Everton v Watford: Toffees too strong for woeful Watford

Everton take on Watford after their 1-0 home defeat to West Ham and Steve Rawlings sees plenty of value in a simple back of Benitez's boys against the Hornets...

Toffees set to bounce back after West Ham blip

Up until last week's 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham, Everton's form under new boss, Rafa Benitez, had been decent and they'd enjoyed a bright start to the season.

The Toffees went out of the League Cup on penalties away at QPR and their second half performance at Aston Villa last month is one to forget (conceded three goals in nine second half minutes to lose 3-0) but they'd won their first three Premier League home games and they really should have left Old Trafford with all three points before the international break (drew 1-1).

Although they'd started well, Everton enjoyed a soft run of fixtures to begin the season and their fans wouldn't have expected anything less than a maximum nine-point haul from their first three home games, against Southampton, Burnley, and Norwich. And they'll expect another three here at home to struggling Watford.

Injuries to key forwards, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, have been an issue and now they're hampered further by a serious foot injury to the influential ex-Watford midfielder, Abdoulaye Doucoure, who looks set to be out of action for a while.

Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin aren't believed to be quite ready for action yet and they're said to be unlikely to feature on Saturday but new signings Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray have hit the ground running. Townsend has been involved in eight goals in ten games in all competitions this season (5 goals, 3 assists) and Gray has three goals and an assist in nine matches.

Another new signing, Salomón Rondón, is yet to find the net but the experienced Venezuelan is a genuine threat and it's only a matter of time before he does.

Can the latest new boss inspire the Hornets?

In the nine years since the Premier League's current longest serving manager, Burnley's Sean Dyche, was sacked by Watford, they've had 13 different managers (not including caretakers).

Quique Sánchez Flores has had two short spells at the helm since Dyche was dismissed shortly after the Pozzo family bought the club and the latest in the hotseat is Claudio Ranieri. But for how long? Under fire Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, is the only man trading at a shorter price than Claudio in the Next Manager To Leave market and the Italian's only been in charge for one game!

Patience isn't a virtue bestowed upon the Pozzos and having steered Watford straight back up from the Championship after relegation from the Premier League in the 2019/20 season, Xisco Munoz was given just six games at the helm in the topflight.

Watford began their Premier League campaign with a 3-2 home win against Aston Villa, but they lost their next three before beating bottom club, Norwich, 3-1 away, and after a home draw with Newcastle and a 1-0 defeat at Leeds, Munoz was dismissed with Watford sitting in 14th place.

The club said at the time that "recent performances strongly indicate a negative trend" but in Ranieri's first game in charge the Hornets were comprehensively beaten last weekend by five goals to nil by Liverpool at Vicarage Road.


Watford are now trading at 1.5 to make an immediate return to the Championship and the 4.3 they trade at to finish bottom of the Premier League isn't too short.

Ranieri famously won the Premier League with Leicester but he fared far less well at Fulham three years ago, winning just three of 17 in a spell at the helm that lasted just three months. I suspect the impatient Pozzos will get what they deserve and I'd be surprised if the Italian's still in charge at the end of the season.

Watford aren't a strong team. They've had fewer shots than any other side in the Premier League this season and Ismaila Sarr is far and away their most dangerous asset. The Hornets have scored only seven goals this season and the Senegalese striker has scored four of them.

Toffees to prove too strong for woeful Watford

It was patently obvious that Benitez wasn't happy with last Sunday's performance against the Hammers. A reaction looks assured and a home game against Watford looks ideal for Benitez's boys to bounce back given their incredibly strong record against the Hornets.

Everton have never lost a home game to Watford in any competition (W13 D2) and the Hornets aren't in great shape on the road at present. They've lost nine of their last 10 Premier League away games and they've failed to score on seven occasions.

Following their defeat to West Ham, Everton have slipped to ninth but recent history suggests Watford are going to struggle. The Hornets haven't won away against a side in the top half of the Premier League since December 2018 (2-0 vs West Ham), drawing two, losing 13 and conceding 41 goals in their 15 such games since.

Everton -1 on the handicap is tempting at around the 2/1 mark and given how seldomly they find the net on the road, Everton to win to nil, or Everton 1-0 and 2-0 in the correct score market are all wagers worth considering but at 1.71, the Toffees are a tasty enough price to side with in the outright market.

These two teams have met at Goodison Park 15 times previously and the home side have almost entirely dominated the fixture. The pair played out a couple of 2-2 draws in the Premier League back in 2015 and 2018 but the Toffees have won every other encounter and I can see them making 14 from 16 on Saturday.

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