Opposition Focus: Watford


30/03/19 – Man United 2-1 Watford
16/03/19 – Watford 2-1 C Palace (FA Cup)
09/03/19 – Man City 3-1 Watford
03/03/19 – Watford 2-1 Leicester
27/02/19 – Liverpool 5-0 Watford


Javi Gracia has one of the most organic tactics in the Premier league currently. Look no further than the undeserved 2-1 loss to Man United this past weekend as his side produced 20 shots at Old Trafford. Gracia employs a 4-4-2 that is geared to allow his outside midfielders to express as much as possible. Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra can be seen running off the ball in various routes, which opens up the centre of the pitch for Troy Deeney or Deulofeu to play feed off them. While the wingers express, the outside fullbacks will choose to overlap or tuck inside – with the main emphasis to ensure proper width. Unlike most teams, Watford set up their centre of the pitch with two formidable defensive midfielders of Doucouré and Capoue, who have the liberty to send direct low passes to the forwards. Defensively, Gracia drops his side to a 4-4-2 with a high press that sustains just enough pressure to force mistakes but will cut its losses to drop back and build numbers when required.

Battle to Watch

Anguissa vs Doucoure: With a couple of good performances to redeem his summer signing, Anguissa has been a bit of a spectacle that fans have looked forward to watching. He will be meeting Doucouré in the centre of the pitch and will be responsible to force the midfielder to pass backwards instead of trying to send in penetrating passes to Deeney and company.

Danger Man

Deulofeu is the one to watch when the likes of Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra are running off the ball to create chances. Those chances will circulate by going through Troy Deeney and Deulofeu, who gave United fits in the centre of the pitch, completely unable to keep up with the pace of Deulofeu and the unselfish play of Deeney. It is hard not to imagine that the Spanish speedster will not have his chances against our shaky defence.

Last 5 Meetings

22/09/18 – Fulham 1-1 Watford (PL)
03/03/15 – Watford 1-0 Fulham (C’ship)
05/12/14 – Fulham 0-5 Watford (C’ship)
01/01/07 – Fulham 2-0 Watford (PL)
02/10/06 – Watford 2-0 Fulham (PL)


Fulham wins 10
Draws 9
Watford wins 9

Stats & Facts

  • The clubs have met on 28 occasions in all competitions – Fulham have won ten, Watford have won nine and there have been nine draws.
  • Fulham have drawn all three previous Premier League meetings with Watford – 1-1 at Craven Cottage earlier this season, and 3-3 away and 1-1 at home during the 2006/07 campaign.
  • Fulham have won just two of the last 11 league meetings with Watford. Both came during the 2000/01 promotion season, 5-0 at Craven Cottage and then 3-1 at Vicarage Road.
  • In each of the six post-war seasons that Fulham and Watford have met, one of the clubs has ended the campaign either promoted or relegated. Watford were promoted twice (1997/98 and 2014/15) and relegated twice (1971/72 and 2006/07) while Fulham were promoted once (2000/01) and relegated once (1979/80).
  • Fulham’s relegation from the old Division Two in April 1980 was confirmed following a 4-0 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road. The Whites will be relegated if they lose at the same venue on Tuesday night.
  • Fulham have lost their last eight Premier League games. It is their worst ever run of successive defeats in the Premier League-era, and their worst run since a club record 11 straight league defeats in the old Division One between December 1961 and February 1962.

Players in Common

Chris Baird, Hameur Bouazza, Matthew Briggs, Lee Cook, Maurice cook, Danny Cullip, Perry Digweed, Jon Harley, Heidar Helguson, Bobby Howfield, Bedford Jezzard, Collins John, Alex Kacaniklic, Stephen Kelly, Richard Lee, Stefano Okaka, Brian Talbot, Marcello Trotta.

Match Prediction

Last season, Slavisa used to talk about bravery to the point it would annoy me when we lost. I always wanted more information, more tactical, more answers to “How” versus just intangible characteristics represented by one word. However, bravery is the missing component now. We’ve played with hesitation and lack of confidence in simple passes all season. It has seemed that each under-hit pass has cost us goals, and points as a result. When we do not under-hit passes, we lose our heads, such as pulling down attackers in the box unnecessarily or ducking on crosses.

When you look at the scenario at hand with Watford, it is quite hard to hope for a result. After watching them against Man United, it will be a battle all match, and I cannot see us getting out of Vicarage Road with a point. This is a side that expresses creativity and puts pressure on teams like us to force mistakes.

Bravery cannot be coached, and Scott Parker will need to set up with a lineup with characters that have shown they are not scared about the fact that if we come away with zero points, our season is officially done, and the “R” is stamped. I hate to go against my usual optimism, but logic says this is will be a losing effort; 3-1 Watford, with Fulham scoring off a set-piece, but too little too late.

Predicted Line-up

(4-3-2-1): GK Rico, RCB Chambers, LCB Ream, LB Bryan, RB Fosu-Mensah, LCM Anguissa, CDM Nordtveit, RCM McDonald, LAM Sess, RAM Cairney, ST Babel