Watford visit Craven Cottage this weekend to face Fulham, the first time these teams have met since March, 2015 in the Championship. During that season Watford won both games, 1-0 at Vicarage Road and 5-0, three months earlier at Craven Cottage. History tells us, there will be goals in this contest, as both teams approach gameweek 5 off the back of a loss. Fulham have just one win in their first five matches and come off a 3-0 loss to Manchester City. Watford have been the “golden boys” of the Premier League, off to a 4-0-0 start before being denied by a last second save from David De Gea that saw Manchester United hold on for a 2-1 victory last week.
Javi Garcia continues to operate a 4-2-2-2 (4-4-2), playing Will Hughes out of position on the right flank, but giving him the option to come inside, allowing Daryl Janmaat to get forward. It’s been the partnerships through the middle of the pitch that have been very successful for the Hornets to date. Up front, captain, Troy Deeney and Andre Gray have combined for four goals this season, playing off each other and looking very successful.
The middle of the pitch has seen good interplay between Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure, as they have been able to control the ball, dropping deep to help the defenders, while being able to get forward, into the attack. Together, they have combined for three assists. The flanks have been manned by Hughes and Roberto Pereyra. Hughes continues occupying the right wing, as Gerard Deulofeu is still lacking fitness. Pereyra has been excellent, posting three goals, but hasn’t scored away from Vicarage Road since October 2017.
Fulham continue to struggle defensively, as they have conceded 12 goals this season. Every game this campaign has seen a minimum of two goals scored per game, as the Cottagers haven’t sorted out their defense yet. As seen last week, the midfield of Fulham struggled to contain Manchester City. Kevin McDonald and Jean Michael Seri will have their work cut out for them this week to slow down Capoue and Doucoure.
Look at Deeney and Gray to have a big day up front, if Fulham are not able to stop the Watford attack. Deeney has been very strong at getting at defenders, holding up the play, while Gray has proved the explosiveness, making some good runs. History is on the side of Deeney, who posted a hat trick back in 2015 when he last visited Craven Cottage.
If Fulham are to have any success, it will come up front with Alexsandar Mitrovic, who’s scored four goals to start the season. However, his goals came at the expense of Burnley and Brighton, who haven’t been the strongest defenses. Before the game against Manchester United, Watford had conceded just three goals, with a clean sheet on opening day. The defense pairing of Craig Cathcart and Christian Kabasele could be too much for the Serbian to handle.
I don’t look for Watford to have much trouble on the road this weekend and pick them to finish the game in fine fashion, to get back on winning ways. Final score Watford 3 Fulham 1.