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 Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Watford FC vs. Chelsea FC

Venue: Vicarage Road – Wednesday, February 3 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Watford 3/1 – Draw 9/4 – Chelsea 1/1

Match Preview

Watford host Chelsea in an intriguing Premier League clash on Wednesday night, with the London rivals separated by just five points going into the midweek matches.

The Hornets ended a four-game losing run by beating Newcastle 2-1 last time out, and followed that win up with a 1-0 FA Cup win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Watford have only scored four in their last five league games and will need Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney to pick back up again if they are to try and achieve a top half finish.

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Chelsea will arrive at Vicarage Road in high spirits as they extended their unbeaten run to nine games. Guus Hiddink has not lost a game since taking over and has the Blues looking better.

They beat MK Dons 5-1 in the FA Cup on Sunday and look to be on the rise again after an appalling first half of the season.

A top four finish looks to be out of the question but Chelsea know they need to win as many matches as possible to try and end the campaign on a high.

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John Terry will be leaving at the end of the season and the Blues captain is certain to rally the side each week as he will look to savour every last moment in a Chelsea shirt.

The reverse fixture ended 2-2 at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day and this one looks likely to contain more goals as both sides will look to attack from the off.

Team News

Watford have no new injury worries coming into this one. Lloyd Doyley is the only player out injured and so Quique Sanchez Flores will be able to pick what he thinks is the strongest possible side to go out and beat Chelsea for this one.

Chelsea will be sweating over the fitness of Willian, as the winger is a doubt with a foot injury. Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao are both likely to remain out so Diego Costa will need to lead the attack effectively once again. John Obi Mikel is likely to remain in the side after impressing since Hiddink took control.

Key Points

Watford’s last five: L/L/L/L/W

Chelsea’s last five: D/W/D/D/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have not lost since Guus Hiddink took control of the first-team in December, going unbeaten through nine straight games.

Key Player: Oscar – The Brazilian playmaker scored a first-half hat-trick for Chelsea in their 5-1 win at MK Dons on Sunday and will hope to make another impressive impact here.

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Score Prediction

Watford 1-2 Chelsea – This looks set to be another entertaining clash between two clubs who are looking to climb the table. Chelsea look strong again and will be tough to beat. Guus Hiddink has turned the club’s fortunes around and will likely oversee another victory in this one.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Swansea vs Watford

Competition: Premier League – Swansea City vs. Watford FC

Venue: Liberty Stadium – Date: Monday, January 18th – 20:00 GMT (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Swansea City 6/4 – Draw 21/10 – Watford 2/1

Match Preview

Swansea City host Watford in this week’s Monday night fixture in the Premier League, with both teams looking to get back to winning ways after midweek defeats.

With just one win since October, Swansea have plummeted down to 17th position and are just one point above the relegation zone following their 4-2 defeat at home to relegation rivals Sunderland  on Wednesday.

That result really hasn’t helped matters for the struggling Swans, as they suffered their fourth loss at home and tenth defeat this season.

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The one positive they can take away from the defeat to Sunderland is that they managed to score more than one goal in a match in the Premier League for the first time since a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth in November.

They will be looking to seal all three points here against stiff opposition in Watford before they embark on consecutive away games to Everton and West Brom in the next two weeks.

Watford are on a run of three defeats in a row in the league, and with no win in four matches, they have slipped down to tenth place after a fantastic run during December.

A 2-0 defeat on the road to Southampton on Wednesday saw them fail to score for the first time since October. They were poor in that game and didn’t really look like the attacking side we have seen so often this season.

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The slump has come after a remarkable December for the Hornets. They picked up 10 points from a possible 15 last month, earning manager Quique Sanchez Flores the Manager of the Month award for December.

Odion Ighalo scooped the Player of the Month award and he will now need to reignite his impressive impressive partnership with Troy Deeney as they look to hurt a vulnerable Swansea defence to keep them on course for the top ten finish they will desperately want to attain.

The reverse fixture at Vicarage Road saw Watford win 1-0 thanks to an Odion Ighalo strike back in September. This will be the first game between the two in Wales since the pair played out a 1-1 draw during their Championship campaign in 2011.

Team News

Swansea City have no injuries to report, but Kyle Naughton looks set to miss out through suspension after picking up a red card against Sunderland that many perceived as harsh.

Watford have no fresh injury concerns. Lloyd Doyley is still sidelined with a neck injury, while Joel Ekstrand is also missing with an ACL injury. Nathan Ake is back from suspension and might return to the starting lineup.

Key Points 

Swansea’s last five: D/W/D/L/L

Watford’s last five: W/D/L/L/L

Key Stat: The last time the two teams played out a 0-0 draw was back in 1921, so expect goals in this one.

Key Player: Andre Ayew – The Ghanaian winger got amongst the goals against Sunderland with his seventh of the season and his fifth at the Liberty Stadium. He will need to be at his best on Monday night if Swansea are to get out of this horrid run of form.

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Score Prediction 

Swansea City 1-1 Watford – A draw seems the most likely outcome, with both teams likely to get on the scoresheet. A win for either side will be huge, more so for Swansea, but Watford are solid at the back and don’t concede often. Score draw.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Watford

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Watford

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, December 26 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Watford 13/2

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Watford to Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day in the Premier League, a team they know have the ability to cause them problems in this troublesome time for the club.

