Watford v Bournemouth
Saturday 20 September, 12:15
Live on Sky Sports 1
Sky's cameras give a wider audience the first chance of the season to see one of the division's most attractive footballing sides as they visit Vicarage Road and a team I fully expect to be in the top six come the end of the season. They made hard work of winning at rock-bottom Blackpool on Tuesday night - only a second-half penalty from Matej Vydra separated the sides and they needed the home team to miss the chance to equalise from the spot late on.
A few days earlier they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Charlton, enjoying plenty of possession but Troy Deeney, in particular, left his shooting boots at home. Of the Hornets 14 shots just four were on target and it was a similar story at Bloomfield Road with the visitors unable to turn their superiority into goals.
They've been in fine fettle at home so far though - with convincing wins over the bottom third trio Bolton, Huddesfield and Leeds, scoring 11 goals in the process, conceding just three. A front three of Deeney, Vydra and Fernando Forestieri (who's missed the last two games through injury) is one of if not the best attack in the Championship so Garcia's men should never be short of goals.
Eddie Howe's men find themselves in mid-table as they come into this game, amidst signs they may be suffering a little from 'second-season syndrome' as teams don't make the mistake of underestimating them again. The Cherries have not won in five league games now and have not managed to keep a clean sheet in any of their Championship fixtures this season, although Howe claims it's individual mistakes which are hurting them rather than their overall performances.
On Tuesday night, they took an early lead at home to Leeds and dominated the first 45 minutes but were punished for failing to add to their tally as the visitors produced a superb second-half comeback to win 3-1, highlighting the problems that need to be addressed at the back. Losing star striker Lewis Grabban to Norwich over the summer was obviously a major blow but his replacement Callum Wilson, snapped up from Coventry, has already netted five times (four in the league). His partner in attack Yann Kermogant is the perfect foil, leading the line, strong in the air and a constant menace to opposition defenders.
Away from home they started with that resounding 4-0 win at Huddersfield then a narrow 3-2 defeat at Blackburn and a respectable point at Norwich so they certainly have the potential to play a their part in proceedings here but it's not the ideal place to visit when in the middle of a poor run.
Watford have won three from three at home - and very comfortably too although admittedly against bottom-half sides. However, despite Howe's protestations, Bournemouth are a mid-to-lower table side this season, in my book, and coming into this game on a run of five league games without a win, there will be a few doubts creeping into the minds of his men.
The Hornets haven't fired in front of goal in their last two games, despite playing their usual brand of flowing football, but with the Sky cameras in attendance, this could be their chance to put that right and convert the chances they are creating. At better than evens, the 2.3211/8 on offer seems a very decent price for a home win. Three points would put them top of the table, for a few hours at least, and it has to be the recommended best bet here.
Deeney was linked with several Premier League clubs over the summer but delighted the Vicarage Road faithful by signing a new four-year contract. He's scored in each of his side's three home games so far this season and having squandered a hatful of opportunities at Charlton last week can make amends by taking advantage of Bournemouth's suspect defence and getting his name on the scoresheet once again.
There is some serious attacking talent in this year's Championship, with the likes of Forest's Britt Assombalonga and Lewis Grabban at Norwich leading the way, so Deeney will be keen to remind viewers and any watching top-flight scouts of his abilities. The Watford skipper usually takes penalties but at Bloomfield Road stepped aside to allow Vydra the chance to get on the scoresheet - let's hope Deeney grabs the ball should the Hornets be awarded a spot kick here!
Back Watford to win at 2.3211/8
Back Troy Deeney to score at the best available price
For the return fixture read our Bournemouth v Watford Betting Preview & Tips.