Sunday, October 21, 2018

Prediction: Watford vs Brighton

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: bet365

Hornets are locking horns with Seagulls at Vicarage Road on Saturday, looking to get their season off to a flying start and send an early message of intent to doubters and critics who believe Watford are destined for a drop.

Watford

Watford are preparing for what’s become their fourth consecutive campaign in the top flight of English football. Expectations are high within the camp as Watford head into the new season with the same manager who ended the last one. Javi Garcia is a rare anomaly at Watford who munched a great number of different tacticians since their return to the Premier League in 2015.

Garcia is hoping to bring further stability and consistency despite enduring a difficult finish to the 2017/18 season. The Hornets secured survival as early as March and dropped their guard down which resulted in one win and six defeats in nine matches towards the end of the campaign. Playing out of their home ground has been a nightmare for Watford who scored mere 2 goals in 12 away outings and that is one important aspect Javi Garcia will need to work on. The total 11 points on travels during the 2017/18 is a huge red flag for Hornets who will be keen to a clear improvement in order to make their survival fight easier this time out. Watford made a couple of signing to boost their squad this season with highly-rated West Ham youngster Domingos Quina standing as the most exciting prospect. The one to watch will, however, be Abdoulaye Doucoure who was the club’s top scorer last season with (just) 7 goals.

Team News

Doucoure has been declared fit to face Brighton after recovering from appendicitis but Stefano Okaka is still some two weeks away from full fitness.

Gerard Deulofeu is suffering from an abdominal issue and will be rested for the forthcoming match, whereas Nathaniel Chalobah and Tom Cleverley need more time to recover.

Brighton

Brighton did everything in their power to enjoy a successful season in England’s top flight after reaching the Premier League for the first time since 1983. Despite getting off to a losing start, the Seagulls quickly got back on their feet and were never in real danger of going down during the 2017/18 season.

Chris Hughton’s men recorded several memorable results such as a famous 1-0 win over Manchester United towards the end of the season, which was a cherry on top and a great morale boost ahead of the 2018/19 campaign. Brighton’s home form played a crucial part in Seagulls securing the survival with 29 of their 40 points clinched at the AMEX stadium. Brighton have done well to strengthen their squad this summer in a bid to launch an even greater challenge this year and try to improve their away form. Highly-rated Iran forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh is expected to be one of the most prominent players for Brighton this season. The former AZ Alkmaar striker netted 22 goals last season and could be the type of player Brighton need to improve upon the last campaign.  Chris Hughton also has high hopes for Yves Bissouma, Florin Andone, Bernardo, Leon Balogun and especially Martin Montoya who all add great depth into the existing squad.

Team News

Florin Andone and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are both suffering from injury and will be forced to wait for their Brighton debut.

Jose Izquierdo and Jason Steele are unavailable for selection as well.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Watford enjoyed an unbeaten preseason run (W3, D2)
  • Brighton won just 1 of their 5 preseason friendlies
  • There have been under 2.5 goals scored in last 6 meetings of the two sides
  • Watford collected only 11 points in away matches last season
  • Brighton play their 2nd top-flight season since 1983

Conclusion

Meetings between Watford and Brighton tend to be low-scoring affairs and generally uneventful matches for a neutral observer. Given the Saturday’s match is a season’s opener we do expect a different scenario this time out with both teams highly motivated to get off to a flying start.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: bet365

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