They may be nine places and 10 points better off than Sunderland, but DeAndre Yedlin claims Watford are “very beatable” ahead of the Premier League clash between the teams at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
After a dismal start to the season, Sunderland’s fortunes have improved following the arrival of Sam Allardyce as manager in October. The Black Cats have recorded three wins in their last six league outings, including successive victories away to Crystal Palace and at home to Stoke City.
They went down 3-1 away to high-flying Arsenal last time out, but United States international Yedlin – on loan from Tottenham – is adamant nothing less than three points will be acceptable against the promoted Hornets.
“This is a game we need to win,” he told Sunderland’s official website.
“They’re a team that are very beatable so if we can [take] three points from them, we’ll be in very good shape.
“It’s definitely a great opportunity for three points, we need to go into it prepared and ready to take that. We’ve done great in these past three games.
“In the Arsenal game there was a little bit of a mix-up, a little bit of a concentration loss for a tiny bit and they punished us.”
Yedlin hailed the impact of former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham manager Allardyce, both on his own form and the team’s morale in general.
“He’s a very experienced manager,” he said.
“There’s a lot that I can learn from him and a lot that I still am learning from him. It’s been a great experience so far.
“Everybody has that little bit of boost in confidence. I think it shows with back-to-back wins and a very good performance against Arsenal. I think the results will definitely start to come as time goes on – they’ve already started to come.”
Midfielders Lee Cattermole (back) and Sebastian Larsson (knee) will miss out, but experienced striker Jermain Defoe is expected to be available after a hamstring problem.
For Watford, who go into the game on the back of consecutive wins at home to Norwich City and away to Aston Villa, long-term knee injury victim Joel Ekstrand is back in training, but not expected to return to the first team until 2016, while goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin (knee) is also still sidelined.
When Watford last visited Sunderland in 2005 they succumbed to a 4-2 Championship loss, while the previous top-flight meeting between the two in the north east saw Kevin Phillips score twice to secure a 2-0 home win 16 years ago.
Key Opta stats:
– Coming into this season, Watford had won just three of their 38 Premier League away games but they have won three of seven so far in 2015-16.
– Troy Deeney has scored in five of his last six Premier League appearances, including the last four in a row, He is the first Watford player to score in four successive Premier League games.
– If he scores in this match, Deeney will be the first ever player to score in five successive top-flight matches for Watford.
– Sunderland have allowed their opponents to have the most shots on target in the Premier League so far this season (91).
– Watford now have six victories in the league this season, equalling the most they have ever enjoyed in a full Premier League season (1999/00).
– Sunderland have the worst passing accuracy in the opposition half (64.3 per cent) and in the final third of the pitch (55.8 per cent) this season.