Watford v Sheffield United: Hornets can start buzzing again with first league win of season

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores
Quique Sanchez Flores can get Watford back to winning ways
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Andrew Atherley is backing the bottom club to take a vital three points at Vicarage Road on Saturday...

"The Hornets will have a decent chance if they score, with United yet to win without a clean sheet."

Back Watford to win at [2.24]

Watford v Sheffield United
Saturday 5 October, 15:00

Limited options

Watford remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table following back-to-back away defeats (the 8-0 thumping at Manchester City and last week's 2-0 at Wolves). That leaves them with just two points from their first seven games and already the gap is four points to the safety zone.

Quique Sanchez Flores is short of options up front with Troy Deeney and Isaac Success still sidelined. He has to choose between Danny Welbeck and Andre Gray as the main striker, supported by the dangerous Gerard Deulofeu and possibly Ismaila Sarr.

Sanchez Flores has what appears to be the first-choice central defence back together following last week's return of Craig Cathcart from injury alongside Craig Dawson.

Sharp back from suspension

Sheffield United are mid-table with eight points from their first seven games, a much better performance than most people were expecting. Last week they looked set to take a point off Liverpool before goalkeeper Dean Henderson's blunder allowed Georginio Wijnaldum to score the only goal of the game for the leaders.

Chris Wilder has striker Billy Sharp back from suspension but David McGoldrick is likely to miss out again with a groin injury. Callum Robinson and Oli McBurnie are set to continue as the attackers with Sharp as back-up.


Watford need to take chances

The league table might not lie but it doesn't tell the whole truth about these two teams because Watford rank highly for chances created and expected goals, while United have achieved some of their good results from few opportunities.

A case in point was United's 2-0 win at Everton, where they had only one shot on target (the opening goal was put into his own net by home defender Yerry Mina).

Nevertheless, it is hard to knock United's overall results as they are unbeaten in three away games and overall two of their three defeats have been against high-flying Liverpool and Leicester. The other loss was 1-0 at home to Southampton, which stands out as their worst result.

Before their two away defeats, Watford showed spirit in their first home match for Sanchez Flores with a second-half fightback for a 2-2 draw with Arsenal and they have since beaten Swansea 2-1 at Vicarage Road in the Carabao Cup.

That provides some hope and the Hornets will have a decent chance if they score, with United yet to win without a clean sheet (1-0 at home to Crystal Palace and the 2-0 at Everton).

Watford's only blank at home was in the opening-day 3-0 defeat against Brighton that put them on the back foot immediately and their stats are positive enough to take a chance on them for the win at [2.24].

It is also encouraging that in Sanchez Flores's previous season in charge, Watford lost only three out of 15 at home against teams that finished outside the top four.

United a drag on goals

Watford's goals figures are on the high side mainly as a result of their defensive deficiencies, with at least two goals conceded in five of their seven league games (the score has gone over 2.5 goals in four of those five).

In their two matches where the opposition scored fewer than two goals, the result has been under 2.5 goals and that is the bracket United are more likely to fall into.

United rank joint-highest for matches with under 2.5 goals (five out of seven) and second-highest for average goals per game. Their only matches with overs came when their opponents scored twice (Leicester and Chelsea).

Under 2.5 goals looks a decent bet at [1.96].

Opta Stat

Watford and Sheffield United have only two previous Premier League meetings, with the Blades winning both matches 1-0 in 2006-07. Another 1-0 win for United is available at [12].


Staked: 7pts
Return: 3.44pts
P/L: -3.56pts

Andrew Atherley,

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