It’s always an interesting spectacle to see a pair of newly promoted sides clash in the Premier League, and Saturday presents that opportunity as Bournemouth host Watford at Dean Court.
The goal of any promoted club is to survive their initial campaign upon return and remain in the top flight for a second consecutive year, thus solidifying their place and improving the club’s financial situation.
Saturday’s match will go a long way toward determining the fate of these clubs since both squads likely will be hovering in or near the relegation zone all season.
Eddie Howe’s Cherries will try to get back to winning ways after suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Stoke City last time out. Mame Biram Diouf netted an 83rd-minute winner to cancel out an earlier equaliser by Dan Gosling in the 76th minute.
By and large, the Cherries (2-1-4) have given a good account of themselves in their inaugural Premier League voyage. Through seven matches they are in 16th place on seven points, but only three clear of the drop zone.
The club has won just one of their last four Premier League fixtures, but three of their four defeats have been by a single goal, which is a small consolation that can be taken by Howe to know that his team is staying competitive and not being completely outclassed on the pitch.
The Cherries can also take solace in knowing that through seven matches in the Championship last season, they had just one more point than their current standing – and went on to win the division and gain automatic promotion.
But if the side wants to survive this campaign, they will have to sort out their defence as the club has only one clean sheet so far, a 2-0 win over Sunderland.
Howe’s club will have to proceed without top scorer Callum Wilson, who tore his ACL in last week’s match against Stoke City and will miss at least six months. Wilson is the third player to Bournemouth player to suffer such an injury, joining defender Tyrone Mings and midfielder Max Gradel.
"It’s very disappointing for Callum, after what has been an exceptional start to the season, but I am sure he will come back fitter and stronger," Howe told the club’s official website. "Callum is the type of character who won’t be fazed by such a setback, and I am sure he will turn this experience into a positive in the long run."After winning two straight matches, Watford (2-3-2) came back to Earth a bit last week as they were done in by a Yohan Cabaye penalty in the 71st minute to suffer a 1-0 loss against Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road.
Watford have largely been unable to balance their attack and defence this season as the club have held opponents to an impressive 6.9 percent scoring rate, but conversely have scored five goals – of which only three have come in the danger zone – which ties them with Liverpool for the fewest danger zone goals in the league.
The Hornets find themselves in 13th place with nine points through seven matches, which is not a bad place considering it’s their return to the Premier League for the first time since 2006-07.
Watford finished second in the Championship last season behind Bournemouth, so Hornets head coach Quique Sanchez Flores is aware of Bournemouth’s strengths."We know what is in the past with Bournemouth," Flores told the club’s weekend preview show. "They are a very tough team and they won the league last year. In the matches with Bournemouth last year we did not win, so we know how dangerous this team is."
Bournemouth took four points off Watford last season. The Cherries won 2-0 at home in January, while the sides drew 1-1 in September 2014 at Vicarage Road.