AVFC vs Watford – Pre-game Assessment

Before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to consider the opposition that our Villans will be facing this coming Saturday.  This Watford team should not be taken lightly.  They were somewhat unfortunate to lose to Arsenal at the Emirates, 3-2 and drift below the Villa in their last fixture of the 2019/2020 season.  That saw them back in the Championship after four years of which 2018/2019 had been their most successful, finishing 11th with 50 points.

With much credit going to their new, and young, Spanish manager, Xisco they finished a strong 2nd after Norwich to come right back up to the Premier League.  Notching 91 points, was thanks primarily to a stellar paucity of goals-against (only 30 in 46 games).  Boasting Ben Foster and Daniel Bachman, keeper for Austria, between the sticks, certainly helped, as did a combination of solid pros (e.g., captain Troy Deeney and Tom Cleverley) with exciting international talent (e.g., Senegalese Ismaila Sarr and Brazilian João Pedro).

This is a team that ended Liverpool’s miracle 18-game winning streak 3-0 at Vicarage Road on the last day of February 2020 only to flounder over the next months.  Significant retooling by a new manager has created a more workmanlike squad as Villa’s Emi Buendia will be able to attest to his Villa teammates after having been at the wrong end of two 1-0 defeats last season that Watford posted against his Norwich.  They limited the otherwise prolific Canaries to only three shots on goal over the two games.

Last, but not least, the home crowd will be their usual vociferous best, while our Villans may be a little out of synch after weeks of uncertainty about their former captain Jack Grealish and the reduced opportunity to play a settled line-up against serious competition. 

With key players questionable starters, look for Villa to stumble out of the gate and take the better part of the first half to get into rhythm, regardless of our line-up.  Still, there is enough talent starting with arguably the best goalie around in Emi Martinez and a great backline to right the ship and to, eventually, cruise to a solid 2-0 win. I expect Danny Ings (a brilliant signing) to be among the scorers. 

That said, wouldn’t another four win start to the season be a great way to settle our frazzled nerves?

Meanwhile, this should help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPk0uGsCi50

Last Meeting: Mings scores game winner in the 95th minute (AVFC 2, Watford 1) – Tue 21 Jan 2020, Referee: Martin Atkinson, Villa Park, Att: 40,867

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