Thursday, November 15, 2018

Prediction: Southampton vs Watford

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Desperately looking to pick up their first home win of the season, Mark Hughes’ struggling Southampton side will welcome Watford to St. Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.

Southampton

Starting with Mark Hughes’ side, while Southampton may have left it late last season and secured their Premier League status on the final game, it has been a very worrying start for the Saints. Coming off the back of a 6-1 hammering away at Manchester City last Sunday, the former Stoke boss is now the bookies favourite to face the chop. In a week that his seen the host’s sack vice-chairman Les Reed and technical director Martin Hunter, if Hughes is to avoid following them out of the door, a first home win since April is desperately needed. Now sat 16th in the Premier League table and with just a single point buffer over the relegation zone, it has been their worrying form in the final third causing Hughes this biggest headache. While Danny Ings may have scored from the spot last weekend, Southampton have failed to score in their other five top-flight outings. In fact, the Saints have now failed to score from open play in nearly 600 minutes of Premier League football. Putting on more pressure on an increasingly downhearted south coast, Hughes has won just three of his 19 Premier League matches in charge of Saints.

Team News

Southampton are hopeful that midfielder Mario Lemina can overcome a thigh strain in time to play.

Defender Wesley Hoedt has missed training with a foot infection and is a doubt for the match.

Watford

As for Watford, while their points tally of 19 may be their brightest start to a Premier League season, the Hornets have struggled with their consistency. Coming off the back of a 1-0 loss to Newcastle last weekend, Javi Garcia’s side saw their two-match winning run come to an abrupt end.  In fact, the Yellows have now won just two of their last seven top-flight appearances, a run that stems back to the 2nd of September. Like Southampton, Watford will be looking to improve on their form in the final third, particularly away from Vicarage Road. Watford have failed to score in 10 of their last 13 Premier League away fixtures. While captain Troy Deeney is likely to make his return following an injury issue, the Hornets will be looking for this season’s standout performer Roberto Pereyra to carry on his start to the season. Since being reinstalled to Argentina’s national side, the winger has five goals to his name and also has two in his last three for the Yellows.

Team News

Watford captain Troy Deeney could return after missing three games with a hamstring problem.

Etienne Capoue is suspended after accumulating five yellow cards, while Tom Cleverley, Sebastian Prodl and Daryl Janmaat are still sidelined.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Watford won the corresponding fixture last season, with two long-range strikes clinching a 2-0 victory.
  • Southampton are without a win in seven league games (D3, L4).
  • They are yet to win at St Mary’s this season (D3, L2). They’ve never failed to win any of their first six home games.
  • Watford have failed to score in 10 of their last 13 Premier League away fixtures.
  • They have only won two of their past seven league fixtures, although both victories have come in the last three games.

Conclusion

On paper, both sides will see this as the perfect opportunity to pick up three crucial points. However, given Southampton’s woeful form at St. Mary’s coupled with Watford’s struggles on the road, we’re backing a low scoring encounter on Saturday. With five of their last seven meetings seeing under 2.5 goals after 90 minutes, we’re backing a similar outcome this weekend.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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