Sebastian Prodl

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Premier League Preview: Southampton v. Watford

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  • Southampton sit in 19th place, with nine points
  • Watford is right behind the Saints, in dead-last with eight points
  • Southampton has still not won at home this season
  • While Watford has already replaced its manager, Southampton has still held onto Ralph Hassenhuttl. 

It’s a proverbial relegation six-pointer as Southampton hosts Watford in a match broadcast live over the air across the U.S. (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBCSports.com).

The Saints have fared somewhat better – all in all – since the 9-0 thrashing to Leicester City at home, and arguably should have picked up a crucial three points at Arsenal last week. However, Ralph Hassenhuttl desperately needs three points on Saturday with Watford coming to town.

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On November 8, Watford picked up on its first Premier League win (2-0 over Norwich City) under Quique Sanchez Flores since he returned to the club in September and could jump over Southampton in the standings with a road win. History isn’t necessarily on either team’s side heading into this encounter. Both teams have finished with a 1-1 draw in the last three matches between these two teams, with Watford coming back to tie the game in all of them.

Sanchez Flores has also had to deflect reports in the media that he could be sacked again by the Pozzo family, which owns Watford, since the team has barely improved since he took charge. Should Watford lose again, his fate could be decided on Monday morning.

Injuries/suspensions

Southampton: OUT – Stuart Armstrong (hamstring); DOUBTFUL – Sofiane Boufal (toe); PROBABLE – Jannik Vestergaard (illness)

Watford: OUT – Craig Dawson (head), Christian Kabasele (hamstring), Daryl Janmaat (knee), Tom Cleverley (heel), Danny Welbeck (hamstring) and Sebastian Prodl (knee); DOUBTFUL – Roberto Pereyra, Daniel Bachmann (both hamstring), Domingos Quina (groin)


Projected lineups

Southampton: McCarthy – Soares, Stephens, Bednarik, Bertrand – Valery, Højbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Redmond – Ings, Long

Watford: Foster – Femenia, Mariappa, Dawson, Cathcart, Holebas – Hughes, Capoue, Doucoure – Sarr, Gray, Deulofeu


What they’re saying

Ralph Hassenhuttl on what Southampton took from its 2-2 draw: “Every game in the Premier League is a tough one. You have to put everything on the pitch to get something and this is what we know and it’s good now that we have found back a little bit of self-confidence. This is very important for us and that gives us a lift, absolutely, and we need this lift that we can put it on the pitch from the first moment on, that we can invest a little bit for the fans and for the crowd, and they help us then – creating chances, showing that we are on the front foot and then we need the crowd to support us, because we must turn the table at home.”

Sanchez Flores on a 6-point match against Southampton: “It could be [a turning point], for us it’s a long time saying it’s finals and finals and finals. We are preparing finals but when you play finals I know what it means. When you prepare finals you need to reduce mistakes. We know they are dangerous, they have very quick players, good players in the midfield, strong defenders. But we have our players too, we have things we want to do. It should be even, like every single match in the Premier League.”


Prediction

Both teams desperately need a win. So of course, they’ll find a way to draw. In the breezy south coast of England, long balls will go wayward and the team which can move the ball on the ground best will control the match. Ultimately, neither team has proven it is good enough to win this match, but Saturday can be a chance to turn it all around.

Southampton 1-1 Watford

PL Tuesday Preview: Tottenham hosts Brighton, Watford faces Southampton

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Thanks to results from Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea over the past two days, Tottenham didn’t lose any ground to its rivals despite its own loss early on Saturday.

Now, Spurs has a chance to earn points to secure another top four finish and keep one of its rivals out when it hosts relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion. Watford, meanwhile, hosts a Southampton side with three wins in its last five games.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE


Brighton and Hove Albion v. Tottenham — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

This match should have just about everything as both sides will be desperate for all three points. Tottenham can take advantage of Arsenal, Man United and Chelsea’s failure to jump ahead or catch ground with a big win on the road, especially after the big win at Man City in the UEFA Champions League. Heung-Min Son showed that Tottenham fans won’t have to miss Harry Kane too badly as he recovers from another serious ankle injury, and Son will be expected again to score and have a big impact in the attack. The team received a boost as well, with Eric Dier returning to fitness and Hugo Lloris set to return to the lineup this week, if not this weekend.

