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Nov 28, 2019, 3:30:00 PM

Preview: Watford target victory at fellow strugglers Southampton

Sportsbet.io previews Watford FC’s away fixture against Southampton in the Premier League.

Southampton, who ended a run of four consecutive defeats with a 2-2 draw at Arsenal, entertain Watford at the St. Mary’s Stadium this Saturday. The Saints are on the verge of scripting history for the wrong reasons, and Ralph Hasenhuttl must weave out an effective strategy to defy the odds against them.

Watford hit rock-bottom following a 3-0 defeat to Burnley and must regain composure to record consecutive away wins for the first time since September 2017. The Hornets have some heavyweight games up ahead and victory at St. Mary’s will serve as a timely boost to under-fire manager Quique Sanchez Flores.

Head-to-Head

Southampton and Watford have faced each other on ten occasions, with the Saints (three wins) commanding a narrow lead over the Hornets (two wins) in the head-to-head record. The last three encounters have ended on equal terms, the most recent seeing Watford come from behind to draw 1-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium.

Key Battle

Despite their inefficient displays, Southampton have failed to score only twice in all competitions this term. Danny Ings, the top scorer for the Saints in the 2019-20 Premier League, has continued his resurgence since he sealed a permanent move from Liverpool. The former Burnley striker is closing on his personal best (11 league goals in the 2014-15 season) and is tipped to open the scoring against Watford.

The Hornets have leaked 26 goals, including three second-half strikes against Burnley on the last matchday, and Adrian Mariappa must stitch a formidable act to prevent further defensive shambles. The 33-year-old Jamaican defender will spearhead the Watford defence this matchday and is primed to ensure the visitors pick up a clean sheet from their trip to Southampton.

Gamechanger

Watford’s forward setup has failed to deliver consistently this term hence the pressure is building up on Quique Sanchez Flores to find the missing piece of the puzzle. Andre Gray, the only fit outright striker at present, must rescue the club from stuttering to new lows by leading the Hornets to a second straight away victory in the Premier League. The 28-year-old English striker featured on the goal sheet against Norwich and is well-placed to play out a superhero role against Southampton this weekend.

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Words: William Paul

Images: PA