Brighton & Hove Albion vs Watford Preview: Hornets to do double over Seagulls?
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Brighton & Hove Albion vs Watford Preview: Hornets to do double over Seagulls?

Watford will hope to bounce back from a mid-week defeat at Wembley as they look to take three points from a tough Brighton side. 

James Baldwin

Watford find themselves on the road for the sixth time in seven matches as they travel to the south coast to face off against Brighton & Hove Albion in this Premier League tie.

The Seagulls have only won twice in the Premier League in nearly two months; with their latest victory coming at the Amex Stadium in their final match of 2018 against Everton. Prior to that, the second matchday of December gave them their last three points, at home against rivals Crystal Palace. They will be looking for a much needed win in the league on Saturday.

The away side have been quite the opposite. Before their narrow defeat away at Tottenham Hotspur in midweek, where they so nearly claimed all three points, Boxing Day saw their last defeat; and before that, a 2-0 defeat at Leicester City on the opening weekend of December.

The head-to-head for these two sides in the top tier is all even as it stands - with Brighton picking up a 1-0 win in this fixture last season, Watford taking all three points earlier in the season, and a goalless draw at Vicarage Road in August 2017.

Before the Premier League, Brighton had struggled to take anything off the Hornets. In fact, the game between these two before the goalless draw in 2017 was in the 2014-15 season, with a moment that will always remain in Hornets fans hearts; Matej Vydra scoring in the 95th minute to seal a 2-0 win at the AMEX and sending the Golden Boys up to the Premier League in doing so.

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Squad news

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Brighton's record-signing, is available for selection following Iran's exit in the Asian Games. Meanwhile, left-back Bernardo is also available following a hamstring injury which saw him sidelined for five matches.

Watford's Abdoulaye Doucouré continues to remain out following a knee injury picked up during the side's 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park in mid-January. Kiko Femenía and Sebastian Prödl also remain out for the Hornets.

Key Clash

Glenn Murray vs Troy Deeney

Both of the two prominent strikers for both sides come face to face with each other tomorrow. 

Murray, in search of his 100th Brighton goal - something that Deeney knows much about - has been much better this season, with 10 goals in comparison to Deeney's 5 in the Premier League.

That being said, one thing that does seem common with these two is how sporadic they are when it comes to scoring goals. Murray scored two in midweek in Brighton's capitulation at Fulham; but before that, he'd last scored against Crystal Palace in December; a long run without a goal. A similar trait has appeared with Deeney - a brace at Bournemouth has been followed with no goals in the top flight since, and only one more (against Woking) in all competitions.

It will be interesting to see which one of these two will have come out on top come the end of tomorrow's match.

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The managers' view

Discussing their opposition, both managers in the dugout have praised the other. Chris Hughton said, "Watford are a very good side, I saw them play against Tottenham on Wednesday evening and they did very well.

"They're a consistent side and a different proposition perhaps to different seasons - I think they can finish high up the table from what I've seen recently."

Javi Gracia spoke of Brighton's impressive home form: "It's a tough moment for us, we have a demanding schedule and we know Brighton are playing well at home."

"They are strong, and we will try to show our best defence because we need it to have options to win it." Especially with Murray and Jahanbakhsh up against the defensive line, it could be difficult for the Hornets to handle. 

An interesting match, which could certainly go either way, looms at the Amex Stadium tomorrow afternoon.