Watford v Aston Villa: A perfect cure to Hornets' Wembley hangover

Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes will be confident of keeping the Aston Villa attack quiet
Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes will be confident of keeping the Aston Villa attack quiet

Though Watford haven't been given much to cheer about lately, the arrival of Aston Villa should remedy that...

"If you disregard the top five, Watford have shut out an impressive ten of their 14 guests in all competitions in 2015/16."

Back Watford to keep a clean sheet @ 2.26/5

Watford 1.738/11 v Aston Villa 5.85/1; The Draw 4.03/1
Saturday, 15:00


If it really was FA Cup focus that caused Watford's post-Christmas Premier League slump, collecting just 13 points from 17 matches, now is the time for them to assess whether it was worth it. Unlike 12 top-flight rivals, they got to visit Wembley in 2015/16, though there was to be no glory after a 2-1 semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace.

Still, the last few months shouldn't take the shine off a stellar season for the Hornets. It is rare for a promoted club to cruise through the whole campaign without the slightest fear of relegation, and they were seventh before the downturn. A top-half finish isn't yet beyond them either with the FA Cup no longer a disturbance: they are six points shy of tenth-placed Stoke with a game in hand.

Oh, and if those aren't enough reasons for positivity, next up are rock bottom Aston Villa at Vicarage Road! The only guy who won't be feeling the joy is Etienne Capoue, who sits out with a knee injury.

Aston Villa

There was finally something to celebrate at home to Southampton last weekend as Aston Villa scored two goals: that's twice as many in one encounter as arrived in the preceding six.

It was enough to lift brace-bagger Ashley Westwood - previous strike May 2014 - to joint-third in their list of 2015/16 Premier League notchers, but not sufficient to prevent either a 4-2 loss or the inevitable protests in the stands attracting more attention than the action on the pitch.

Who could have imagined that Randy Lerner "accepting responsibility" for relegation would fail to cheer up supporters who have seen their side pocket 16 points from 35 fixtures this term?

Gabriel Agbonlahor must wait another week to be cleared following his latest internal suspension and decision to step down as club captain, yet is unlikely to be missed given a return of one goal in his most recent 26 appearances.

Jordan Amavi and Libor Kozak won't be back, Ciaran Clark and Kieron Richardson might be and the status of Jores Okore is unclear in the aftermath of interim boss Eric Black's claim that he refused to be a substitute for the clash with Bournemouth earlier in April.

Match Odds

Even accounting Watford's indifferent form, the conclusion that they should justify odds of 1.738/11 with relative ease is inescapable.

They triumphed 3-2 at Villa Park and have won all five of their collisions with bottom-four teams, whereas Villa are on a ten-game losing streak which is one short of their all-time league record.

The Villans are especially awful away, earning three points from a possible 48 since the misleading opening-day success at Bournemouth and suffering five defeats in a row from February onwards.

Watford Clean Sheet

Villa might have netted twice last time out, yet that was very much exception rather than norm, as evidenced by the five blanks fired in the six Premier League showdowns prior. They are particularly impotent on their travels, accumulating three successive zeroes and scoring once in six road trips.

A mere six top-tier sides can better Watford's total of 11 clean sheets this season. If you disregard the top five, they have shut out an impressive ten of their 14 guests in all competitions in 2015/16, a trend which suggests that 2.26/5 is a magnificent price on them silencing such sunken opponents.

You can find 2.89/5 on the win to nil if you prefer, but this columnist is happy enough with the shorter of the two prices not to deem the additional risk - however slim it is - necessary.

Recommended Bet:

Back Watford to keep a clean sheet @ 2.26/5

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