Meanwhile, down in Brighton it’s been a different story all season. The Seagulls have just 34 points after 34 games, sitting just three points above the relegation zone. Before Saturday’s draw with Wolves, Brighton had lost four straight games in the Premier League and five in all competitions, including in the FA Cup semifinals against Manchester City. Now, with only the Premier League on its mind, Brighton can focus on finding an answer to its defensive and goalscoring woes. After a strong start, Glenn Murray hasn’t scored in seven games, and club-record signing Ali Jahanbakhsh has zero Premier League goals this season. Brighton will take one step closer to Premier League survival with a massive win over Tottenham. With Cardiff City facing Fulham this weekend, it’s crucial for Brighton to receive at least a point to maintain space between it and Cardiff.

INJURIES: Brighton and Hove Albion —  OUT: Davy Propper (hamstring), Anthony Knockaert (suspension). | Tottenham — OUT: Moussa Sissoko (groin), Harry Kane (ankle); DOUBTFUL: Harry Winks (groin); PROBABLE: Hugo Lloris (muscle), Eric Dier (illness)


Watford v. Southampton — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSports.com/Gold

While much of the Premier League drama focuses on the top four and the bottom three of the table, there’s quietly a very dramatic race for seventh place, which could still end up with a Europa League berth should Manchester City beat Watford to win the FA Cup (if Watford wins, only the fifth and sixth-placed teams would earn Europa League berths).

Watford is among a small group of four teams all within one point of another that could finish anywhere from seventh to tenth by the end of the season. Watford currently sits tied with Everton in seventh place and is looking for a third win in four Premier League games, though its last two wins were over Fulham and Huddersfield. One aspect Watford will have to work on in this match against Southampton is recording a clean sheet. Watford have conceded a goal in eight straight Premier League matches, their longest run this season without a shutout.

Southampton on the other hand are looking to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat against Newcastle. Like Brighton, Southampton is currently safe but still in a precarious situation, just five points clear of Cardiff and the relegation zone. Ralph Hassenhuttl has done a decent job in securing some breathing room for the Saints in his half-season at the club so far. If Southampton can replicate its form from its April 13 3-1 win over Wolves, in which Nathan Redmond scored a pair and even Shane Long found the back of the net, it will surely help towards Premier League survival. Also working in Southampton’s favor is that it has five wins, five draws and one loss in its last 11 matches against Watford.

INJURIES: Watford —  OUT: Troy Deeney (suspension), Jose Holebas, Tom Cleverley, Domingos Quina and Sebastian Prodl (all knee). | Southampton — QUESTIONABLE: Jannik Vestergaard (injury), Yan Valery (illness), Mario Lemina

PL Preview: Chelsea vs. Watford

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  • Chelsea are without N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses (both hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (calf) is still absent.
  • Watford remain without Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl (both thigh), plus long-term absentees Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success (all knee).
  • Watford have not won against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 1986, but the Hornets have won 10 points of a possible 12 on the road. 
  • Chelsea have lost three of their first eight matches this season. No team has ever lost this many of their opening eight matches and still won the Premier League title.

Watford heads south for another London derby with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Hornets have had an amazing start to the season and currently occupy fourth place on 15 points, two points ahead of fifth-place Chelsea, which has lost two-straight Premier League games. The Blues have struggled without N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata and there have been reports of grumbles from the squad about dissatisfaction with Antonio Conte‘s training methods, but the Chelsea coach has brushed those rumors off.

Meanwhile Watford is coming off a confidence-boosting win last weekend against fellow Londoners Arsenal, and the club is looking to take down another big club for a second-straight week.

What they’re saying

Watford manager Marco Silva on his team’s start“I want everybody to be really calm. We did really in the first eight matches but it’s too early. We want to continue to work hard every day. Everything changes fast and you need to keep going and treat the next game as the most important. But of course I feel proud.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on being under pressure: “‘Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”

Video Preview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7s2he4s57k

Prediction

Chelsea has its back against the wall but the team’s overall quality should be enough to see them through with all three points against Watford. The Hornets luck runs out in Stamford Bridge as Chelsea hold on for a late win. Chelsea 2-1 Watford

Chelsea 4-3 Watford: Changed champions entertain

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  • Terry scores early (video)
  • Gifts equalizer to Capoue
  • Blues make nine changes to XI
  • Batshuayi, Azpilicueta score
  • Fabregas gets classy winner

Stefano Okaka’s 74th minute goal looked to give Watford a surprising draw at much-changed Chelsea on Monday at Stamford Bridge.

