Two teams in poor form meet at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, as Brighton take on Watford. After a solid start to the season, Brighton have hit the buffers recently, and could do with a win to ease their relegation fears. Watford have only picked up one point from their last five Premier League games, with their European hopes now looking a distant memory.
Brighton’s last win came seven weeks ago away to Swansea, and the scorer in that game, Glenn Murray, had the chance to secure all three points last time out against Burnley. However, he wastefully blazed his first half penalty over the crossbar as the Seagulls went on to draw 0-0. Their frontline will need to be more clinical if they are to secure three points this weekend.
Watford haven’t looked the same since fervent speculation started over Marco Silva’s possible departure to Everton last month. A bad run culminated in an atrocious 4-1 home defeat to Huddersfield last Saturday, with club captain Troy Deeney picking up a brainless red card in the process. Will the Hornets be stung into action by last week’s humiliation?
Anthony Knockaert was arguably Brighton’s star player last season, but he has been outshone by new signing Pascal Gross since their promotion. He only has one goal and one assist in 17 Premier League games so far. However, Watford will be wary of his pace and trickery, having faced him several times in The Championship.
Tom Cleverley had started this season well and was a key cog in Watford’s midfield machine. However, his missed penalty in the 100th minute cost the Hornets a point at Goodison Park in November and a silly red card late on last week against Crystal Palace was the catalyst for a last-gasp defeat at Selhurst Park. He will be looking to avenge those errors as he returns to the team on Saturday.
Brighton have generally been solid at the back this season, but they will have to do without key defender Shane Duffy on Saturday. He is suspended after having picked up five yellow cards in league competition. The only other likely absentee is Steve Sidwell, who is still suffering the effects of a long-term back injury.
Watford’s squad has been decimated by injury and suspension. Deeney, Marvin Zeegelaar and Abdoulaye Doucoure are all banned from this fixture due to their various indiscretions. Their defence is looking especially skeletal, with Craig Cathcart, Younes Kaboul, Kiko Femenia and Miguel Britos all expected to be missing. Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah are out too, with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.
This game is difficult to call but Watford’s threadbare squad could prove fatal to their hopes of winning. Brighton haven’t won at home in the Premier League since September, but this could be the perfect opportunity for them. A narrow 1-0 victory for the Seagulls looks to be a good bet.
Kick Off: Saturday 23rd December @ 3pm