Tom Cleverley

Getty Images

Premier League Preview: Southampton v. Watford

Leave a comment
  • 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.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

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 Preview: Watford v. Chelsea

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Chelsea has six away wins in a row, one off its club record
  • Watford has never failed to win any of its first 11 league games
  • The 12 PL meetings between these 2 clubs have featured 40 goals

Chelsea could equal its club record of seven successive away victories across all competitions as they visit Vicarage Road to take on Watford at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

The Blues are in spectacular league form, winning four straight Premier League matches by a combined 11-3 scoreline, including two clean sheets and two four-goal performances. Frank Lampard‘s youth revolution necessitated by the transfer ban has been a smashing success, with young players like Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Fikayo Tomori all contributing to the results.

Watford, meanwhile, sits bottom of the league table thanks to the deadly combination of a leaky defense and a toothless attack, unable to put it together on both ends of the pitch at the same time. They have yet to win a Premier League match this season, and one more failure to secure three points would mark the first time in any league campaign that Watford failed to win any of its first 11 matches. The Hornets have improved defensively of late, conceding just one goal in their last three matches, but at the cost of the attacking threat, scoring just once in that span as well.

Injuries/suspensions

Watford: QUESTIONABLE – Isaac Success. OUT – Troy Deeney, Etienne Capoue, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley.

Chelsea: QUESTIONABLE – None. OUT – N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger (hip).


Projected lineups

Watford: Foster; Holebas, Dawson, Cathcart, Janmaat; Doucoure, Hughes; Deulofeu, Chalobah, Pereyra; Gray.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Alonso, Zouma, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Kovacic; Pulisic, Mount, Willian; Abraham.


What they’re saying

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores on current form: “It has been a lot of work, trying to get everybody together, to make sure the boys understand our predicament and the difficulties that can affect a team in this kind of situation, and to give them confidence and find solutions to problems.”

Chelsea boss Lampard on Watford’s situation: “I’m very much of the mindset that games become more dangerous with overconfidence. We must understand Watford and their quality. Last season their personnel was similar and they were getting big results, they made the FA Cup final. We cannot underestimate a team that will be hurting because they have not won for a while. They will have every ambition to win this game, so I’m even more focused on what we need to do.”


Prediction

These are two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to form. Chelsea should easily shake off the EFL Cup loss to Manchester United and run this Watford team ragged, with a 4-0 victory sending them back to London flying.

Wolves finally win, add to Watford’s woes

Leave a comment

Wolverhampton Wanderers secured their first victory of the Premier League season as they beat Watford 2-0 at Molineux on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Matt Doherty scored in the first half and his cross was knocked into his own net by Daryl Janmaat in the second half as Watford improved after the break but couldn’t cope with Wolves’ quality in attack.

The win moves Wolves on to seven points for the season, while Watford have just two and sit bottom.


3 things we learned 

1. Wolves back to their fluid best: Their first goal was reminiscent of last season as Wolves were patient and picked their passes and final ball perfectly. Wolves have struggled early in the season but they showed glimpses that their attacking fluidity is finally returning. The Europa League is a distraction, but any relegation fears Wolves fans had for this season will soon evaporate.

2. Defensive woes continue for Watford: The Hornets were their own worst enemies against Wolves as they failed to follow their runners and just couldn’t keep their shape. They are bottom of the table on one two points and have conceded 20 goals in seven games. This is a big, big project for Quique Sanchez Flores.

3. Lift-off for Nuno: He has hit out at his team, especially for their defensive displays, but Nuno Espirito Santo will be happy after this. His team were far from perfect and sat back a lot in the second half, but they got the job done. This feels like Wolves’ new season can finally get going.

Man of the Match: Matt Doherty – A marauding display from right back as he scored one and set up the other. Doherty was back to the form we saw him in last season. A tireless and selfless display.


Wolves were lively early on as Neto broke free and crossed for Jimenez but the Mexican star couldn’t get on the end of the ball.

Neto did provide an assist moments later as his clever run was picked out following a lovely team move, and his ball to the center of the goal was tapped home by Doherty. A wonderful team goal from Wolves.

Watford really struggled to cope with Wolves’ tempo and wide play, as Adama Traore then looked to have his cross blocked by a hand but no penalty kick was given.