But Cesc Fabregas found an 88th minute moment of class to give the Premier League champions a record-tying 29th win of the season in a 4-3 win. A win over Sunderland this weekend would set a new PL standard.

John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Michy Batshuayi posted Chelsea’s goals, as the Premier League champions moved their point total to 90.

Etienne Capoue and Daryl Janmaat also scored for Watford, which trailed 1-0 and 3-1 in the game. Watford remains 16th with 40 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Azpilicueta, N'Golo Kante, and Eden Hazard were the lone regular starters in the XI, with Nathaniel Chalobah, Nathan Ake, and Kenedy handed rare starts in front of second-string keeper Asmir Begovic.

The class of Chelsea’s depth was on display early, with Willian — how is he not a starter? — burning down the right wing.

Willian curled an 11th minute free kick toward Nathan Ake, but Watford backstop Heurelho Gomes collected it.

Michy Batshuayi beat Sebastian Prodl into the box in the 21st minute, but the defender recovered to force a corner that turned into Chelsea’s opener. Terry rose

Watford leveled it within moments, this time victimizing Terry. Capoue nabbed his seventh of the season when Terry’s poor header went into the path of the Watford man, who headed past Asmir Begovic.

Gomes flew to punch a ball away from Hazard on a 29th minute break, calls for a penalty rightfully ignored by referee Lee Mason.

Hazard then came close to cooking the Watford defense when Willian sent a half-field arrow to the Belgian, who cut to the middle and saw his shot deflected just… though a corner was not given.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Defenders were on show, and Azpilicueta made it 2-1 in the 36th minute drilling a low shot through traffic to beat a diving Gomes.

Batshuayi nabbed a goal after the break from a similar spot on the field as his league-clinching winner from Friday. Kenedy’s shot deflected to Ake, who played square for Batshuayi to tap home. 3-1.

Yet another quickfire reply came from Watford, as Daryl Janmaat dribbled into the 18 and turned Ake the wrong way to pull the Hornets back to within one.

Azpilicueta had a chance to score a second off a Janmaat turnover, but Gomes pushed a low shot wide of the far post.

Okaka took advantage of confusion between Kurt Zouma and Terry to belt a Tom Cleverley pass beyond Begovic to make it 3-3 in the 75th minute. Conte responded by taking off Kenedy for Ola Aina.

The only goal remaining went to Fabregas. Kante won the ball, which wound up on the boot of Willian for a square pass that Fabregas snuck inside the post.

Prodl then saw a second yellow card in stoppage time to send Watford down a man.

Hull City 2-0 Watford: Heroic win for 10-man Tigers

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  • Niasse sent off in 25th minute
  • Markovic, Clucas score in second half
  • Tigers win fourth-straight at home
  • Hull stay two points above drop zone

10-man Hull City secured a miraculous win against Watford as Marco Silva’s men battled for over 65 minutes a man down and grabbed a vital three points in their battle against relegation.

After Oumar Niasse was harshly sent off in the first half, Hull regrouped and scored twice in the second half through Lazar Markovic and Sam Clucas with Watford wasting numerous chances.

With the win Hull stay two points above the drop zone, while Watford stay on 40 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Early on Hull’s skipper Harry Maguire made a real mess of a back pass but Watford failed to make the most of it.

The Hornets looked dangerous on the break in the first half as plenty of long balls were placed behind Hull’s defense.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Before half time Hull’s hopes of picking up three points took a massive blow as Niasse went in for a challenge with M’Baye Niang and referee Bobby Madley believed the Hull forward went in recklessly as he brandished a red card.

Eldin Jakupovic made a superb save to deny Sebastian Prodl from a corner and then Daryl Janmaat‘s shot was deflected over by his teammate Tory Deeney. Before the break Miguel Britos headed wide at the back post, then Maguire almost scored an own goal as glorious chances came and went for Watford.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Hull unexpectedly took the lead as they soaked up pressure and then hit Watford on the break to go 1-0 up.

Kamil Grosicki‘s cross found Markovic and his header looked to have gone over the line but he made sure by smashing home.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Clucas then curled a free kick inches wide of the post as Hull searched for a second goal and soon after it arrived with a stunner.

The ball popped out to the edge of the box and Clucas chested the ball under control and sent a fine volley into the top corner to make it 2-0.