Watford win at Brighton can take them to cusp of Championship crown
Watford can storm a march on their Championship promotion rivals when they play at Brighton and Hove Albion in Saturday’s televised lunchtime offering from the Football League.
The Hornets are on a four-match unbeaten run when previously paired with the Seagulls, so start as odds-on 8/11 favourites with Coral to win at the Amex. While this trip will be no picnic for Slavisa Jokanovic’s Hertfordshire outfit, as Chris Hughton has tightened up the Albion defence and instilled discipline, the visitors do boast attacking strength in depth that some Premier League clubs envy.
In Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo and Matej Vydra, Watford have three prolific strikers whose cumulative total is 54 goals. This translates to over 61 per cent of the 88 league strikes celebrated by fans of the Vicarage Road outfit.
To put that into perspective, Hughton’s Brighton have scored two less (52) as a whole than this terrific trio. Any dropped points here, and the Hornets’ rivals, namely Bournemouth, Derby County, Middlesbrough and even Norwich City, will smell blood.
Ighalo knows this only too well. “As players we know exactly what is ahead of us because any slip could be costly,” he said. “When you are two games away from winning the league you don’t switch off, so our minds are focused on what lies ahead.”
Nigeria international Ighalo looks a great bet to score last at 5/1, with the classic partnership of Deeney and Vydra featured for recent outings. Although, Ighalo has netted in each of his past three starts with two of those being the final say, and holds safer anytime odds of 5/4.
Watford skipper Deeney, who is also on 20 for the season and has eight in his last 12, is 6/5 in that market, and 9/2 to draw first blood after scoring three in five appearances against Albion.
Brighton, who need a draw at 12/5 to definitely secure survival, have found scoring something of a struggle this term. Apart from an own goal, Dale Stephens (6/1 to be on target again) is the only player to net in their last seven.
Albion’s top scorer is centre back Lewis Dunk on just seven across all competitions, though he is 8/1 to add to that tally here. Given this sorry state of scoring affairs, it does look like a straightforward away day for the Hornets with their hosts 3/1 outsiders to upset them.
A Watford victory to nil enhances their outright match betting price to 12/5, and looks likely when considering the shot-shy Seagulls.