West Brom-Watford Preview
A pair of sides aiming for their first win of the season will clash Saturday when Watford welcomes West Bromwich Albion to Vicarage Road.
After finishing second in the Championship last season with 89 points, the Hornets gave a good account of themselves in their return to the Premier League last week, earning a point in a tense 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park.
Watford twice had one-goal leads, only to be pegged back on each occasion by the Toffees. Mexico international Miguel Layun pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and scored from near the penalty spot in the 13th minute and Odion Ighalo netted from the top of the box in the 83rd to provide the goals for the Hornets, who settled for a share of the points after Everton’s Arouna Kone scored the equaliser in the 86th minute.
Despite conceding late, the draw at Goodison is a decent result for the Hornets, who will look to their home opener for extra motivation. They outshot Everton 11-10 and put as many shots on target as the Toffees (5).
"I was really pleased with the performance at Everton, we took a lot of confidence from the first game," Watford coach Quique Flores said. "We’ve enjoyed training and now we look forward to playing our first match at home."
In order for Watford to take three points, the club will have to do a better job keeping the ball in the attacking third. The Hornets earned just seven fouls against Everton and completed just 209 passes while allowing 59 percent possession.
Only Crystal Palace completed fewer passes in Week 1 with 188 in their 3-1 victory over Norwich City.
"There were areas for us to improve on and we are always thinking about that in training, but now we are planning for West Brom, so we can be ready to face them on Saturday," Flores continued. "I’m expecting the fans to create a great atmosphere at the stadium in our first official match here this season, and the aim is obviously to get a good result to please them."
West Brom was given a tough task in their opening fixture as Tony Pulis’ side struggled mightily in a 3-0 loss to Manchester City at the Hawthorns. The Baggies will hope to avoid their first two-loss start losing to a season since 2011.
The Baggies fell behind after nine minutes through Yaya Toure, who then doubled the hosts’ lead from the top of the box on 24 minutes. Vincent Kompany’s header near the hour mark completed the scoring as West Brom put only two shots on goal and were outshot 19-9.
West Brom never threatened during the first half in which the club conceded 75 percent possession. Their best chance came early in the second half when Rickie Lambert blasted his free kick from a dangerous area over the bar.
Club-record signing Salomon Rondon could make his Baggies debut after being deemed short of fitness against City.
"Salomon’s a good age and we hope he’ll be a good investment for the club," Pulis said of the Venezuela international, who signed for £12 million. "He has a good goal scoring record and he’s powerful, quick so it’s a great addition and hopefully it’ll be a good deal."
This will be the first meeting of any kind between the sides since the 2009-10 Championship season.