AFC Bournemouth vs Watford Match Preview.
Watford head to the Goldsands Stadium tonight to play Bournemouth in front of the Sky Sports cameras, as they look to build on their two victories at Vicarage Road in recent weeks, and close the game to the top two to just one point.
Watford come into the game in 6th place and a win could see them reduce the gap to 1st place Bournemouth to just 1 point.
During the match earlier this season at Vicarage Road, Ian Harte missed a first half penalty for the Cherries, before Harry Arter put Bournemouth ahead with a stunning strike into the top corner shortly after the hour mark. Substitute Craig Cathcart, snatched a point for the Hornets in the 83rd, with a fantastic volley on his debut for the Watford since joining from Blackpool in the summer.
Eddie Howe is the manager of the Cherries, and he has done an excellent job so far in what is Bournemouth’s second season in the Championship following their promotion from League 1 during the 2012/13 season. Many thought the loss of Lewis Grabban would have a big impact on the South Coast outfit, however the astute signing of Callum Wilson as well as the form of Harry Arter, Matt Richie and Yann Kermorgant, has seen the Cherries flying high in 1st place, and they now look serious promotion contenders.
Callum Wilson will be the key player for Bournemouth tonight in the clash between the two sides, and the Hornets know only to well how much of a menace he can be. He caused the Watford defence a variety of problems during the game between the two sides earlier this season, and can prove to be deadly when giving the opportunity, having netted 14 goals in 28 appearances this season for the club.
Tonight’s game against Bournemouth will be a true test of the Hornets promotion credentials. Their performance during the 2nd Half against Blackpool was simply stunning, and to put 7 goals past a team in 30 minutes is astonishing, and if the Hornets were to replicate this performance across 90 minutes tonight, then they stand a good chance of winning. The Hornets start to the game last week however, was not good enough and that is something that they will need to improve on.
If the Hornets want to be serious promotion contenders, then tonight’s game is one that they need to be winning or gain a decent result from. If the Golden Boys play at the level that we have seen in glimpses this season, then Watford will stand a good chance of piling on the pressure on the other teams around them.
For Bournemouth, Eddie Howe is likely to have Tokelo Rantie available after South Africa were eliminated from the Africa Cup Of Nations.
For Watford, Slavisa Jokanovic has no new injury concerns. Joel Ekstrand, Fernando Forestieri, Almen Abdi and Sean Murray are all unavailable for the Golden Boys, although it is hoped that Forestieri and Abdi will return to training next week.
Predicted Team Line-ups
AFC Bournemouth – Boruc (GK), Francis, Elphick ©, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Surman, Arter, Pugh, Wilson, Pitman.
Watford – Gomes (GK), Cathcart, Angella, Hoban, Layun, Munari, Tozser, Watson, Anya, Deeney ©, Ighalo
Referee – Lee Probert