Watford all but down and out
Heading into Saturday, Watford have lost their last nine home Premier League matches and could become only the third team to lose 10 consecutive top-flight home games in a row, after Birmingham City in February 1986 and Sunderland in August 2005. Birmingham are the only top-flight team to lose 10 in a row within the same season.
In that sort of lowly company, the Hornets are all but down as they trade at 1.071/14 in the Relegation market, with Burnley bigger at 1.538/15 with more than half a chance of surviving - literally.
And with just two home wins all season at Vicarage Road, that ranks them as the worst in the top flight - even Norwich have three. They've also conceded more goals at home than other other team. With 37 in the "goals against" column, that even outstrips not only the Canaries (31), but also leaky Leeds (30).
Last Saturday's 3-0 defeat against Leeds was described as damaging, with Roy Hodgson keeping the faith in the same eleven that started in the previous 2-0 loss to Liverpool. Chances were spurned again, and with such fine margins in games, Watford can ill afford to be so profligate again. Hodgson isn't quite saying it's over, as the equation remains the same, he said: "I don't think the challenge has altered enormously - that's a few more points that we could have had that we haven't taken. There are seven games left, four of them at home, and the players have got to find a way of putting this game behind them."
Cucho Hernandez looks as though he could miss the game for the hosts following what appeared a hamstring injury against the Whites. He was replaced by Emmanuel Dennis in the first-half in that, and it could be a like-for-like swap for Saturday.
Bees can push on for a Top 10 finish
The months of January and February seem a distant memory now for Bees fans. Those winter days saw them lose seven of their eight Premier League fixtures, and that disastrous sequence of results led to murmurs of a fight to stay in the division. They've been fought off with a string of stirring performances of late, and the west Londoners are now one of the form teams with four wins from five.
With Southampton in freefall, a Top 10 Finish is not out of the question, and the 9.28/1 could contract further if they win on Saturday.
Backers of Brentford against West Ham would have enjoyed last weekend's 2-0 win, a success that ensured the double was achieved against the Hammers - a results which means 39% of Brentford's 36 Premier League points this season have come in London derbies (W4 D2 L3), with only Chelsea (18) picking up more points in the capital this term than the Bees (14).
Thomas Frank's aggressive 4-3-3 highlights how well coached and drilled they are, but also their set-pieces and the efficiency with the long-throw. As highlighted in February's Breakingthelines.com, their ability to create shots and chances from long throws is second-to-none, and with Ivan Toney, his physical presence and hold-up play allows such a tactic to unsettle opponents.
West Ham were undoubtedly poor with Manuel Lanzini, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen losing possession behind Michail Antonio 32 times - something that very much played into the hands of Brentford who are so quick in their transitions
For those stats we can bring those forward to "half-include" Watford, as Hertfordshire is only up the road.
Frank described last weekend's win as a top performance against a very good side. Pontus Jansson missed that game through illness, and he'll be assessed before Saturday whether he makes the line-up.
Having outlined Watford's dire form and the fact they have suffered 12 home Premier League defeats this season, with every other top-flight team to lose 12 or more in a single season going on to be relegated (20 previous occasions), I cannot say I am massively excited about backing the hosts at 3.052/1. I would have chalked them up at a bigger price, and there is a case to be made that around 2/1 can be a lay - especially having two results running for you with such an in-form team in opposition.
Only 32% of their (Watford) points this season have come at home (7/22), the lowest percentage by a team in an English top-flight season in history.
Brentford's win against West Ham was good, but the previous effort at Chelsea to claim a 1-4 win was nothing short of spectacular. Christian Eriksen's influence can be attributed to the upturn in form too, and the Dane scored his first goal for the club with a wonderful display. He was excellent again last weekend, and in four of his five games he has played for the Londoners, Brentford have picked up maximum points.
It's a pretty sound bet here with Frank's team at 2.68/5, and there isn't much I can find fault with.
As highlighted in this week's Premier League xG column, their process of 2.03 xGF and 1.00 xGA per game is that of a top-four team.
What price would a top four team be against Watford? Long odds-on is the answer.
Backing that price also gives a bit of scope to lay back and trade your stake with an early goal. That looks more appealing too as a back-to-lay as Watford struggle to keep it 0-0 to half-time - and 45 minutes is the benchmark for me to lay out of a draw or 0-0.
Watford's 2-3 home loss to Arsenal in March seems a distant memory, and that sort of scoreline doesn't influence my thinking in having a couple of goes at the Correct Score markets.
Hodgson's men have drawn two blanks of late, and with just 14 scored at Vicarage Road all season and a constant theme of not taking their chances, Brentford to win 0-1 at 9.08/1 and 0-2 at a massive 17.5 are worth playing. An early goal gives the ability to trade out of the latter of course to garner a nice green book.
The Bees have an excellent partnership up front with Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo, and they are certainly more clinical than Watford.
Last weekend's 12/1 winner with Harry Kane assisting Son was a particular highlight, but more importantly, using markets with assists can offer up plenty of value. After all, an assist is easier than a goal and those markets are well worth exploring.
I have put up a lay of Ivan Toney this season, and a successful one, but that's not a tactic I'll be repeating for this, quite the opposite. His partnership with Mbeumo is back to its very best, and Toney has been involved in 10 goals in his last eight Premier League appearances (8 goals, 2 assists), with only Spurs duo Harry Kane (15) and Son Heung-Min (13) involved in more goals in 2022 so far.
Mbeumo has assisted in each of his last three Premier League appearances for Brentford (four in total), with those four assists all for different players (Wissa, Janelt, Eriksen and Toney).
I really like the Bet Builder price of 8.16 for a Brentford win and Mbeumo to assist, which gives us a good chance to have a go at something of a decent price against a team in Watford who have kept fewer clean sheets than any other side in the Premier League this season (3), while at the other end of the pitch, only Norwich (17) have failed to score in more different games than the Hornets this term (16).