Bournemouth welcome fellow newcomers Watford in the Premier League on Saturday as Eddie Howe’s men look to bounce back from a defeat at Stoke City last weekend. As for the visitors, they will be seeking to snatch three points on the road after a fairly impressive start to life in the top flight that has left them in 13th place. Favorites for relegation at the start of the season, Bournemouth have had a mixed start to the Premier League.
Manager Eddie Howe would fairly be happy with the way his team has adapted to the Premier League as they notched up two wins from seven games. After collecting a promising win five games ago against West Ham United, Bournemouth have only managed to win once and Howe will know that the club will need to start putting together a few back-to-back wins if they want to ensure their safety. The Hornets are seemingly enjoying things at the moment as they were able to remain unbeaten in their first three Premier League encounters this season. They have also been impressive at the back, keeping three clean sheets in seven games. With Man United and Arsenal coming up, Flores will know a win away at Bournemouth would serve as a confidence booster for the upcoming fixtures. Bournemouth likewise, would want to maintain their decent start to the league and will look to go into the international break with a win on the board.
Manager Eddie Howe will be cursing his luck as he lost another key player to injury as striker Callum Wilson suffered a ruptured ACL at Stoke last week. The Cherries will also be without long term absentees Tyron Mings and Max Gradel as well as playmaker Harry Arter.
As for the visitors, Valon Behrami will be out as he serves the final game of his three-match suspension. Joel Ekstrand is still no closer to making a return from a long-term injury, but the doubtful Lloyd Doyley might be able to make a late push in order to give Flores something to think about at the back.
- Bournemouth have won just one of their last six league meetings with Watford (D2 L3) and just two of their last 14 (D4 L8).
- The last four league meetings between the two sides have seen a total of three penalties scored and two red cards.
- On home soil, the Cherries have now gone two games unbeaten in the league against Watford (W1 D1) after losing four of the five before that (D1).
- Bournemouth have kept a clean sheet in just one of their seven Premier League games this season.
- The Cherries have lost just one of their last 13 home league games (W7 D5).
- The Hornets have lost just one of their last 12 league games away from home (W8 D3), netting two or more goals 11 of those fixtures (26 goals in total).
- Watford’s seven top-flight games this season have produced just 11 goals in total (both for and against); a league-low figure.
- Eddie Howe’s side have run further than any other side in the top division this season (817km).
- Watford have used just two English players in the PL this season (Troy Deeney and Ben Watson) – a league-low figure, while Bournemouth have fielded a divisional-high 13 English players.
- Watford have posted the lowest chance conversion rate in the top-flight this season (7.9% – five goals from 63 shots).
Matt Ritchie – Bournemouth
Having played an influential role in Bournemouth’s promotion to the Premier League, the midfielder has had a decent start to the Premier League with the key highlight thus far being the wonder goal against Sunderland. He has also managed to get a passing success rate of 76.8 percent in the league. After having lost three key players to injury, manager Eddie Howe would look at Ritchie to take his side forward.
Odion Ighalo – Watford
Watford have arguably been far too reliant on Odion Ighalo, as the Nigerian, in sublime form, has scored four of their five Premier League goals this season. Ighalo, who has scored 20 goals in 2015 to make him the most prolific player in all four divisions of English football, has helped the newly-promoted side to wins over Newcastle and Swansea and three draws. Those results mean the Hornets sit 13th, outside the top half of the table on goal difference.
We knew it was not going to be easy in the Premier League, but we are happy with our start, I believe we have a team that can avoid relegation. We have a number of quality of players in our squad and I am sure we will only get better. The manager has ensured we are hard to beat and he has done a great job with the team. If we stay focused and keep working hard in every game, I know we can stay up.
…insisted the Nigerian. Manager Flores will once again depend on his main man to deliver against fellow newcomers to keep their good run going.
This could be a cracker of a game but Watford are likely to edge this one.
Bournemouth 1-2 Watford