Watford v Bournemouth Preview: Hornets looking to get back to winning ways
Photo: Bluebird WFC

Watford v Bournemouth Preview: Hornets looking to get back to winning ways

Both teams have identical records for the start of the season and will be hoping to make it a fifth win of the campaign.

James Baldwin

Both promoted together in the 2014-15 Championship campaign, Watford and Bournemouth have both began their fourth season in the Premier League very impressively.

Watford have recorded four wins, one draw and two losses - a record mirrored identically by the Cherries, who are only behind the home side on goal difference; in 6th and 7th places respectively.

The away side come into the match following a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at the Vitality Stadium, with the Hornets on the back of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

That defeat for Watford means they will be hoping to get back to winning ways after a three game streak without one, whilst Bournemouth will be hoping to make it three wins from four and back-to-back wins for the first time since the opening two matches.

The Importance

These two sides have had interesting and exciting matches during their time in the Premier League - not to mention a few in the Championship as well.

In their most recent meeting, Bournemouth scored a late goal to clinch a point at Vicarage Road as the match finished 2-2. Earlier that season, goals from Richarlison and Etienne Capoue saw Watford gain their first Premier League victory over the side - a 2-0 victory at the Vitality.

In the 2016-17 season, two 2-2 draws were played out - showing that this fixture is certainly nothing short of goals.

Watford's victory at the Vitality last season was their first against Bournemouth since 2013 - in a 2-0 victory in the League Cup. The record is worse for the Cherries, however, who only have one win against the Hornets in 20 years.

Both sides have had impressive starts to the season and neither will back off on Saturday; meaning that it could swing either way depending on how the teams are lined up and how each team comes out. It could certainly prove to be a goal-fest, yet again.

Team News

The home team see a number of players returning from injury for this clash with Gerard Deulofeu, Stefano Okaka, Sebastian Prodl and Miguel Britos all back. Deulofeu could prove a useful impact substitute on the day.

Bournemouth have no fresh injury concerns, and have a full squad to select from. Junior Stanislas could return to the Starting XI, whilst Charlie Daniels is unlikely to make a cameo.

Team news

Whilst Javi Gracia managed to keep an unchanged side for six straight Premier League fixtures, injuries to Daryl Janmaat and Marc Navarro mean that Kiko Femenia is expected to make his first start of the season. That will most likely be the home side's only change.

Predicted XI: Foster; Femenia, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Hughes, Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra; Deeney, Gray.

Following on from Monday's victory over Crystal Palace, it will most likely be a very similar line-up from Eddie Howe's side. Stanislas could warrant a start, however.

Predicted XI: Begovic; Francis, S. Cook, Ake, Smith; Brooks, L. Cook, Lerma, Fraser; Stanislas, Wilson.

Key Clashes

Bearing in mind both teams have an identical, impressive points tally this season, it is key to note that both teams have been playing in a 4-4-2 system.

This could prove interesting, with Christian Kabasele and Craig Cathcart up against Callum Wilson and whoever his counterpart is on the day; with the latter having a brilliant start to the season.

The Bournemouth back two of Steve Cook and Nathan Ake could also have their work cut out with in-form strikers Troy Deeney and Andre Gray to put up with for 90 minutes. It'll certainly be interesting to see which strike force comes out on top on Saturday afternoon.

The Managers' outlook

Watford boss and August manager of the month Gracia expressed a positive outlook on the most recent form of the home side, saying "Our feelings and the stats show we are doing good work. We are having good performances winning, losing or drawing." He isn't wrong.

On Bournemouth, he declared he commented "It's a very demanding game against a very organised team.

"We will try to do our best and get a good result." 

Bournemouth manager, Howe, who has been the Cherries' manager since 2012 now, spoke of the Hornets, explaining: "Watford look very creative, they have a physical threat and players that can score goals." The same can be said about his team from the outlook of this season.

"Watford have been playing well. Yes they lost against Arsenal but they created lots of chances," Howe continued. 

A heap of praise from the Cherries boss; but he will be hoping he can get past the threat of Watford and move above them in the League.