Southampton have a long season ahead under new manager Claude Puel as they look to juggle a busy Premier League campaign with the group stage of the Europa League. They ended the Ronald Koeman era with four-straight league wins.
And although Redmond’s goal was greeted with relief, there was frustration at the end. The Saints were laboured and lacked cutting edge after falling behind until Redmond’s equaliser.
Watson had only been on the pitch for 11 minutes and 23 seconds when he was shown a red card for hauling down Long as the striker looked to race through on goal.
Former Bayern Munich midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg provided promise for the Saints with his surging runs after coming on as a substitute.
Can Watford surprise under Mazzarri?
There was surprise when Watford announced Quique Sanchez Flores was to leave after steering the club to the FA Cup semi-final and a 13th-placed finish last season.
Yet the Hornets delivered a dogged performance in Walter Mazzarri’s first competitive game in charge to leave their travelling fans optimistic about the season ahead.
They were without club-record signing Isaac Success because of injury yet went ahead as Capoue fired his first league goal for the Hornets after a sweeping move involving the impressive Nordin Amrabat and Deeney.
It was Watford’s only shot on target in the game.
Hornets goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes saved well from the busy Tadic while Craig Cathcart and Sebastian Prodl were both solid at the back, particularly after Watson’s dismissal left them seriously under pressure.
How did the new signings do?
Nathan Redmond – A superbly-taken goal from a corner. Looked much livelier after the interval after a slow start.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Injected pace and urgency into the team after coming on early in the second half. The Danish midfielder was not afraid to shoot and was hard-working.
Jeremy Pied – The French defender came on with 11 minutes of normal time remaining.
Juan Camilo Zuniga – Watford have signed five players this summer but Colombia defender Zuniga is the only one who made it on to the pitch at St Mary’s. The 30-year-old, on a season-long loan from Napoli, came on as a late substitute and still made some crucial challenges to help earn his side a point.
Man of the Match – Dusan Tadic (Southampton)
What they said:
Southampton boss Claude Puel: “At half-time I told the players ‘just don’t be afraid’. In the second half it was important to make good intentions and play good football.
“If you play good football, you don’t have problems. This was true in the second half.
“In the second half you can see the future.”
Southampton goalscorer Nathan Redmond: “The manager told us at half-time to take pride in what we were doing. We showed great spirit to come back.
“To get my first goal is good but I’d have preferred the three points.”
Watford boss Walter Mazzarri: “When we had 10 men we were not able to play our game but the team showed great character.
“I think in the first half we could have got a bit more. When our energy was good we played a great game but we couldn’t quite finish the game off.
“The players have done well with the formation and I think we were unlucky with the red card because we were playing well at that moment.”
The game in numbers…
0: Watford have never won on the opening weekend of a Premier League season (D2 L2)
13: Southampton have conceded in 13 consecutive Premier League games, their longest run without a clean sheet since November 2012.
4: Ben Watson received his fourth red card in English league football, and his first since October 2009.
6: Troy Deeney has been involved in six of Watford’s past seven Premier League goals (four goals, two assists).
While Southampton’s next game is against Manchester United at Old Trafford next Friday (20:00 BST), Watford have a bit more time to prepare for their next match. That is against Chelsea at home on 20 August (15:00).
Match ends, Southampton 1, Watford 1.
Second Half ends, Southampton 1, Watford 1.
Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Southampton).
Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Nathan Redmond (Southampton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Matt Targett.
Attempt blocked. Oriol Romeu (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Steven Davis.
Attempt missed. Jérémy Pied (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Nordin Amrabat (Watford).
Attempt missed. Jérémy Pied (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Attempt missed. Charlie Austin (Southampton) header from the left side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Jérémy Pied with a cross.
Heurelho Gomes (Watford) is shown the yellow card.
Offside, Southampton. Steven Davis tries a through ball, but Nathan Redmond is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Dusan Tadic.
Attempt missed. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Dusan Tadic.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Foul by Jérémy Pied (Southampton).
Juan Zuñiga (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Southampton. Charlie Austin replaces Shane Long.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Miguel Britos.
Attempt blocked. Dusan Tadic (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.