Saturday, 18 January 2014

A chance to wipe away memories of Vicarage Road

It was Watford who were the first team this season to give the Cherries a sharp reminder of the finishing power of strikers in the Championship with a 6:1 victory in August. Tory Deeney tore into the Cherries in the second half of the away tie at Vicarage Road and picked up a hat-trick, while AFCB were left wondering what had hit them having been 1:1 at half time. While AFCB fared a little better a few weeks later in the League Cup when they fell 2:0 to the Hornets it still looked like there was a big gulf between the two teams, with Gianfranco Zola having his Championship play-off thoroughbreds and Italian imports humming.

Indeed, it all looked good early season for Watford but this league is relentless and as they started to lose form. Zola decided to call it a day, they head into this clash against the Cherries just one place and goal difference separating the two sides. I don't expect you would have too many takers for that being the case after the teams had met a couple of times in August. 

So what has happened to Watford? There problems seemed to start with the 2:3 defeat to Derby County in October. It started a run of poor home defeats against Leicester, Bolton, Yeovil Town and Sheffield Wednesday before a resounding 4:0 victory over Millwall, finally in December. Meanwhile, on the road they have been draw specialists cancelling out against Brighton, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Leeds and Ipswich. Worse still happened in their last league game when they lost 0:1 at home to Reading. Such form has landed Watford with a new manager and 15th place in the league, wondering if they are in a play-off or relegation battle.

Whether Giuseppe Sannino has ever visited the south coast before I don't know, but his team are likely to find a different kind of AFCB to the one they played back in August. Eddie Howe won't talk of revenge but underneath he will ensure that his players remember that early drubbing and look to repay the fans with a solid home performance. The Cherries will know that a win will push them well ahead of Watford in the table and that would be comfort enough for AFCB fans who only want their team to show improvement.

It's hard to predict this one but a few goals seem likely so I'm hoping for a 3:2 home win with Pitman bagging a hat-trick, to banish any disappointments that Grabban is on his way. 

Watford Away form:

AFCB Home form:

Want to know more about Watford? You can also read about the questions I put to the Forzawatford blog if you visit Rival Lines.

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