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Preview: Watford vs. AFC Bournemouth - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Watford's clash with Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, including a prediction, team news and predicted lineups.

Watford welcome Bournemouth to Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Saturday as the Hornets look to move away from the foot of the table.

Quique Sanchez Flores's men find themselves at rock bottom on four points having failed to grab a single win this season, while Bournemouth are enjoying the relative comfort of 10th place after nine games.

Match preview

Abdoulaye Doucoure celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Watford on October 19, 2019© Reuters

Any club that feels compelled to sack its manager during the September international break usually also finds itself staring down the barrel of relegation.

Moreover, Watford's 8-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester City last month was, despite the obvious quality of their opponents, a sign that things are not at all well at the Hertfordshire club.

Having finished 12th and reached the FA Cup final in May, not many would have predicted such a sudden drop in form, but Watford has always been a club seemingly compelled to enact rapid change.

The club's decision to sack Javi Gracia and replace him with Sanchez Flores forms part of a wider compulsion to keep things fresh, to constantly avoid the prospect of stagnation. Nobody apart from Gracia has lasted longer than one full season as manager since 2013.

This ruthless cycle may haave finally caught up with Watford, who will be buoyed by their 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur last week but nonetheless concerned at their inability to find a way of picking up results against teams around them.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is all smiles on September 28, 2019© Reuters

If Watford are a model of compulsive change, Eddie Howe's Bournemouth side must be seen as a bastion of consistency built upon a set of key principles which have been drilled into every member of the squad over several years.

The Cherries are now not even mentioned when people talk about relegation candidates at the start of each season, such is their remarkable acclimation to the top level across four full campaigns.

In many ways, Bournemouth's philosophy under Howe confounds the very essence of Watford's model of guided perpetual change given that the former has effectively stuck to the same principles since 2015 and improved as a result of it.

With a core group including the likes of Simon Francis, Ryan Fraser, Steve Cook and Callum Wilson, Bournemouth enter each game with an adaptation of the 4-4-2 system that has been hardwired into each player, placing emphasis on exploiting space in behind by making the pitch big while attacking in numbers down the middle.

It is this basic formula, overseen by the indefatigable Howe, that gives Bournemouth the kind of basic intensity needed to overcome opponents like Watford.

Recent Watford form: DLLLDD
Recent Bournemouth form: WWLDLD

Team News

Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue pictured in April 2019© Reuters

Sebastian Prodl and Etienne Capoue are the only Watford players who could return in time for the game, while Sanchez Flores faces an anxious wait to determine the extent of a thigh injury sustained by Danny Welbeck over the weekend.

Isaac Success has a chance of returning before the November international break, although captain Troy Deeney is still a month away from returning.

Bournemouth could see the return of Jefferson Lerma this weekend but will have to wait until next month for the return of talented youngster David Brooks.

Dan Gosling still has a month of recuperation ahead of him after suffering a hip injury over the summer. Charlie Daniels and Junior Stanislas are the two long-term absentees as both continue to recover from knee injuries.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Janmaat, Kabasele, Dawson, Cathcart, Holebas; Doucoure, Pereyra, Cleverley; Gray, Deulofeu

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Smith, S. Cook, Ake, Rico; Billing, L. Cook, Wilson, King, Wilson, Solanke

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We say: Watford 1-2 Bournemouth

Watford will fly out of the blocks in front of their own fans and should manage to score, but their inability to control games remains a concern, and the ruthless organisation and aggression of Bournemouth's counter-attacking game plan should win out in the end.

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