no matter how it plays out, they deserve to win the league. They deserve to get the trophy.

"But no matter how it plays out, even if we play all the games, it's still going to be the year spoiled by the pandemic.

"It's not going to be that year that Liverpool won the league being the best team and, you know, it's 30 years they haven't won for."

Liverpool had won 27 of 29 Premier League games this season, with one draw and a loss to Deeney's relegation-threatened Watford, who ended their 'Invincibles' bid.

But Deeney said the integrity of this Premier League campaign had been ruined.

"I do feel sorry for Liverpool and their players and Jordan [Henderson, captain], but in terms of integrity, there's no way you could say that this is a viable competition," he said.

"It's like running a marathon, 20-odd miles, stopping for two months and then sprinting the last bit and going: 'Ah, that was a good time that.'"

Gary Neville is optimistic the Premier League will vote to restart the season in the near future, but he expects more players to drop out.

The United Kingdom government has given Premier League teams the green light for "close-contact" and "competitive" training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Following that advice, top-flight teams, who are already training in small groups while following social distancing measures, will vote on Wednesday over whether they will proceed to contact training, representing phase two of Project Restart.

Former Manchester United captain Neville is glad a return to action is on the horizon, but he feels more stars will follow the lead of Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante and Watford forward Troy Deeney, who have opted not to train for personal reasons.

"I think the clubs will unanimously vote to restart the season in the next few weeks," Neville said to Sky Sports.

"I think there will be a few more players who drop out. I don't think it helps that the Premier League are relying on government advice and we are all watching what's going on with the government at this moment in time.

"The Watford situation seems to have the most focus at this moment but Kante missing for Chelsea is an absolutely huge blow for them from a football point of view, but you completely understand it from a personal point of view.

"That situation seems to have been accepted more than the Watford situation because there is this doubt, this lingering doubt, that the clubs at the bottom are trying to exploit the situation."

Neville added: "Everyone's saying it, the bottom six will be thinking, what's the upside for us? They really will. They'd much prefer null and void but that doesn't seem the scenario right now.

"Every single scenario has to get played out. They have to manage everything because you don't know [what might happen].

"If a load of players go down with coronavirus from a couple of teams, you have to then play out that situation - what if they can't fulfil the fixtures?

"At least they're doing it and fingers crossed, we can get football back on the menu very soon.

"I think relegation will happen and points-per-game will come into play if clubs for any reason can't compete the season."

Christian Kabasele joked Watford are "injecting" COVID-19 into players and staff members in a sarcastic response to the club being accused of trying to avoid relegation.

Watford spent much of the Premier League season in the bottom three but sat 17th when the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the suspension of play in England's top flight in March.

Adrian Mariappa confirmed he was one of three people from the Hornets – and six across the Premier League – to test positive for the virus in the first round of analysis conducted by clubs last Sunday and Monday.

Watford captain Troy Deeney has refused to return to training due to health concerns and has voiced his opposition to the season resuming, which it is hoped will happen by June 12.

The club also opposed plans to play the remaining Premier League fixtures at neutral venues.

Kabasele hit out at a Twitter user who claimed Watford have been tactically trying to stop 2019-20 reaching its conclusion on the pitch to ensure their top-flight status is retained.

The centre-back posted: "So let me explain our tactic: we are doing one injection of COVID-19 once a week.

"We draw the player/member of staff who gets it [and] like this we are sure that we never play again and avoid relegation."

Kabasele finished the tweet with an emoji of a man facepalming.

When the same Twitter user said Kabasele should "get back to work", he replied: "Can I laugh at someone who can say to someone that he should 'GET BACK TO WORK' when actually he went back to work…

"And it's not a question of being a coward or not when literally you can kill someone from your household if they get the virus from you. Anything else?"

The Premier League announced on Saturday that the second round of coronavirus tests returned two positives from as many clubs.

Watford defender Adrian Mariappa has revealed he tested positive for coronavirus.

The Premier League announced six positive results from three clubs on Tuesday after 748 tests were carried out on players and staff at 19 of the top-flight teams.

Burnley confirmed that assistant Ian Woan had tested positive and Mariappa on Wednesday spoke of his surprise at finding out he has COVID-19.

"It's quite scary how you can feel absolutely fine and not really have left the house, and yet still get the virus," Mariappa told Telegraph Sport.

"If it wasn't for the fact I had gone back to training and had this test, then I'd never have found out that I had the virus and I would just be getting on with things as normal. That's obviously quite a strange thought.

"I live with three of my children, who are five, nine and 11, and my partner and, obviously, now I'm a bit worried about them.

"They are all fine and are not showing any symptoms, but you can't help but think about it and keep your distance once you know you've tested positive."

Those who tested positive will self-isolate for seven days.

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