The battle against relegation and for the UEFA Champions League places are both on the agenda on Saturday afternoon as Watford and Leicester City make their returns to Premier League action at Vicarage Road.
Horents’ boss Nigel Pearson welcomes his former club to Hertfordshire aiming to mastermind another escape from relegation. Ahead of the restart, the team sit in 17th position, just outside of the relegation zone thanks to their superior goal difference. Despite having lost five out of their last eight matches in all competitions, they sit at a price of 23/10 with Betfair to be relegated to the Championship.
At the other end of the Premier League table, Brendan Rodgers and his Leicester City charges will be striving to rubber stamp their return to the UEFA Champions League. Currently sitting eight points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United following a run of only four victories in their last 13 league games, the Foxes sit at a price of 1/6 to seal a top four finish in last nine games.
Despite the two teams’ respective form ahead of the enforced hiatus of the Premier League, it remains to be seen how that really could affect this weekend’s clash. One statistic that is sure is the difficulty that Leicester have faced when travelling to Vicarage Road. The Hornets have won each of the last three clashes between the two teams on home soil 2-1 and that scoreline to be repeated this time around sits at odds of 10/1 with Paddy Power. Watford to win regardless of the scoreline is at 13/5, a draw is at 1/1, whilst a draw is available at 12/5.
There might not actually be that many goals, either. In all of the Premier League games between the two teams, there have never been more than three goals scored in a single match. That to occur this time around sits at a price of 1/3 with William Hill.
Despite that, one man who will be hoping to fill his boots is Leicester forward Jamie Vardy. The Foxes frontman has scored in each of his last four matches against Watford and is only one goal away from 100 Premier League strikes. The 33-year-old is at odds of 3/1 with Betfred to net the opening goal at Vicarage Road. Meanwhile, Troy Deeney, who infamously scored a memorable goal against Leicester at Vicarage Road in 2013, is slightly less fancied at 4/1.
Despite Deeney being available, the Hornets have quite a few players whose fitness is up in the air ahead of the club’s return to action. Adam Masina took a knock in a friendly game and is doubtful, whilst Will Hughes, Kiko Femenia, Craig Cathcart and Roberto Pereyra all have prblems that could keep them out. Elsewhere, one significant absentee is Gerard Deulofeu who is out with a serious knee injury and joins Daryl Janmaat and Isaac Success on the sidelines, who are out with a knee and thigh problem respectively.
Elsewhere, Ben Chilwell is still available for Leicester ahead of the trip to Watford despite speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea. Fellow full-back Ricardo Pereira will play no part in the rest of the season however due to a cruciate ligament injury he suffered in the match against Aston Villa and joins Daniel Amartey on the sidelines. Midfielder Dennis Praet and forward Ayoze Perez are doubtful ahead of the game, too. In better news, Ryan Bennett and Harvey Barnes are fit to play having recovered from knocks.