Sunday’s opener should provide a real treat for fans as Bournemouth and Watford battle it out in what looks like a proper relegation six-pointer.
Eddie Howe’s men have been ravaged by injuries in recent months. That’s seen them pick up just four points from a possible 30 in their last ten games.
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The arrival of Nigel Pearson at Vicarage Road, on the other hand, has seen a resurgent Watford earn 10 points from a possible 15 under his guidance– on current form over their last ten games Watford would be comfortably mid-table, while Bournemouth would be rock bottom.
With all of this in mind and the fact both are equally desperate for the points, I have to lean towards Watford at the prices. Watford to win is 17/10 and worth taking.
One man who has been just as influential as Pearson in Watford’s recent form is Troy Deeney.
He’s bagged three goals in his last four appearances but he offers so much more to the team outside of goals. His return to the side has helped unleash the talents of their two exciting wide-men Ismaila Sarr and Gerard Deulofeu.
Expect Deeney to lead the line tirelessly again in this and cause havoc against a weakened Cherries backline.
While I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him for the first goal at 11/2 – I’ve found what I think looks another decent goalscorer angle.
Abdoulaye Doucoure finds himself in a far more advanced role these days in Pearson’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Although his scoring stats this season may not look much at first glance, most of his time has been spent deep in midfield doing hard defensive work.
The powerful midfielder is more than capable of getting on the end of things in the box and smashed one home last time out versus Wolves.
As previously mentioned, this looks like a proper six-pointer so both teams should be expected to be well up for it from the first whistle.
Watford have the third-worst disciplinary record in the league, averaging 2.2 Yellow Cards per game (2.5 per game under Pearson). I don’t expect Bournemouth to shy away from any of the rough stuff either as they will be desperate to get something in front of their home fans.
In addition, everyone’s favourite celebrity ref, Mike Dean will take charge – he tops the charts for Yellow Cards per game this season with 4.56.
With this in mind, I’d look to any of the Overs in the Card markets or even a Red Card to be shown. The Away Team Card Index – Watford Over 20 Points at 8/11 looks a certainty.
*All prices correct at time of publication