Sebastian Prodl says Watford are relishing the chance to bounce back from their heartbreaking defeat at Manchester United against Premier League leaders Leicester City.
Juan Mata’s fine 83rd-minute free-kick condemned Watford to a 1-0 loss at Old Trafford on Wednesday, after Odion Ighalo had wasted two clear-cut chances to open the scoring in the first half.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ ambitions of securing European qualification for the Hornets have been checked by a run of only two wins from 11 Premier League games since Boxing Day, and the prospect of hosting table-topping Leicester – who have lost just two of their last 17 top-flight away matches – is a daunting one.
However, centre-back Prodl insists Watford will be ready for Claudio Ranieri’s title challengers.
“It’s another good game, it’s a great week to show our skills and where we’ve improved,” the Austrian told Hornets Player. “It’s against the leaders, the contenders for the title, and it will be a nice game at Vicarage Road.
“We want to compete with the best teams in the league and hopefully we can do against Leicester.
“They’ve been the best so far this season, it will be a hard competition but as you’ve seen tonight, we have a good chance.”
Leicester head to Vicarage Road on the back of a 2-2 home draw with West Brom on Tuesday, although any blow felt at dropping points was softened by the subsequent results involving their main title rivals.
Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City all lost on Wednesday, leaving Leicester three points clear at the summit ahead of a weekend that sees the two north London clubs meet at White Hart Lane.
Midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who scored with a deflected effort against West Brom, refused to be downbeat about that result and is determined to return to winning ways on Saturday.
“It’s a point in the right direction,” Drinkwater told Foxes Player. “We’re slightly disappointed not to get the three points, but I feel like we played well.
“We can take a lot of positives into Saturday.”
Leicester won the reverse fixture 2-1 at the King Power Stadium in November, although the man who scored their opening goal that day – midfielder N’Golo Kante – misses out this time around due to a hamstring injury.
Kante is Ranieri’s only absentee, though, and Andy King – who replaced the Frenchman versus West Brom – will be high on confidence after scoring against Tony Pulis’ side.
Flores, meanwhile, has a clean bill of health and must hope Ighalo rediscovers his scoring touch sooner rather than later.
The Nigerian has scored just one Premier League goal in nine appearances in 2016, after netting 13 times before the turn of the year.
Key Opta Stats:
– There have been 26 goals scored in the last six matches between Watford and Leicester at Vicarage Road.
– Watford have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 matches in all competitions against the Foxes.
– Leicester have scored in 16 of their last 18 Premier League away matches.
– The Hornets have failed to score in six of their last eight Premier League matches.