It’s a battle for the points at both ends of the table in this early-season encounter, as Watford welcome struggling Hull City to Vicarage Road, and it will make a little piece of history, in that it will be the first time the two teams have faced each other in the Premier League.
Walter Mazzarri’s Hornets currently sit ninth in the Premier League, and will look to consolidate their place in the top ten with victory over the Tigers, who come off the back of five consecutive defeats. Hull subsequently sit 18th, and need something from this trip if they are to avoid being cut adrift of safety early in the season.
Watford are unbeaten in their last three (W1 D2), having taken a point following a 0-0 draw at Swansea last time out. They have made a steady start to their second season back in the top flight with three wins, three draws and three defeats, their three victories coming in their last six, which include the notable scalps of West Ham and Manchester United.
Hull meanwhile have found themselves caught up in trouble. Having made a reasonable start to the season, including a superb win at home to defending champions Leicester, five consecutive defeats for the Tigers has seen them plummet into the early-season relegation mire, with last week’s 2-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Stoke particularly damaging.
They are also haemorrhaging goals, having conceded two or more in their last five matches, including a shock 6-1 drubbing on the South Coast at the hands of Bournemouth a fortnight ago. Mike Phelan will be more than ware that he will need to reverse his side’s fortunes if he is to keep the manager’s job full time, and he will see his side’s trip to Watford as an ideal opportunity. The omens are with the visitors also, who have a strong record from their last six meetings with Watford in the Championship (W3, D2, L1).
Walter Mazzarri is expected to keep faith with the same starting eleven that secured a point at the Liberty Stadium last week, and thus they will keep with the Italian manager’s three-man defence, with the width provided by José Holebas and Juan Zuniga. Isaac Success is out, so the Hornets are likely to start with the familiar partnership of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney up front.
With Hull City decimated by injury and desperate for a result, Mike Phelan may employ a three-man defence of his own as he opted for against Stoke last week, Harry Maguire coming into the back three and pushing Ahmed Elmohamady out to the right. Adama Diomande is favourite to start up front with Abel Hernandez despite facing a violent conduct charge from the FA over an incident against Bristol City in midweek, with youngster Will Keane dropping to the bench. Robert Snodgrass will miss the trip with injury, so Sam Clucas is favourite to start on the left of midfield.
Watford predicted starting XI Hull City predicted starting XI
For Watford, Daryl Janmaat is rated doubtful following a shoulder problem, and is unlikely to be fit to start on Saturday. The hosts will also be without Stefano Okaka-Chuka, Jerome Sinclair, Kenedy, Isaac Success and Brice Djadjedje for Hull’s visit to Hertfordshire.
It hasn’t been good news on the injury front for visitors Hull either. Robert Snodgrass became the latest to join their ever growing injury-list this week, with Sam Clucas set to replace him on the left.
Mike Phelan will also be unable to call upon Greg Luer, Andrew Robertson, Dieumerci Mbokani, Brian Lenihan, Alex Bruce, Moses Odubajo and Allan McGregor.
Despite a stuttering start to the season. Watford have lost only one of their last six Premier League games and have secured back-to-back clean sheets away from home, which puts them in an ideal position going back to Vicarage Road this weekend against a Hull side who are languishing in the drop zone after five straight defeats.
Hull do come off the back of a victory in the EFL Cup in midweek following their triumph over Bristol City, and they have the omens of a good record at Vicarage Road, winning their on three of their last four visits. Watford are in the ascendancy though and with the form they are in, they should prove too much of a match for the beleaguered visitors. Our call is Watford 2-0 Hull City.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Don McDougall.