After long stoppages as both Romain Saiss and Raul Jimenez went down for Wolves, the game lost its way in the first half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Watford improved in the second half and Rui Patricio was forced to save Holebas’ header and then denied Tom Cleverley with the follow up.

Wolves then put the result beyond doubt as another fine move out wide saw Doherty cross and Morgan Gibbs-White flicked the header into Janmatt who directed the ball into his own net.

Danny Welbeck then forced Patricio into a save but the win was fairly routine for Wolves, as they bagged their first victory of the season.

Cleverley: Watford ‘could smell’ Arsenal’s hesitancy in comeback

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Despite Arsenal’s 2-0 lead over winless Watford, there was something in the air at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Just ask Tom Cleverley.

“Arsenal were a bit tentative and we could smell that a bit,” said Cleverley, who scored one of two Watford goals

[ RECAP: Watford 2-2 Arsenal ]

What also stunk was Arsenal’s decision making in the second half.

On a day the Gunners were out shot 31-7 and being held in the match (again) by goalkeeper Bernd Leno, an elementary mistake by Sokratis Papastathopoulos and terrible block by David Luiz allowed Watford a 2-2 in Quique Sanchez Flores’ first match of his second stint as Hornets boss.

“I think the reaction of the players was the most important thing,” said Sanchez Flores. “It’s easy to be down when you are losing 2-0 to a team as good as Arsenal. But we never gave up and we tried to keep the energy. In the second half we played really well.”

Cleverley had a less shielded response to the comeback.

“I would have snatched your hand off for 2-2 at half-time but we should have won it in the end,” Cleverley said. “We can definitely build on this and go forward.”

Comical errors doom Arsenal in draw with inspired Watford

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Watford gave Quique Sanchez Flores a fine “re-debut” for the Hornets in thrilling fashion.

Well, maybe it’d be better said that Arsenal gave the manager his moment.

Arsenal made two silly mistakes in their own box, giving Watford a come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford out shot the Gunners 28-7, but needed big help to solve Bernd Leno.

The Gunners led on a pair of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goals scored 11 minutes apart in the first half, but Tom Cleverley and Roberto Pereyra had the answers thanks to grave errors from Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz.

Arsenal now sits seventh with eight points, while Watford remains 20th with two.


Three things we learned

1. Fullbacks on parade: Arsenal’s early lead came by their very different attack-minded fullbacks. Sead Kolasinac drove with power down the left to slip a ball to Aubameyang for the opening goal, while flying Ainsley Maitland-Niles found space on the right to cross for Aubameyang’s second. Beautiful stuff.

2. Leno bright early: Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno picked up where he left off in the North London Derby, making a number of key saves or claims as Watford came out the gates with brightness and purpose. He had little chance of stopping either Watford goal, and made a point-salvaging save on Abdoulaye Doucoure in stoppage time.

3. More laughs at the back:  Just when you thought Nicolas Otamendi had the “Worst Giveaway of the Weekend” award on lock down, enter Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The veteran defender couldn’t quite sense the danger in his pass to Guendouzi, could he?

David Luiz’s mistake was nearly as glaring, as he blocked Roberto Pereyra‘s 80th minute dribble into the 18. Pereyra wrong-footed Leno for 2-2.

Man of the Match: Aubameyang.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The first proper chance of the match was produced by Gerard Deulofeu, whose curling shot gave Bernd Leno a little trouble.

Leno then made a fine save on Tom Cleverley in the 11th minute to led to a corner, and had to stop another shot from the same players off the set piece.

The chances kept coming, with Deulofeu cueing up Jose Holebas for a shot that sailed well over the bar.

Arsenal went ahead 1-0 in the 21st minute through a powerful Sead Kolasinac dribble up field to find Aubameyang for a classy turn and finish.

The second goal was electric, with Ozil playing a role in the build-up to Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ perfect cross for Aubameyang.

A bad giveaway by Matteo Guendouzi opened the door for Watford, but the Hornets couldn’t challenge Leno.

A spicy affair saw a touch line skirmish between Holebas and Arsenal duo Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Watford pulled one back off a terrible giveaway from Sokratis, who gave Cleverley a wide open look at either side of Leno.

Then substitute Ismalia Sarr dragged a shot wide of the frame. Watford was knocking, and David Luiz opened the door with a block on Roberto Pereyra at the top of the 18. Pereyra fooled Leno and got the equalizer.