Watford delighted supporters with the type of performance they should have been producing all season, as they comfortably thrashed Bristol City 6-0 at Vicarage Road.

A Ken Sema brace and goals from Ismaila Sarr and Will Hughes had the Hornets well and truly in charge at the break before Sarr's second and a late Philip Zinckernagel tap-in completed the rout in the second half.

It was refreshing to see Watford performing with such cohesion and creativity after a lacklustre run of matches, bereft of both qualities, had sections of the team’s supporters and the media forecasting a gloomy second half of the campaign.

In fact, both teams went into the match looking to turn their form around on the back of three games without a win. The Hornets had drawn two and lost one, while the visitors had lost all of theirs, setting up a potentially cagey affair.

However, Xisco Munoz took a bold approach in his bid to stop the rot from setting in, with Troy Deeney and Andre Gray both left out of the starting XI, as well as the injured Jeremy Ngakia, with Joao Pedro, Hughes and Kiko Femenia coming in to replace them.

The head coach also discarded his 4-4-2 formation and instead opted to play a 4-2-3-1 which brought its first benefit in only the second minute of the match.

Nathaniel Chalobah’s intricate through pass found Sarr out on the right. He drove to the by-line and tried to cut the ball back into the box, but a kind deflection looped it into the path of Sema instead and the Swede, who was practically on the goal line, simply couldn’t miss.

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Sarr was given a simple chance himself just before the quarter of an hour mark when Pedro’s loose backheel was haplessly helped on by Zak Vyner, who found Tom Cleverley instead of his own goalkeeper Daniel Bentley and the midfielder squared for the unmarked Senegal international, who fired in Watford’s second.

After a period of only being able to score penalties, the Hornets were suddenly looking like taking every chance they created in open play. They came close to doing so again when Adam Masina’s ball into the box allowed Sema and Pedro to link up, only for Taylor Moore to block the Brazilian’s strike that looked destined for the back of the net.

The ball soon found its way there, though, as a clearance from the resulting corner was drilled back into the area by Hughes, before taking a wicked deflection that carried it beyond the reach of Bentley, putting the hosts firmly in control of the match.

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Three should have been four just moments later when Sema picked out Pedro on the edge of the box and the striker weaved some magic to create the half a yard he needed to shoot, only for his thumped effort to rattle the crossbar.

Nevertheless the fourth arrived promptly after when Femenia worked the ball to Sarr on the right and he once again drove into the box and cut back to Sema, who powered in from the edge of the six yard box to give the hosts a commanding lead at the break.

Watford emerged for the second half showing as much desire as they had in the first and almost had a fifth goal within four minutes of the restart.

The ball was worked to Hughes on the edge of the box from a corner routine, but he could only guide his effort wide of the far stick.

At this point, Bristol were clearly dispirited by their first half pummelling and were presenting opportunities to their hosts left, right and centre. A tackle on Sarr invited Pedro to find a way through from a good position, but he was denied by Bentley at his near post.

Sarr was much less profligate just ten minutes into the half when Hughes’s pass was cut out by Han-Noah Massengo but diverted into the winger’s path. He burst through to the edge of the area and guided a shot beyond the keeper to make it five.

Substitute and new arrival Dan Gosling went close to making it six before the hour mark when he tried his luck from 20 yards out, but a flat-footed Bentley was fortunate to see it zip wide of the goal.

Munoz attempted to maintain his side's dominance by introducing Andre Gray and Zinckernagel from the bench, but the final 25 minutes saw a reduction in the number of chances the Hornets created.

At the other end, the Robins continued to struggle with shots from Tyreeq Bakinson and Massengo the closest they came to finding a consolation, but the former's effort was wide of the mark while Daniel Bachmann was relatively untroubled by the latter.

Watford then regained control of the possession soon after and a fine team move, rounded off by Zinckernagel, saw them add a sixth in the last minute as they guided the game to a safe conclusion, leaving them 11 points above those hoping to get into the playoff positions, but six behind the top two.

It was a magnificent win for the home side, who showed that they are capable of producing the attacking football Munoz promised on his arrival. The only lingering frustration is the sense that they could have been doing this all along.