Southampton vs Watford: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Both Southampton and Watford will be looking to maintain their respective unbeaten starts to the new Premier League season when the two sides meet at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Mauricio Pellegrino has adjusted quickly to life in England at the Saints, securing five points in his opening three matches after draws against Swansea and Huddersfield and victory over West Ham.
And Marco Silva has enjoyed just as fruitful a start to his reign as Watford manager, securing a dramatic opening day draw with Liverpool before an impressive three points against Bournemouth.
As alluded to above Southampton have started the season in steady form under their new manager Pellegrino, securing five points from their opening three matches – a better tally than last season.
Yet they haven’t really been tested to the limit so far, with 0-0 draws against Swansea and Huddersfield coming against sides the Saints would have expected to secure three points against.
Even in their victory over ten-man West Ham they were slightly fortunate to escape with a win, coming late int he day courtesy of an injury-time penalty, and Watford could present a first real test of the year.
Marco Silva’s side have had a slightly trickier start to proceedings this campaign, securing a point against Liverpool in the dying moments before convincingly beating a strong Bournemouth side 2-0.
After their impressive start they would have aimed for another victory over newly-promoted Brighton at Vicarage Road last time out but, after going down to ten-men, a point seemed a fair result.
The big news regarding the hosts is that Virgil van Dijk, who has been subject to a host of speculation over the summer transfer window, is back training with the first-team and in contention for a start.
The Dutchman had been forced to train alone after handing in a transfer request but, despite well-documented interest from top-flight rivals, Southampton stood firm on their stance and didn’t sell.
Aside from that there are no fresh injury concerns as far as new boss Pellegrino is concerned, with record summer signing Mario Lemina deemed physically fit enough to take his place in the midfield.
For the visitors, deadline day signing Marvin Zeegelaar could be awarded his Watford debut following Miguel Britos’ suspension for a horrific two-footed lunge during the draw against Brighton.
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Match Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Watford
Both teams have started the season steadily, if unspectacularly, so far and neither side will want their unbeaten run to come to an end when the two meet at St Mary’s during Saturday afternoon.
Southampton have found it hard to score lately, being held to two 0-0 draws already by sides they would have expected to beat, and a compact Watford outfit might prove hard to break down again.
However, they have been equally solid at the back, and the duo of Andre Gray and Richarlison will be given the task of finding a way past a back-line that could potentially be strengthened by the return of Van Dijk.
It might not be a classic down on the south coast but it’s an intriguing encounter nonetheless, and on the face of it, it’s a match that will see two sides full of early season momentum cancel each other out.