Sunday and Monday Preview from England (week 17)

Watford (7th) Vs Liverpool (9th): Our view is: Jurgen Klopp is not surprised by Watford’s position in the Barclays Premier League, but insists there will be no admiration from Liverpool when the two teams meet on Sunday. Two wins in their last five Barclays Premier League outings has dropped Liverpool to ninth and they required a 96th-minute equaliser from Divock Origi to salvage a point against West Brom last weekend. In contrast, Quique Sanchez Flores’ Watford have surged up to seventh with three straight victories, leading to suggestions of a potential challenge for European football. From the looks of it Liverpool simply need to pull their finger out and realize their potential. Simply play like Watford plays, carefree, attacking when needed and able to defend like a group of hobbits on a 3 part movie adventure. We say 2-2 Draw

Match Facts
    – Watford have never won back to back home matches in the Barclays Premier League.
– Liverpool have won eight and lost just one of the last nine meetings with Watford in all competitions, including their last four trips to Vicarage Road.
– Only Manchester United (six) have kept more clean sheets at home in the BPL than Watford (five) this season.
– If top-flight matches ended at half-time this season, Watford would be top of the league with 27 points.
– Watford striker Odion Ighalo has scored a higher proportion of his team’s BPL goals this season than any other player (56% – 10 of 18).
– Liverpool have scored just two goals in the three league away matches that Philippe Coutinho has missed this season (0.7 per match), compared to an average of 1.4 goals per match with him in the side.
– Watford are the 11th newly-promoted side to have gained 25+ points in their opening 16 matches of a Barclays Premier League season. None of the previous 10 have been relegated.
– It is the highest points tally after 16 matches by a newly-promoted side since Hull City’s 26 points in 2008/09. The Tigers only narrowly avoided relegation on the final day that season.

Swansea (18th) Vs West Ham United (8th): Our view is: Alan Curtis is confident that Swansea City’s fortunes will improve if they show the same application against West Ham United as they did in last week’s defeat by Manchester City. Swansea’s caretaker manager remains in the dugout when the Hammers come to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday while the Welsh club continue to search for a replacement for Garry Monk. It’s hard to entice a manager to the club when you pulled the rug from under your previous gaffer. All problems aside Swansea put in a fine showing at the Etihad Stadium and appeared on course for a deserved point through Bafetimbi Gomis’ 90th-minute effort. But, there was one last twist when Yaya Toure’s shot hit team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho and flew past Lukasz Fabianski. West Ham are eighth but have endured a sticky run themselves. They too have failed to win their last six matches and travel to Wales on the back of consecutive goalless draws against Manchester United and Stoke City. Part of the problem for Slaven Bilic’s men has been injuries and Andy Carroll (groin) joins Dimitri Payet (ankle), Victor Moses, Winston Reid (both hamstring), Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho (both thigh) on the sidelines. With those kinds of players out, we Say Quack (is that the noise a swan makes?) Swans 1-0 Winners.

Match Facts
    – Swansea City have won none of their last six Barclays Premier League home matches at Liberty Stadium (D3 L3), failing to score in four of those.
– West Ham United have won three and lost none of their last five league matches against Swansea.
– West Ham have won four and lost just two of their last eight top-flight away matches.
– Bafetimbi Gomis scored with four of his first 10 shots (excl. blocked) in the league this term, but has since netted just one goal from 21 shots (excl. blocked).
– The Hammers have had the most goal attempts from set-piece situations in the BPL this season (29).

Arsenal Vs Manchester City: Our view is: Arsenal and Manchester City will both be running the rule over star forwards before their Monday meeting at Emirates Stadium. City expect to welcome back Sergio Aguero after the forward returned to training from a heel problem. Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez suffered a hamstring injury during last month’s 1-1 draw at Norwich City and is less likely to play, although he has resumed running work on the training field. Arsene Wenger’s team are a point better off than City, with both teams behind surprise leaders Leicester City. Manuel Pellegrini suggested last week that fewer than 80 points could be enough to claim the Barclays Premier League crown in a season that has proved devilishly hard to predict so far, and Wenger concurs with his opposite number. This is by far the game of the round and we really hope it produces a classic, however we feel both teams will be happy with a point from this one. We say 2-2 Draw (expect goals, ordinary defending and well just pure attacking football). Add in Giroud to score at 3-1 odds.

Match Facts
    – Arsenal have lost one of their 18 Barclays Premier League home matches against Manchester City (W11 D6 L1), but have won just one of the last six (W1 D4 L1).
– Man City have lost 22 BPL matches against Arsenal, their joint-highest number of defeats against any opponent (along with Chelsea).
– Arsenal have conceded 11 goals in their last 20 BPL home matches.
– Man City have won none of their last four league away fixtures and failed to score in the last three in a row.
– The last time that Manchester City failed to score in four successive BPL away matches was in February 2006.
– Kelechi Iheanacho’s two top-flight goals this season have won Man City four points; the same total that Olivier Giroud’s nine goals have earned Arsenal.
– Mesut Ozil has been directly involved in 15 goals in as many league appearances this season (two goals, 13 assists). He was only involved in nine goals (four goals, five assists) in 22 BPL apps in 2014/15.
– Giroud has scored in eight of his last 12 league appearances for Arsenal and has 11 goals in his last 13 outings for the club in all competitions.


The Watford Bee in action

The Watford Bee in action



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