Watford will look to get their resurgence back on track when they host Everton at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
The Hornets enjoyed an initial bounce under new manager Nigel Pearson but have won just one of their last five games in all competitions, exiting the FA Cup to Tranmere Rovers and remaining in the bottom three.
Things have become equally sticky for Everton, with Carlo Ancelotti’s men winning just one of their last five games across all competitions – most recently throwing away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 in second-half injury time against Newcastle United.
Can the Hornets fly out of the bottom three or will the Toffees get back on track under Carletto? Read on for Watford vs Everton predictions, preview, team news and more.
When is Watford vs Everton?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Vicarage Road
Date: Saturday, 01 February 2020
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): N/A
Last five meetings: Watford vs Everton
29 Oct 2019: Everton 2-0 Watford (League Cup)
17 Aug 2019: Everton 1-0 Watford (Premier League)
09 Feb 2019: Watford 1-0 Everton (Premier League)
10 Dec 2018: Everton 2-2 Watford (Premier League)
24 Feb 2018: Watford 1-0 Everton (Premier League)
Aggregate Score: Watford (LLWDW) 4-5 Everton (WWLDL)
Ones to watch
Watford: Troy Deeney
Despite their recent wobble, Watford have done an excellent job in getting back in touch with those above them in the table, but they absolutely wouldn’t have been able to without Troy Deeney.
Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate have formed an effective centre-back pairing so far for Ancelotti, but they’ll rarely face anyone as uniquely challenging as Deeney.
The 31-year-old is obviously powerful and physical, but he’s also explosive off the mark and an incredibly underrated link man. If the Everton defence isn’t in peak shape on Saturday, they could be made to pay.
Key stat: As well as being Watford’s top Premier League goalscorer with five, Deeney has won 100 aerial duels, more than twice the amount of his nearest teammate (Craig Dawson, 49).
Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has spent much of his time at Everton frustrating the hell out of fans with his poor first touch, but endearing himself to them with his intense work rate.
However, first under Duncan Ferguson and now under Ancelotti, the 22-year-old looks the real deal, becoming a much more ruthless goalscorer and offering far more in open play for his teammates.
The Toffees will need Calvert-Lewin – who will absolutely feel like has an outside chance of making Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2020 – on top form at Vicarage Road.
Key stat: Calvert-Lewin has 10 Premier League goals and 12 overall so far this season, the first time in his career he’s registered double figures in a single campaign.
Daryl Janmaat and Sebastian Prodl both remain sidelined while Pearson will be sweating over the fitness of Nathanial Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes, Ismaila Sarr, Kiko Femenia and Danny Welbeck, is close to returning from a long-term hamstring injury.
Pearson rested a number of players in the FA Cup against Tranmere and should restore a number of first-teamers to the starting XI.
Predicted XI: Foster; Mariappa, Dawson, Cathcart, Masina; Chalobah, Capoue; Pereyra, Doucoure, Deulofeuo; Deeney.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Andre Gomes has made a surprise return to training following the broken leg he sustained at the end of 2019 but is nowhere near fit enough for first-team action yet.
Fellow midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin remains sidelined but Ancelotti has confirmed Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alex Iwobi are all fit to play.
Predicted XI: Pickford; Sidibe, Mina, Holgate, Digne; Richarlison, Davies, Delph, Bernard; Kean, Calvert-Lewin.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of this one is whether or not Watford fans will still treat this as a rivalry now that Marco Silva is gone? Games between these two are normally entertaining affairs — if Ancelotti can drum some defensive focus into his side, they should be good for a point. That said, given how they collapsed against Newcastle, there are no guarantees.