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Preview: Bournemouth vs. Watford

Sports Mole previews the looming Premier League action between Bournemouth and Watford at Dean Court.

Coastal club Bournemouth welcome fellow newcomers Watford in the Premier League on Saturday as Eddie Howe's men look to bounce back from a defeat at Stoke City last weekend.

As for the visitors, they will be seeking to snatch three points on the road after a fairly impressive start to life in the top flight that has left them in 13th place.


Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City and Matt Ritchie of Bournemouth compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Britannia Stadium on September 26, 2015© Getty Images

Newly-promoted Bournemouth have already experienced their fair share of ups and downs thus far, having managed to bag two wins from seven fixtures.

Prior to last weekend's defeat at Stoke City, Howe would have been fairly happy given how some of his players have adjusted to the step up in quality. For example, Callum Wilson had impressed with his conversion rate and Simon Francis has shown some adroit qualities at the back.

However, the Cherries manager is now without Wilson for six months following his ruptured ACL, and key signings Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are also unavailable following injury.

After collecting a promising win five games ago against West Ham United, Bournemouth have only managed to win once and Howe will know that the club will need to start putting together a few back-to-back wins if they want to ensure their safety.

Coupled with their injury concerns, the club also have some tough fixtures ahead of them with the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton all waiting in the wings.

Survival in the top flight of English football is all about picking up the easier points when required before pulling off the odd memorable scalp here and there. If Howe wants to be in the Premier League next season, he will know that the Cherries will need to take full advantage of six-pointer clashes like this one.

Recent form: LWDLWL


Odion Ighalo of Watford celebrates scoring his team's second goalduring the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St James' Park on September 19, 2015 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.© Getty Images

The Hornets are seemingly enjoying things at the moment as they were able to remain unbeaten in their first three Premier League encounters this season.

Since those consecutive draws, Watford were able to lodge back-to-back wins against Swansea City and Newcastle United in response to a predictable away defeat at Manchester City.

What has been most impressive from Quique Flores and his men has been their ability to produce shutouts on home soil. Up until last weekend's unfortunate defeat to travelling Crystal Palace, Vicarage Road remained an unbeaten fortress with no visiting side able to score at the Hertfordshire ground.

As impressive as they have been at the back, Flores will be wanting to see a little more going forward from his men. Watford have arguably been far too reliant on the in-form Odion Ighalo, who has scored four of their five league goals this term.

Flores will be aware that Manchester United and Arsenal visit Watford in the coming weeks and he will be looking to achieve points from the club's less testing fixtures when possible. A victory away at Bournemouth on Saturday would also serve as a great confidence booster as they look to build from a sturdy start.

Recent form: DDLWWL

Team News

Callum Wilson of Bournemouth lies on the ground after his injury during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Britannia Stadium on September 26, 2015© Getty Images

The injury to Wilson will likely mean that debutant Glenn Murray will get his chance to impress Howe, but his introduction could see the team have to adjust to a different mode of attack.

The club will still be without key playmaker Harry Arter, while Mings and Grade remain sidelined too.

As for the away side, Valon Behrami will be out as he serves the final game of his three-match suspension.

Joel Ekstrand is still no closer to making a return from a long-term injury, but the doubtful Lloyd Doyley might be able to make a late push in order to give Flores something to think about at the back.

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Boruc; Daniels, Cook, Distin, Francis; Pugh, Surman, Gosling, Ritchie; Tomlin; Murray

Watford possible starting lineup:
Gomes; Anya, Prodl, Cathcart, Nyom; Jurado, Watson, Capoue, Abdi; Deeney, Ighalo

Head To Head

The clubs last met in the Championship back in January, when Bournemouth produced a comfortable 2-0 victory on home soil. Prior to that win, the Cherries had failed to beat the Hornets in their previous five meetings. As it stands, Watford have won three, drawn two and lost one in their last six fixtures against the seaside team.

Video Preview

Hit play below to see what the Sports Mole Sofa had to say about this encounter:

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We say: Bournemouth 2-2 Watford

Both sides come into the game with plenty still to prove after they each lost last weekend. The Cherries will be without key forward Wilson, but the team will be champing at the bit to prove to their manager that they are not just a one-man team. Watford have picked up four points from three away games this term and will be eager to follow on from their last away win over Newcastle, possibly leading to this game becoming a high-scoring draw.

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Simon Francis of Bournemouth celebrates their victory to the fans at the final whistle during the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Bournemouth at Ewood Park on March 12, 2014
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