Opposition Focus: Watford


15/09/18 – Watford 1-2 Manchester Utd (PL)
02/09/18 – Watford 2-1 Tottenham (PL)
29/08/18 – Reading 0-2 Watford (Carabao Cup)
26/08/18 – Watford 2-1 Crystal Palace (PL)
19/08/18 – Burnley 1-3 Watford (PL)


Since the appointment of Javi Gracia in January, Watford have reverted to the 4-4-2 formation that characterised their success since promotion to the Premier League in 2013. Watford rely on a disciplined approach, with an experienced back four, two extremely physical and mobile central midfielders and two playmakers in support of the front two. In possession Watford have been the narrowest team in the league this season, partly due to the manager’s decision to take the unorthodox approach of playing without classical wide players. The ability of Capoue and Doucoure to carry the ball through midfield allows Watford to sit fairly deep, inviting opposition sides to try and break down their highly structured defensive line. The strike duo of Gray and Deeney have formed a formidable partnership this season and their ability to put pressure on the opposition centre-backs has been a key feature in their fantastic start to the season. While it’s unfair to limit Watford to their ability from set pieces, it could prove the defining factor of the match considering Fulham’s less than impressive record in defending dead ball situations.

Battle to Watch

Deeney vs Mawson: Attempting to guess the makeup of our back four for any game is difficult enough but the last three games have suggested that Slav’s preferred partnership at centre back – at least until Ream can come back into the side – is Mawson and Odoi. Although Slav obviously wasn’t afraid to play Odoi at centre back in the Championship last season against physically imposing strikers – it really would be optimistic to think he could keep tabs on Deeney and Gray on Saturday. With it unclear whether Odoi keeps his place, the main responsibility is likely to fall to Alfie Mawson. Since his debut in the League Cup against Exeter, he’s been an ever-present in the side. How he manages with the unique threat of a classical strike partnership will define whether Fulham can bounce back from being the latest team to get taught a lesson by Man City.

Danger Man

With the strike partnership covered the main man for Fulham to watch out for at the Cottage will be Roberto Pereyra. A lack of consistency in fitness and form over the last two seasons has undermined the undeniable qualities of the former Juventus attacking midfielder. But moved to the inside left channel by Gracia, Pereyra has started the season in impressive form after his wonder goal against Brighton on the opening weekend. The Argentines technical quality and vision has never been in doubt, and when he does play he offers something completely different from Watford’s alternatives in his position.

Last 5 Meetings

03/03/15 – Watford 1-0 Fulham (C’ship)
05/12/14 – Fulham 0-5 Watford (C’ship)
01/01/07 – Fulham 0-0 Watford (PL)
02/10/06 – Watford 3-3 Fulham (PL)
19/01/05 – Fulham 2-0 Watford (FA Cup)


Fulham wins 10
Draws 8
Watford wins 9

Stats & Facts

  • Saturday’s match will be Fulham’s 500th in the Premier League. They have won 151, drawn 137 and lost 211.
  • Only 2 of Fulham’s previous 499 Premier League matches have come against Watford. Both games ended in draws during the 2006/07 season, 3-3 at Vicarage Road and 0-0 at Craven Cottage.
  • Fulham have won just 2 of the last 10 league meetings with Watford. Both came during the 2000/01 promotion season, 5-0 at Craven Cottage and 3-1 at Vicarage Road.
  • Fulham have failed to score in each of their last 3 meetings with Watford, drawing 1 game and losing 2 in the process.
  • Fulham have used 4 goalkeepers in their last 2 home games against Watford. Gabor Kiraly was the substitute keeper following Marcus Bettinelli’s sending off in the 5-0 Championship defeat in Dec 2014 while Jan Lastuvka took over from Antti Niemi after the Finnish stopper was stretchered off in the 0-0 Premier League draw in Jan 2007.
  • In each of the 6 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).

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.

Magic Moment

There are not many moments that stand out against Watford at the Cottage which makes an easy decision even more straightforward. Fulham and Watford were the standout contenders for promotion in 2000/01. Watford were the big boys who’d just been relegated from the Premiership and they came to the Cottage on Boxing Day in 2000.

We hammered them 5-0 that day and despite a hat trick for Barry Hayles, our magic moment this week is the fifth goal by Andrejs Stolcers. It summed up exactly what Tigana’s Fulham were about. Stolcers picked it up on the halfway line, played a lovely angled through ball for Boa Morte who showed electric acceleration to make up the ground on his marker and get to the ball first. Luis turned one way, then the other before playing a reverse ball down the line for the overlapping Brevett who crossed for Stolcers to round off the move he started, scoring with an improvised finish flicking it into the far side netting. Brilliant team goal!

Opposition View @FoxInTheBoxFM

Have your expectations changed given the fact that you won your first 4 in a row?

Wouldn’t say so no, the feeling amongst fans was mid-table stability again, with the main word being stability. Each season we’ve moved on the head coach, with Marco Silva being the latest. Starting well and finishing poorly has become a trend since our return to the BPL, this must be addressed.

So expectations would be that mid-table is realistic, but stability throughout an entire season.

Who’s been your player of the season so far?

Have too go with Pereyra, absolutely outstanding this season, put in one of the best individual performances I’ve seen from a Watford player vs Brighton, always involved in our goals and is keeping himself fit, special mentions too Holebas who’s matured (even at the age of 34!) and Kabasele who in-house is regarded as one of the best CB’s outside the top 4 in the BPL. Many more I could mention too. Rejuvenated Deeney too!

Is Saturday a London Derby in Watford fans eyes?

Nah not really, ‘rivals’ and Watford have never really felt like a thing since we began our ascent, other than the early ding-dongs with Bournemouth and more Crystal Palace/Zaha recently.

You’ve played 4 of your 5 League games so far at home. Do you think you will set up differently at the Cottage considering this is an away game & what’s your predicted line up?

I think it’s a good time too hit the road, we’ve started well at home and had a very solid trip away to Burnley. Notoriously away points have been tough for us, but coming off the back of this great start and a respectable defeat too United, confidence will remain high no doubt.

Predicted 11 will be the majority the same as what we’ve seen this season so far, Gracia seems too be an advocate for consistency.

I’d go with Foster, Janmaat, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas, Hughes, Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra, Deeney and Gray again.

How do you think the match will go on Saturday & what’s your score prediction?

Hard to predict for me, Fulham have changed so much this summer, and even with a mixed bag of results, every game is another for them too find their feet. I see it being a tight affair, 1-1 or 1-0 us, but then saying that Fulham’s games have been goal-packed! Good luck chaps

Match Prediction

If Fulham can make the pitch wide and attempt to pull Watford’s defence out of shape then we’ll have a much better chance of getting the three points we need to put some confidence back into the squad after our last two away trips to the AMEX and the Etihad. Back at the Cottage Fulham have every chance of getting our second league win of the season but unfortunately, I don’t see it happening this time out. Desperately hoping to be proved wrong, 1-0 Watford.

Predicted Line-Up