Two clubs that have established themselves in the Premier League go head-to-head at the Vitality Stadium tomorrow. Bournemouth and Watford were promoted to the top-flight together two years ago – the Cherries as Championship champions, the Hornets as runners-up – and have exceeded all expectations in the two subsequent seasons. Survival will once again be the priority for both outfits, who continue to enhance their reputations under the auspices of two young managers.
Bournemouth kicked off their campaign with a disappointing 1-0 reversal at West Bromwich Albion. Despite enjoying 70 per cent of possession at The Hawthorns, Eddie Howe’s men could not create enough clear-cut chances and left empty-handed. Watford picked up a point following a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool. Miguel Britos netted a controversial 93rd-minute equaliser to ensure Watford avoided defeat in Marco Silva’s first competitive match at the helm.
Skipper Simon Francis is rated extremely doubtful after injuring his hamstring at West Brom. Adam Smith, who came on as a substitute for Francis, is set to be promoted to the starting XI in his captain’s place. Jermain Defoe had to make do with a spot on the bench in the Midlands but could replace Benik Afobe. Silva has a defensive puzzle to solve with the news that Roberto Pereyra and Daryl Janmaat have both been ruled out, along with Younes Kaboul. A late decision will be made on striker Troy Deeney.
Match prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Watford
All four previous Premier League meetings between these two teams have ended in a draw – with both fixtures last season finishing 2-2. There should be goals on the south coast this time. However, in light of Watford’s crippling injury list, Bournemouth will fancy bagging their first victory of the campaign, perhaps by the odd goal in three.