West Bromwich Albion vs. Watford Preview: Baggies seek first win in five against Hornets

Match preview of the Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and Watford at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon

West Bromwich Albion vs. Watford Preview: Baggies seek first win in five against Hornets
Photo: Catherine Ivill - AMA / Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion will go in search of their first Premier League win in five on Saturday, as Tony Pulis' men entertain a high-flying Watford side at The Hawthorns.

In what will be the last domestic game before a fortnight hiatus for the international break, the Baggies will be keen to bookend what has been a tricky spell for the West Midlands side, without a win since the second game of the campaign.

Marco Silva's travelling Hornets however, will be bent on preventing that occurrence, with his own charges riding high in the league standings in sixth, but level on points with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in fifth and fourth spot respectively.

Baggies winless in over a month

After winning their opening two league fixtures, Pulis' side have not wholly unexpectedly, hit something of a fork in the road.

Since an away win at Burnley on August 19, West Brom have taken just two points from games against Stoke City, Brighton & Hove Albion, West Ham United and most recently on Monday, in yet another loss to Arsenal at the Emirates. 

With away games at Leicester City and Southampton, followed by the visit of Manchester City to contend with on resumption after the two-week break, three points on Saturday would be the perfect send-off for both Pulis and his players.

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Silva's men aiming high

Toppling the visitors this weekend will be no mean feat. The Hornets are have won all three of their games on the road this term and have conceded just once in that period.

Watford boss Silva has brought the same resilience to his new club that at one stage saw his former employers Hull City stave off relegation last season.

The Portuguese has struck a fine balance between attack and defence this campaign, where his predecessor Walter Mazzarri had either a well-drilled defensive set-up or were a force at the other end of the field. There was never a happy medium for the Hertfordshire side.

After Andre Gray and summer signing Richarlison scored their first goals last time out also, both the Watford striker and Brazilian winger will be keen to get stuck into a typically staunch home defence.

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Hornets edge league record 

This weekend's clash will be just the fifth time the two sides have met in the Premier League, with the visitors edging the record by a ratio of two to one, with one draw. 

At The Hawthorns, both sides have a win to their name. Watford scored the only goal in a 1-0 nil way towards the end of the 2015/16 campaign, however eight months later the Baggies gained revenge with a 3-1 win last December. 

On that occasion, goals from Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt and Matt Phillips led their side to a deserved three points.

Team News

West Brom have an almost clean bill of health ahead of the visit of Watford. The hosts' only concern is over Oliver Burke, with the midfielder a doubt with a hamstring injury and Nacer Chadli who is struggling to overcome a knock.

The bigger quandary for Tony Pulis to consider will be whether to play five at the back, which could allow Gareth McAuley back into the starting XI alongside Ahmed Hegazi and Jonny Evans as his defensive partners. That would see Craig Dawson as right wing-back, with Allan Nyom likely to drop out.

The Hornets unlike their opponents are in the midst of an injury crisis. Sebastian Prödl, Craig Cathcart and Younes Kaboul are all ruled out.

Watford have also been dealt a blow with the absence of Nathaniel Chalobah, with the England U21 international set for a spell out with a knee injury. Mauro Zarate continues on his road back from injury, but is not yet match fit.