Watford v Wolves: Fast-improving Hornets to trouble visitors

Joao Moutinho
Wolves could be tested by Watford

Simon Mail previews the New Year's Day match at Vicarage Road between resurgent Watford and Wolves...

"Watford have made great strides in recent weeks and will have taken huge confidence from their victory against Aston Villa."

Watford v Wolves
Wednesday, 15:00
Live on BT Sport ESPN

Pearson reviving Watford's fortunes

Watford looked destined for relegation after a dreadful run of one win from their first 16 Premier League matches but the arrival of Nigel Pearson, as Quique Sanchez Flores' successor, has had a dramatic impact. The Hornets have been revitalised by Pearson and a run of seven points from three matches during the Christmas programme has taken the 19th placed side within a victory of safety.

Their first win at Vicarage Road this season did not come until the end of December with Watford defeating Manchester United 2-0. A hard-earned Boxing Day draw at Sheffield United was another positive result before a crucial 3-0 home win against fellow strugglers Aston Villa. Troy Deeney scored twice and the increasingly impressive attacker Ismaila Sarr added the third goal. The win was achieved despite playing more than the last half hour with ten men, after defender Adrian Mariappa was sent off.

Wolves impressing during marathon campaign

Wolves continue to impress during their second season back in the top flight with Nuno Espirito Santo's side handily placed in the top half and through to the knockout stages of the Europa League. Qualifying for Europe has thrown them new challenges, particularly in terms of handling the extra workload of Thursday night football, but Wolves are showing no signs of struggling.

After pulling off a dramatic comeback to defeat champions Manchester City 3-2 on Friday night, Wolves put up a strong effort at Anfield in Sunday's 1-0 defeat to unstoppable leaders Liverpool. Wolves were unlucky to see Pedro Neto's first-half equaliser ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside from Jonny. It was only their fourth league defeat of the season which leaves Wolves seventh going into the new year.

Nigel Pearson.jpg

Visitors look too short for victory

Watford are a tempting price at 3.35 to claim another vital win in their battle to stay up. The Hornets have made great strides in recent weeks and will have taken huge confidence from their victory against Aston Villa. Watford have won their last two games at Vicarage Road and have to be considered at relatively generous odds to start 2020 with another valuable win.

There is no denying Wolves are a strong outfit, with an abundance of talent throughout their team, but there are reasons for taking them on at 2.3811/8. They have only won three of their ten away league games which suggests the visitors are too short in this market. Nuno's side have also had one day less to prepare and take on a Watford team thriving under Pearson.

The draw is available at 3.45 and certainly is worth considering at these odds. Wolves have drawn nine league matches this season, the joint highest in the division, which implies this is overpriced. While this has some appeal, preference is to lay Wolves for the victory. Watford, who have all the momentum, are capable of claiming another win although keeping the draw on side also has merit against dangerous opponents.

Both teams likely to net at Vicarage Road

Wolves have only twice failed to score in the league this season with Nuno's side offering a potent goal threat. Raul Jimenez should return to the side for this game with the striker scoring 17 goals in all competitions. Four of their last five league fixtures have seen both teams score and Watford will fancy their chances of netting.

Both teams to score is a tempting option at 1.83 although Ben Foster is in outstanding form for Watford. The goalkeeper has kept clean sheets in their last three games at Vicarage Road and is a potential spanner in the works for this bet. Pearson has improved the defence's organisation and this is enough to be slightly wary of backing both teams finding the net.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

P/L 2019-20 season

Staked: 17pts
Return: 17.31pts
P/L: 0.31pts

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