Premier League Preview and Prediction: Watford vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Watford FC Vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Vicarage Road – Saturday, March 5 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Watford 2/1 – Draw 23/10 – Leicester City 7/5

Match Preview

Watford host Premier League leaders Leicester City on Saturday evening, in a crucial fixture for the visitors at the top of the table.

Leicester could be behind Tottenham by the time this one kicks off, so the Foxes will be looking for all three points in what looks a tough game.

Watford have struggled in recent weeks, having picked up just one league win in their last five, and have fallen out of the top half as a result. But they are a tough side to break down and are only three points from getting back into the top ten, which is testament to how solid they’ve been this season.

Quique Sanchez Flores’s side come into this one off the back of the 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on Wednesday night. They were unlucky to lose that match late on but home comforts will increase their chances of success this time around.

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Striking duo Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney have mustered up just one goal at home since the turn of the year. So they need to find their feet if Watford are to recapture their form during the final stretch of the campaign.

Leicester City played out a 2-2 draw with West Brom on Tuesday night, which at the time didn’t seem great, but results on Wednesday suggest the point was certainly a valuable one, as their title rivals failed to deliver. Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City all lost and so the Foxes remain at the top of the table heading into the weekend.

Leicester are able to solely focus on the league as they are out of the FA Cup and have no European commitments. They have five more games to play away from home, with tricky trips to Chelsea and Manchester United still to come.

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They do, however, have the best away record in the top flight and will hope to keep that intact with three points on Saturday.

Jamie Vardy is still the league’s top scorer and would love to find the net against Watford again just as in did in the corresponding fixture, which saw the Foxes win 2-1 at the King Power Stadium in November.

Team News

Watford look set to be without Jose Manuel Jurado, Joel Ekstrand and Tommy Hoban as all three are injured. Nathan Ake will hope to return at left-back after missing the defeat at United on Wednesday.

Leicester City will continue to be without key midfielder N’Golo Kante, who suffered a hamstring injury against Arsenal three weeks ago. Andy King is expected to deputise as he did against West Brom. Matty James is also out. Shinji Okazaki will hope to start ahead of Leonardo Ulloa once more.

Key Points

Watford’s last five:  D/L/W/D/L

Leicester City’s last five: W/W/L/W/D

Key Stat: Watford have only lost at home to Leicester once in seven games at Vicarage Road.

Key Player: Troy Deeney – The Hornets captain will be out to inflict damage on a title-chasing Leicester side here. He scored the vital goal in the incredible 2013 playoff semifinal clash between the two and would love to be the man to hurt the Foxes again. Deeney could even get himself into the England national team picture with Wayne Rooney injured.

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Score Prediction 

Watford 1-1 Leicester City – This will be a tough game for title-chasing Leicester as Watford are a tough nut to crack and often shut out opponents very well. The Foxes might need a moment of magic to seal three points but it’s too tight to call, so a score draw is the most likely result.

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Arsenal looking to beat United and Chelsea to £20m Prem striker – report

Arsenal are looking to bolster their attack this summer and are hoping to lure Watford striker Odion Ighalo to the Emirates if they can beat off competition from Premier League rivals.

Arsene Wenger is reportedly looking to bolster his frontline in the coming months but does not necessarily want to make a ‘superstar’ signing, although Ighalo could cost up to £20 million, according to the Daily Mirror.

The 26-year-old Nigerian striker has been a real success following Watford’s return to the top flight, scoring 14 goals in a fine campaign so far.

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That form has turned heads across Europe, with reports suggesting Manchester United, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are also keeping tabs on the powerful frontman.

Arsenal currently have three options in attack, with Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud all able to lead the Gunners’ attack.

Giroud is currently Wenger’s first-choice but Ighalo has netted two more league goals than the Frenchman this term and could be a surprisingly good addition to the Arsenal squad.

Table: A comparison of Olivier Giroud and Odion Ighalo's key statistics from the 2015/16 Premier League season (via WhoScored.com)

Table: A comparison of Olivier Giroud and Odion Ighalo’s key statistics from the 2015/16 Premier League season (via WhoScored.com)

As the table above shows, Ighalo has registered more shots than Giroud, while also boasting a better strike conversion rate this season.

The Frenchman may have one more assist, but it’s the Watford star who has made more key passes than his fellow Premier League attacker, while also proving to be better when passing to teammates.

Ighalo has four years left on his current Watford contract but the Hornets would reportedly be willing to accept an offer of around £20 million this summer.

Would Odion Ighalo be a good signing for Arsenal?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Watford vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Watford vs. Manchester United 

Venue: Vicarage Road – Saturday, November 21 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Watford 100/30 – Draw 9/4 – Manchester United 10/11

Match Preview

Watford host Manchester United in the midday Premier League clash on Saturday with the Red Devils aiming to go top of the table for at least a couple of hours.

Watford haven’t been great at home recently, having only won once in their last three matches at Vicarage Road. That being said, they currently sit 11th in the table and are only one point behind Liverpool – something few would have predicted after 12 games.

For a side that is still settling into the top flight under new manager Quique Sanchez Flores, Watford have worked wonders and have exceeded expectations as they look to establish themselves as a Premier League club.

Watford’s Premier League record: P12 – W4 – D4 – L4 

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Much of their success so far has come down to the magnificent form of Odion Ighalo, who has been sensational in front of goal. The striker has contributed to a sensational 64% of their total goals tally with seven and looks a constant danger to opposition defences.

Manchester United have come under some stick recently as they’ve been branded as ‘boring’ by critics. With the best defence in the Premier League, having only conceded eight goals, Louis Van Gaal won’t be too concerned with any criticism being aimed at his side even though they have struggled in attack.

They remain unbeaten in their last four and are still occupying a top four spot. But they need to pick their form back up as they have only scored twice in their last three league outings.

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One thing for certain under Louis Van Gaal is that Manchester United will be hard to beat. The fabric of the club has changed and they have become a more possession-based, defensively sound team.

Manchester United’s record in the Premier League: P12 W7 D3 L2 

This will be the first meeting between the two clubs since 2007. Watford are faced with trying to beat United for the first time since 1986 here and will need to end a nine-game losing streak to stand any chance.

Team News

Watford are still missing Joel Ekstrand, while Jose Jurado Marin is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

Manchester United will be without Michael Carrick, Anthony Martial, Paddy McNair, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw through injury. Chris Smalling, James Wilson and Marouane Fellaini are all doubts.

Key Points

Watford’s last five: D/L/W/W/L

Manchester United’s last five: L/W/D/D/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have won the last nine meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

Key Player: Juan Mata – The Red Devils’ playmaker has been quiet recently, even though he converted a penalty kick last time out against West Brom, so expect him to be looking to add a creative spark on Saturday as he looks to return to form.

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Score Prediction

Watford 1-2 Manchester United – We expect a low scoring game with United looking to dominate possession, even though they’re away from home. Watford should make a game of this as they tend to play with no fear, but we still expect United to take away three points as they possess a far stronger squad and are in fairly good form.