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    Sunderland v Watford: Match Preview

    By Alex Easley
    Troy Deeeny is aiming to make Watford history on Saturday afternoon.
    Troy Deeney is looking to become the first Watford player to score in five successive top-flight league matches if he nets against Sunderland on Saturday.

    The Watford captain has scored in five of his last six Premier League appearances, including the last four in a row.

    They are the best-placed of the three newly-promoted teams, but manager Quique Sanchez Flores has said it is important that they remain humble and do not lose sight of their main objective of remaining in the division.

    "Sometimes it is all very clear at the start of the season, then after - when we are improving, are comfortable in the table with good feelings - sometimes the mentality of the players is to go very quickly on to other objectives.

    "So for me it is very important to keep the focus.

    "For us, it is important to keep humble, to admit we are in a very good position in the table, but not change the objective because that would be dangerous.

    Sunderland have given their chances of survival a huge boost in recent weeks with victories over Crystal Palace and Stoke City.

    Even though they were beaten at the Emirates against Arsenal last weekend, manager Sam Allardyce said the performance was the best since he took charge in early October.

    Allardyce has said: "We need to win this game to put together a run of four wins in eight games which will reap us 12 points and would be a fantastic start for me.

    "It would be a fantastic achievement to get us out of the trouble we were in and 15 points from 16 games would be a massive, massive achievement in terms of where we've started from."


    Watford are set to again be without midfielder Valon Behrami, who is nursing a calf problem, while Austrian defender Sebastian Prodl has returned to training from his own calf injury, but is not expected to be in the squad.

    Defenders Tommie Hoban and Joel Ekstrand continue their recovery from long-term injuries.
    Lee Cattermole will remain side-lined for Sunderland following a recurrence of his long-standing back injury.

    Sebastian Larsson is out for a month with a knee injury while Steven Fletcher faces a late test after picking up a foot problem in training.

    But there is better news for Allardyce with the return of Jermain Defoe and Wes Brown, who missed last week's defeat at Arsenal with hamstring and knee issues respectively.
    Jermain Defoe is fit enough to return to the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury.


    Sunderland have won the only two previous Premier League meetings between these sides. The last was also after 15 games of the season, at Vicarage Road in November 1999. Sunderland, then managed by Peter Reid, won 3-2, and went on to finish seventh, while Watford were relegated after finishing bottom.

    Watford haven't beaten Sunderland in the league since January 1999 (D2, L4). However, they did beat them in the FA Cup fifth round in 2003.


    Sunderland have conceded just one goal in their last three home games since Sam Allardyce took over.

    But only Newcastle and Bournemouth have conceded more than Sunderland's total of 29 league goals in 2015-16.

    The Black Cats have already lost to the two other promoted sides this season.

    Sunderland have allowed their opponents to have 91 shots on target, the highest tally in the Premier League this season.


    Watford are aiming to win three Premier League matches in a row for the first time.

    The Hornets have won six league games this season, more than they managed in the whole of their last Premier League campaign in 2006-07, and equalling their best-ever tally from 1999-2000.

    Watford have scored 11 goals away from home in this season's Premier League, having scored just six at home.

    Troy Deeney has scored in his last four Premier League appearances.

    Odion Ighalo has scored 25 goals in 2015, more than any other player in the top four tiers of English football.

    K.O. 3PM 12/12/2015
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    Item Reviewed: Sunderland v Watford: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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