Watford v Wolves at Wembley has a nice ring to it; it’s the artisans against the aristocrats, with both teams arriving at the National Stadium in good shape.
Wolves – winners in 1893, 1908, 1949 and 1960 – will be looking to make it to their ninth FA Cup final, while Watford will be aiming to secure their second final appearance, having previously lost 2-0 to Everton in 1984 Wembley showpiece.
Wolves’ record in the Premier League this season is played 32, won 13, drawn 8, lost 11, with a goal difference of plus 1. Watford’s is played 32, won 13, drawn 7, lost 12, with a goal difference of zero. They could have been separated at birth.
In the league this season, Wolves lost 2-0 at home to Watford, a defeat that set in motion a sequence of five losses and a draw in their next six games. However, after a switch to a 3-5-2 system and a second-half comeback victory against Chelsea on December 5th, they have lost just five of 23 matches.
On the downside is that, having scored 15 goals in five matches between January 19th and February 5th, they have scored ten in their last nine, although they have lost just two of them.
In those nine games, they have failed to score more than one goal in a game just three times and have kept just two clean sheets – at home to Cardiff in the league and away to Bristol City in the FA Cup.
Apart from the Chris Smalling own goal on Monday, their last seven goals, across seven matches, have all been scored by Diogo Jota (3) and Rual Jiminez (4). They are key to Wolves’ attack and have formed a very good partnership, complete with a good understanding of each other’s play.
Overall, though, they have had a very good season.
That last comment also applies to Watford.
They have got into the habit of either winning or losing. A 5-1 win at Cardiff was followed by a 5-0 loss at Liverpool. Since then they have won at home against Leicester (2-1), Crystal Palace (2-1) and Fulham (4-1) and lost away to Man City (3-1) and Man Utd (2-1).
That’s five-successive matches without a clean sheet and all five registering more than 2.5 goals.
Wolves, the aristocrats, with fluidity, style and good technique all encouraged and developed under Nuno Espirito Santo, have exceeded the expectations of most in the Premier League this season and, following Tuesday’s 2-1 home win over Manchester United, sit seventh in the table, one place and point ahead of Sunday’s opponents.
Watford, the artisans, who can play, right enough, but they can apply the physical stuff when they need to. Troy Deeney and Isaac Success (who may be absent on Sunday) are big, strong fellas and work as good foils to Deulefeo’s trickery, and Andre Gray is a useful striker to have on the bench (he may even start on Sunday). Doucoure can also pop up with goals from midfield.
Watford – Robert Pereya (hip) and Isaac Success (knee) could miss out, while Tom Cleverley (calf) will miss the game.
Wolves – They have a fully-fit squad and head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has already said that John Ruddy will play in goal
I can see this game being 2-1 either way. The market says Wolves but I’ve a feeling that Watford will be on the better end of that scoreline. Watford to win and both teams to score is on offer at 4/1 with us
It is one of our ‘Double The Odds On First Goalscorer Bets’ matches this weekend