Watford vs Southampton Match Preview.
Unbeaten and above Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table. Who would have thought that back in May, when the Hornets gained promotion to the Premier League?
Yet Watford head in to Sunday’s game against Southampton with two points on the board and they lie above Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the table, with the Golden Boy’s not tasting defeat during their opening two games in the top-flight.
The Hornets have not looked out of place in the Premier League in their two draws against Everton and West Brom respectively and have been the better side in both games. If Watford had defeated their opponents in either game, I don’t think neither team could have any complaints.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ men enter this weekend’s match in 12th position in the table, whist their opponents Southampton, sit in 17th, after a draw and a defeat in their opening two games.
Southampton are managed by former Barcelona and Netherlands international Ronald Koeman, who has done a sterling job since he took over last summer.
In his first term at the St Mary’s Stadium, Koeman guided the Saints to a 7th placed finish, guaranteeing them Europa League football this season.
Their free-flowing and attacking football earned the Saints a number of points and admirers along the way, with Southampton proving themselves to be one of the toughest sides to face in the Premier League.
Koeman also blooded a number of the Saints young stars and also nurtured the talents of Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin last season, who both secured big-money moves to Liverpool and Manchester United respectively this summer.
Whilst Graziano Pelle grabs the headlines down at the St Mary’s Stadium, it is Sadio Mane who I feel will be the key player for the Saints on Sunday.
The livewire winger proved himself to be a huge hit in the Premier League, as he scored 10 goals for Ronald Koeman’s men, in 32 appearances.
In the process, the Senegalese international, also smashed the record that was set by Robbie Fowler for the fastest hat-trick to be scored in the Premier League. His pace and power caused opposition full-backs a number of problems and his performances for the Saints, have reportedly earned him the attentions of Manchester United, who have apparently bid £25 Million for the former Red Bull Salzburg man.
Sunday’s game will be a tough test for the Hornets, against one of the best attacking sides in the Premier League. However, it seems it could be an ideal time for the Golden Boy’s to face the Saints, considering that the South Coast side come off the back of a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Everton last weekend and an unremarkable 1-1 draw with Midtjylland, in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Therefore, this weekend’s game against Ronald Koeman’s side, will be a test of the Hornets Premier League credentials, but if the Golden Boys can replicate the performances that they have produced during their opening two matches of the season, then they will put themselves in a great position to come away with some points.
For Watford, Giedrius Arlauskis and Miguel Britos are available, after serving both served their two match suspensions. Alessandro Diamanti could make his Watford debut, should Watford receive his international clearance. Chelsea loanee Nathan Ake, could also feature.
For Southampton, Ryan Bertrand and Jordy Clasie will miss the game through injury. Fraser Forster is a long term absentee. The Saints will assess their squad, after their Europa League exploits this week.
Predicted Team Line-ups
Watford – Gomes (GK), Nyom, Prodl, Cathcart, Holebas, Capoue, Behrami, Anya, Ighalo, Jurado, Deeney ©
Southampton – Stekelenburg (GK), Soares, Yoshida, Fonte ©, Targett, Wanyama, Romeu, Mane, Ward-Prowse, Long, Pelle.
Referee – Andre Marriner.