Out of another good performance, Watford come away with just a single point on Saturday at Vicarage Road against Newcastle. I don’t agree with the six changes ahead of the game, as defensively, we were a liability. Adam Masina struggled and Adrian Mariappa, usually strong was out muscled by Salomon Rondon. The Hornets take the show on the road this week and visit Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth team that hasn’t been good. Defensively, they’ve conceded 37 goals, fourth worst in the Premier League
Doesn’t matter we break this game down, there will be goals, but will they come from the Cherries, who’ve been feast or famine over the last five weeks, scoring just three goals and being shut out three times. Watford have continued to look good on the pitch. Against Newcastle, the statistics favored the Golden Boys, but the performance was somewhat lackluster. A great chance went begging with Gerard Deulofeu could beat Martin Dubravka. Watford played from behind much of the game after a Salomon Rondon goal. Thankfully Abdoulaye Doucoure rescued a late point for Watford as the game finished 1-1.
Ahead of this game, I suspect we see more of the “usual suspects” back into the starting XI. Christian Kabasele will miss out on the game, as he still has no return date due to the shoulder injured picked up two weeks ago. A few days ago Javi Gracia said, “In this moment I can’t tell you when he will be ready but we now know – because after the game we didn’t know what he had – it’s only pain and I think he will be available for the next games.” Positive signs we could see him in the next few weeks.
This is a mid-table fixture that ends up being a “must win” for both clubs. Watford on 28 points in 9th place, while Bournemouth has dropped to 12th after four out of five loses on 26 points. Bournemouth come off 4-1 loss at Old Trafford and will be looking to get back on track. It was anything but good business back in October when the Cherries visited the Vic, as they cruised to victory, 4-0, as Kabasele was red carded in the 32′.
This is a different Bournemouth team that hasn’t been a sieve on defense recently, conceding 15 goals in their last five games, which included loses to Liverpool, Wolves, Spurs and United. I look to the midfield play of Capoue and Doucoure to pace the Hornets this week. This partnership in the middle has been a big part of our success this season. Out wide, we need to see more consistency from Roberto Pereyra, who’s score a goal and four assists in the last five games. He’s our top performing midfielder, edging out Gerard Deulofeu, who continues to get a run out up top with Troy Deeney or Issac Success.
Look for Deeney to join Deulofeu up top, as the captain will be our enforcer, holding up play and being the big, physical body we need to gain a foothold in the attacking end. Deulofeu has been a bit unlucky, just seven attempts over the last four games. He still looks a threat going forward with creativity and freedom to produce.
I look to Howe to run out Callum Wilson and Josh King up front, as they return to a formation that has seen success much of this season. Wilson and King have combined for a single assist over the last four games. In a team lacking attacking returns, it’s been David Brooks with two goals and an assist, outplaying that of Ryan Fraser. With any luck both will start and Howe brings Jefferson Lerma back into the starting XI.
While I would like to remain positive that Ben Foster will keep a clean sheet, but defensively we have struggled, even when Foster puts together strong performances. The return of Jose Holebas is welcomed and hopefully we don’t see Adam Masina the rest of the year, he was that bad against Newcastle. Rest assured Mariappa will pair with Craig Cathcart to anchor the defense, while Daryl Janmaat could get another run out.
Prediction for this game is 3-2, a late Watford goal seal it as the Golden Boys will pick up three valuable points. Just seem them able to exploit a struggling defense at the Vitality tomorrow, as Javi Gracia puts out his best starting XI.