Despite Ashley Westwood scoring a brace last weekend, Aston Villa lost to Southampton in a surprisingly decent game. Although the Saints ran riot in a 2-4 victory, it was the defensive lapses from the Villa defenders which ultimately led to the loss rather then the Saints playing us off the park. Despite the result, some players still showed some bottle, as the scoreline suggested.
This week, the Villans will travel down to Vicarage Road to face Watford. The Hornets have been a bit of a surprise package this season as many expected them to struggle and clsssed them as probable candidates for relegation. However, the form of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney provided crucial goals in games which saw them win eight games in their first seventeen Premier League matches.
Venue: Vicarage Road
Date: Saturday 30th April 2016
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Caretaker boss Eric Black revealed this week that Ciaran Clark is now fit and will be looking to start the game.
Micah Richards is a doubt with a knee injury, as is Kieran Richardson. Both are ruled out of the game today.
Gabby Agbonlahor’s suspension has been lifted this week, as the club gave him a hefty fine, as well as relieving him of his duties as club captain. The game will come too soon for him as he will be available for selection from Monday.
Quique Sanchez Flores told the press that Odion Ighalo will be available to play despite the death of his father last week.
The only absentee will be Etienne Capoue, who suffered an injury in last week’s FA Cup semi-final. He looks set to miss the rest of the season.
Apart from that, Flores seems to have a fully fit squad to pick from.
The danger men:
Odion Ighalo was the man to watch in the first half of this season. The Nigerian striker couldn’t stop scoring and received plenty of plaudits. He was a constant threat to Premier League defenders, just playing off their shoulders while Troy Deeney would do the ‘hard’ work by physically bustling with the defenders and dropping deeper to make space for Ighalo to run in to.
Ighalo scored fourteen goals before January and seemed to be the player that everyone had in their fantasy teams to rack up the points. Unfortunately, since the turn of the year, Ighalo has only scored one goal and has failed to capture the form of earlier in the season.
This has, unsurprisingly, taken its toll on Watford as their results have also dried up recently. Troy Deeney has had some form and has performed very well all season. The former Blues striker has got nine goals this season in the league, and also eight assists, showing that he is an all round striker. He too has struggled a little bit in 2016, only scoring three goals since the turn of the year. The pair will be looking to make Aston Villa pay today and give their own team some much needed confidence.
The Villans have lost ten games in a row now, totalling twenty-five losses to date in the Premier League in 2015-16, making Aston Villa the worst team in any major European league.
In all competitions, the Villans have lost the last five games (L L L L L).
The Villans have also lost their last five away games in the league (L L L L L).
The Hornets haven’t been in decent form as of late either. In the league, they’ve won once, drawn one and lost three (L L W D L).
At home, Watford have been a bit more solid. They’ve won one, drawn twice and lost twice (D L L D W).
In the past:
The corresponding fixture earlier this season was actually a decent game. Watford ran out 3-2 winners in the end, with goals from Ighalo, Deeney and an Alan Hutton own goal. Micah Richards finally scored for Villa with a decent header, while Jordan Ayew scored a fantastic goal to give the Villa boys a chance at the end.
The Villans were pleased to see what Adama Traore was capable of in a twenty-two minute cameo. Nathan Ake, on loan from Chelsea, had the nightmare task of trying to contain Adama, but just couldn’t stop the winger repeatedly beating him for skill and pace down the right hand side.
I think Watford will probably come out as winners, as they are virtually safe now. Although they’ve been pretty bad in the league recently, the lure of being in the semi-finals of the FA cup played its part in the back of the players’ minds. Now though, they are probably planning their holidays and might not be completely up for it.
I fancy Villa to score so ‘both teams to score’ may be a good shout. Villa to ‘win or draw’ may be worth a few quid, to restore some pride.