Watford travel down the M1 to visit Fulham at Craven Cottage this weekend in the Saturday, early game. Both teams are coming off loses in the previous game week and are looking to pick up those important three points. Watford continues to be a team in form, even suffering a 2-1 defeat at Vicarage Road to Manchester United. Fulham had strung two games together, but ran into Manchester City, losing 3-0. This weekend, might have a bit of history on the side of Watford.
Through five weeks, Watford [and in fairness, Bournemouth] have been pleasant surprises to start the 2018/19 Premier League season. Watford as secured 12-points on the back of four wins before last weekend’s thriller against United. Even though the Golden Boys lost, they lost well. “We tried to win but if we have to lose, we have to lose like today, fighting until the end, showing all the time our spirit and character and for our fans have to be proud of us we have to make an effort. I think we have done that,” said Javi Gracia in his post-game comments.
However, it was the mentality that Watford brought to the game to open the second half, as they improved out of the break. The goal from Andre Gray proved the Hornets could compete and nearly stole a point, had it not been for David De Gea and a beautiful save on a headed ball by Christian Kabasele that was parried away to secure the win.
Saturday we will see how resilient the Golden Boys are, as they face a Fulham squad that has struggled all season on defense. Currently, the Cottagers have shipped 12 goals, but more important have conceded 65 shots inside the box. That statistic alone, could prove to be all Watford need with the likes of captain Troy Deeney, Andre Gray and Roberto Pereyra currently on good form. My eyes will be on Deeney, as he’s scored four goals in the last two games against Fulham in the Championship League. The last match played at Craven Cottage saw Deeney hit for a hat trick.
Defensively, Watford anchored by Christian Kabasele and Craig Cathcart will be called upon to slow down the big Serbian, Alexsandar Mitrovic, who currently sits second on four goals, just one behind league leader, Eden Hazard. No surprise to see Mitrovic stymied by City last week, who had just two goal attempts last week. He’s currently second with 20 goal attempts, just five behind Sergio Aguero.
While the Hornets defense hasn’t been perfect on the season, conceding five goals on the season and their first 2-goal game conceded, they have been very good as a single unit, led by Ben Foster in goal. While both goals were preventable last week, Gracia believes his lads will come out mentally strong. “They do not need good results to know the performances have been good and, in this moment, the players are confident they will be able to keep their performance levels up,” said Gracia.
It’s my feeling this will be a very one-sided affair. While Mitrovic may come away with a goal, Watford is a much stronger team, playing at a higher level than Fulham. The struggles for the Cottagers will come on defense, as they attempt to slow down an offense that has scored 10 goals, coming from many different players, from open play to dead balls and corner kicks. This is a dangerous team that could post a great return to bounce back after a tough loss last weekend. Prediction, Watford 3 Fulham 1.