Watford v Bournemouth
Saturday October 24, 12:30
Watford survive Rovers onslaught
Watford continued their impressive start to the Championship season with victory over Blackburn on Wednesday night. However, whilst the Hornets were 3-1 winners at Vicarage Road, the hosts were second-best for large swathes of the encounter, losing the shot count 19-10, conceding seven on-target attempts and only seeing 34% of the ball.
Blackburn controlled the opening stages but found themselves 2-0 down inside 17 minutes, Joao Pedro finishing a fine Hornets move and captain Tom Cleverley heading into an empty net. Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster had already made a number of fine saves by the time Rovers did pull one back on the half-hour mark as the lively visitors refused to buckle.
Vladimir Ivic's outfit were also fortunate not to have Christian Kabasele sent off and their two-goal advantage was eventually restored thanks to an own goal shortly after the interval. Foster later saved a Rovers spot-kick as Watford saw the game out with Ivic admitting, "We know we have to improve a lot of things, like when we have possession."
Bournemouth held in the Welsh capital
Bournemouth were forced to take a share of the spoils from Wednesday night's trip to Cardiff. The Cherries were held to a 1-1 draw, a result that extends their unbeaten streak since dropping back to the second-tier, although manager Jason Tindall felt his side deserved maximum points in the Welsh capital in an entertaining Championship encounter.
The Cherries led at half-time after a well-crafted goal for Dominic Solanke, who was denied a second after the break by a stunning save from Alex Smithies. Cardiff levelled on the hour mark but Bournemouth rattled the bar from Junior Stanislas' free-kick as both sides pressed for an elusive winner - Cherries' cat Asmir Begovic the quieter of the two keepers.
It was intriguing clash of styles with Bournemouth controlling possession and building from the back against opponents who were content to go without the ball for long periods. Tindall thought his side were the more likely and was keen to take the positives post-match, highlighting the opportunities fashioned and the retention of the Cherries' unbeaten record.
Unbeaten Cherries keen to make a mark
Over the past five seasons Watford and Bournemouth have crossed swords in the Premier League with the Hornets suffering a solitary reverse to the Cherries. Nevertheless, seven of those 10 showdowns have ended all-square (W2-D7-L1), as have five of the last six head-to-head contests at Vicarage Road. Another draw can be backed at 3.309/4 on Saturday.
Watford 2.3211/8 have been pleased by the steady progress under new boss Vladimir Ivic. The Hornets have W4-D1-L1 with their midweek success the first time this season the hosts have scored more than a single goal in a Championship clash. The Hertfordshire side boast a 100% home record and have also kept clean sheets in four of their six outings thus far.
Bournemouth 3.45 are only one of two teams yet to lose in the second-tier (W3-D3-L0) and Jason Tindall's troops come into this match-up following back-to-back draws. The visitors have fared well when viewing the early season performance data figures and the Cherries generated an impressive 2.37 Expected Goals (xG) at Cardiff on Wednesday.
Spoils shared in low-scoring showdown?
Six of the last eight meetings between Watford and Bournemouth have delivered Over 2.5 Goals 2.226/5 although a repeat looks unlikely on Saturday considering the Hornets' safety-first approach under Vladimir Ivic. Matches under the new regime have largely been shorn of regular open play goalscoring opportunities at both ends of the field.
Only three of the duos 12 Championship fixtures have broken the Over 2.5 Goals barrier and the early season evidence suggests this could be a close, low-scoring contest. Therefore, punters might be advised to take a small punt on the Draw and Under 2.5 Goals at 3.75 via Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi. It's already landed in four of those 12 tussles.