EPL: Watford v Bournemouth Preview


Our writer previews the EPL meeting between Watford and Bournemouth on Saturday. 

Walter Mazzari’s Hornets have been something of a Jekyll and Hyde proposition thus far this season. Mazzari’s switch to a 5-3-2 formation seems to have generally worked, especially when you look at the transformation of Etienne Capoue as a midfield force.

Bournemouth will not be distracted by murmurs of a potential managerial shake-up. The ripples of the Sam Allardyce's debacle have seen Eddie Howe linked with the England gig. Flattered as he may be, Howe is a consummate professional who won’t be looking a minute beyond their trip to Watford this week.

Watford v Bournemouth | Saturday 1 October | Vicarage Road | 16:00

To Win (90 Mins) 
Watford 13/10 | Draw 9/4 | Bournemouth 43/20 

The likes of Craig Cathcart and Miguel Britos have really thrived under the new system implemented this season. It seems to allow a slight concession of pace through the middle while sides are encouraged to try get beyond their progressive full-backs. Holebas has been particularly impressive when storming down the left-hand side.

Bournemouth do have pace in the wide areas, with Jordan Ibe and Junior Stanislas looking to get behind Watford. That is an area that Mazzari will look to address. The combative midfield presence of Valon Behrami is critical to the side, dropping in to cover should the opposition get beyond the full-backs.

Etienne Capoue’s recent goal-scoring glut has been a direct result of the tactical changes in the side. He has been allowed to venture forward and support the strike partnership of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo. The Surman’s and Arter’s of this world will need to be aware of the ex-Spurs player’s late runs into the box.

 A potentially excellent battle will be between Charlie Daniels and Roberto Pereyra. Daniels loves to get forward but may need to show slightly more nuance as Pereyra loves to exploit vacated space. Just look at the way he murdered Arthur Masuaku in that 4-2 demolition of West Ham.

The Bournemouth formula is a fairly simple one. Try to remain as compact without possession as humanly possible while counterattacking as swiftly as they can. In Ibe and Stanislas they possess the pace that can exploit this 3-5-2 system. Max Gradel could also threaten off the bench while Callum Wilson is no slouch leading the line. Artur Boruc has also been sensational in goal, with one save in particular against Romelu Lukaku encapsulating his growing presence as a Premier League keeper.

Jack Wilshere has transitioned well into Eddie Howe’s side. He plays in a more advanced role that he so often yearned for in Arsenal red. Ironies come easily in the hurly-burly of the Premier League. He will be looking to identify lapses in concentration on the part of Capoue and Behrami.

Behrami’s well-earned reputation for petulance could come under scrutiny through the twinkle-toed pyrotechnics of Wilshere. All in all, Bournemouth will feel quietly confident that they can come away from London with another positive result.

Verdict: Both Teams To Score - Yes - (17/20)

Bournemouth have looked dangerous in recent weeks, with Wilshere clearly adding a sense of calm in possession of the football. Watford have also benefited from the presence of Pereyra and the resurgence of Capoue. I can’t see either defence remaining untouched. I find it hard to separate them in terms of the ultimate result, but Both Teams To Score is likely. 

Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets

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