The home side picked up a much needed three points last weekend against Sunderland but the same problems continued to show, as they conceded a number of good opportunities to the away side.

The atmosphere surrounding the club and in the stadium is poisonous at the moment, the best thing Chelsea fans can do is get behind the team here and they will be hoping for a win in Guus Hiddink’s first game in charge in his second spell at the club.

The fans are clearly unhappy with Roman Abramovich’s decision to sack José Mourinho and vented their frustration during last weekends win. Every game is a must win for Chelsea at the moment, but this is going to be a tough task.

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Watford will come to Stamford Bridge full of confidence. Their impressive 3-0 win over Liverpool last weekend is nothing more than they deserve.

The strike partnership of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo is proving to be too much to handle for most clubs and they will look to get a Chelsea defence with no confidence.

Watford have won their last four games on the bounce and will be very satisfied with their position of seventh in the Premier League.

This could be a historic result for the Hornets and we expect them to maintain their professional outlook to the game despite how well they have been performing of late.

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Team News

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Radamel Falcao remain the only notable players who could miss out.

Watford will be without Nathan Ake, who is unavailable for selection against his parent club, Sebastian Prodl is a doubt, while Joel Ekstrand, Tommy Hoban and Rene Gilmartin all look set to miss out.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Watford’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Form – Watford have won their last four on the bounce including the destruction of Liverpool last weekend, they’ll be up for this one.

Key Player: Odion Ighalo – Watford’s goal machine has already netted 12 this season and will be looking to cause trouble to the shaky Chelsea defence.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Watford – Given Chelsea’s struggles a draw is a result they couldn’t have too many complaints about against heading into this tie against an inform Watford side full of confidence. The fans will expect a win and will certainly be on top of their under-performing stars once again.

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.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Watford vs Crystal Palace

Competition: Premier League – Watford vs. Crystal Palace

Venue: Vicarage Road – Sunday, September 27 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Watford 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – Crystal Palace 19/10

Match Preview

Watford host Crystal Palace in Sunday’s only Premier League clash this weekend with both sides looking to continue solid starts to the new season.

Watford have surprised many with the start they have made. They look well organised and play free-flowing football. Back-to-back wins against Swansea and Newcastle set them up well for this one and Quique Flores will be confident his side can remain in the top half of the table come the end of the weekend.

The Hornets have not conceded a league goal at home this season and have only lost to Manchester City – something few will feel reflects badly on the promoted side.

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Crystal Palace will have to be at their very best to seal three points on the road this week and will look to end a two-game losing streak in the process.

1-0 losses to Manchester City and Tottenham have slowed Palace’s strong start but they will still expect to win games like this and will see it as a great opportunity to get back on track.

They beat London rivals Charlton 4-1 on Wednesday night in the League Cup and will look to find the net as frequently in this one.

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This will be the first meeting between the two sides since the Championship playoff final in 2013. Palace won that game 1-0 to secure their promotion and so this should be quite a contest.

Team News

Watford are likely to keep the same side that beat Newcastle last weekend. Valon Behrami is suspended once more, while Lloyd Doyley and Joel Ekstrand remain sidelined through injury.

Crystal Palace have several injury concerns going into this one. Kwesi Appiah and Joel Ward are out, while Marouane Chamakh, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Connor Wickham and Mile Jedinak are doubts.

Key Points

Watford’s last five: D/D/L/W/W

Crystal Palace’s last five: L/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: Watford have not conceded a goal at home in the Premier League this season.

Key Player: Troy Deeney – The Watford striker may not have scored this season yet, but he has three assists and caused the Newcastle defence plenty of problems last weekend. Expect him to be a threat throughout.

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Score Prediction

Watford 1-1 Crystal Palace – Difficult to see either side winning this one and it should be a tight contest. Both sides will expect to find the net but we have this down as a draw.

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United to HIJACK Arsenal target, Liverpool’s Real Madrid swoop & Britton to MLS

Daily transfer roundup (Monday, June 1)

MLS Rumours

Swansea City‘s Leon Britton is being linked with a move away from the club after limited playing time and Major League Soccer is a possible destination. (REPORT)

Former Liverpool hero, John Arne Riise, is on the verge of signing for Philadelphia Union with Renee Mulensteen playing a key role in the move. (REPORT)

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Oguchi Onyeywu‘s future with New York City FC remains uncertain. The defender has been on a week trial with the club but they are yet to decide whether or not to sign him on a permanent basis. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United are set to hijack Arsenal‘s move for Southampton‘s Morgan Schneiderlin who is seen as a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick. (REPORT)

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Chelsea have moved into pole position to sign £57m rated Paul Pogba from Juventus. The Frenchman has attracted interest from Europe’s elite clubs. (REPORT)

Liverpool are plotting a £10.5m move for Real Madrid goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, as Los Blancos are preparing for David de Gea to become their number one. (REPORT)
Done Deals
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Watford have completed the signing of Werder Bremen defender Sebastian Prodl. The 27-year-old free agent is Watford’s first signing since their return to the top flight. (REPORT)