Southampton have the opportunity to bounce back from their EFL Cup disappointment against Watford this weekend. It is important that they start to climb the table as they are a few losses away from being dragged into the relegation fight. Although they are too good to go down, they need to record some wins to remove any doubt. Meanwhile, Watford are once again secure in mid-table and will be looking for another good home result this weekend.
The home side are one place above the Saints and they have the opportunity to climb as high as ninth position. Walter Mazzarri is an ambitious manager and he will be looking to get the most out of his squad. Last season, the Hornets collapsed somewhat during the second half of the season and it is important that they don’t make the same mistakes this campaign. They have a better record at home and they will be confident of taking the three points this weekend.
The Saints have a game in hand over their opposition this weekend, but their league form hasn’t been as impressive as in recent years. They enjoyed their EFL Cup run and were unlucky not to win the trophy. However, they must now refocus on the league and they will want to finish the season in the top half to maintain their positive momentum. Claude Puel’s men are currently in 13th place and supporters will be expecting the team to climb the table over the coming weeks.
The Hornets have lost only once in their last six matches, but they have failed to kill matches off. Their defence remains an issue as they haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last five league matches. This will provide Southampton with some hope, as their attack has improved significantly since the arrival of Manolo Gabbiadini. It is going to be a tough match for Watford, but they can beat anybody at Vicarage Road and they should be confident.
Southampton need to improve their league form, as they have lost six of their last eight. However, that was partly due to the team being focused on the EFL Cup final. Now that it has passed, they can completely focus on the league and that must start with a win this weekend. They won their last league match convincingly away at Sunderland and a similar performance at Watford is required.
Mauro Zarate was forced off last weekend with an injury, therefore he won’t feature this weekend. Isaac Success is one option to replace him and his dynamism could add something extra to the Watford attack.
Southampton aren’t expected to make any changes this weekend as the team that started the EFL Cup final performed excellently. They were the better team on the day and Claude Puel will be hoping that they can replicate that performance against Watford.
Costel Pantilimon and Daryl Janmaat should be fit to be a part of the matchday squad. Roberto Pereyra, Mauro Zarate, Ben Watson, Christian Kabasele and Nordin Amrabat are all set to miss out.
Virgil van Dijk, Charlie Austin, Matt Targett and Jeremy Pied are all injured, which means they won’t be available for the visitors.
This is a difficult match to call as there is only one place separating the two sides. Southampton will be keen to get back to winning ways and start to move on from their EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United. They have a great opportunity to do so against Watford, as the Hornets are leaky at the back and have lacked the creativity to kill matches off. The Saints have a good defensive record and now have a quality striker in Gabbiadini. They should be considered narrow favourites for the match at Vicarage Road.
Score prediction: Watford 1-2 Southampton