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    Southampton v Watford: Match Preview

    By Alex Easley
    Southampton keeper Fraser Forster could return after nine months out due to an injury.
    Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster is in line for his first start in nine months as Watford visit the St. Mary’s stadium on Wednesday evening.

    The England international broke his knee-cap during a match with Burnley back in March of last year, and could make his return to the Saints first time after completing 90 minutes for the under-21s last week.

    His return will be a huge boost for Ronald Koeman as his team have lost their last three games in all competitions, most recently an FA Cup third round defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend.

    Koeman’s Southampton are currently 13th in the Premier League table, seven points away from the relegation zone and five behind Watford.

    The Dutch manager said: "The confidence dropped a little but about the last few results. It's an important week - Watford at home and West Brom at home.

    "You like to win and you know the Premier League is a tough competition and sometimes difficult to explain, more chances than our opponents, more possession than our opponents and finally we lose the game, and that is sometimes difficult."

    On the other hand, Watford have been in a fine run of form, sitting in ninth, and will be looking to get back to winning ways after two tough defeats to Tottenham and Manchester City in recent weeks.

    Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores said: "Maybe Southampton last year were better than the squad they have.

    "They were fighting against Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, amazing teams. Sometimes one team is doing amazing performances under the level that they have.

    "Results are important for the confidence of the players. They didn't start well so they have problems with confidence, but they have an amazing team, a good manager, so the match will be tough for us."
    Graziano Pelle is also set to return for the Saints.

    TEAM NEWS

    Koeman will make a late decision on whether Forster or Maarten Stekelenburg will start in goal for Southampton, with the latter ending the FA Cup tie with Palace with a tight hamstring.

    Graziano Pelle is also expected to return after being sidelined at the weekend with a knee injury but Jay Rodriguez and Florin Gardos are unavailable.
    Watford remain without Nathan Ake through suspension as he completes a three-match ban following his red card against Spurs last month.

    Tommie Hoban and Joel Ekstrand are still sidelined but boss Quique Sanchez Flores has no new injury worries following the 1-0 FA Cup win over Newcastle and will recall Odion Ighalo in attack alongside Troy Deeney.
    Nathan Ake will serve the final game of his three match ban after his red card against Tottenham in December.
    MATCH FACTS

    Head-to-head

    The teams are meeting for just the fourth time in the Premier League.

    Southampton won 2-0 the only previous occasion they have hosted Watford in the Premier League in April 2000, a result which effectively condemned the Hornets to relegation.

    Watford have didn't register a shot on target in the 0-0 draw in August.

    Southampton

    Southampton have lost six of their last eight Premier League games (W1, D1) and could lose three in a row for the first time this season.

    Only three teams have scored more than Southampton's 17 home Premier League goals in this campaign.

    Saints were fourth after 20 games last season, with 36 points. This season they're 13th with 24 points.

    According to Opta, Virgil van Dijk has won the highest percentage of aerial duels among Premier League players to have been involved in 100 or more this season (70%).

    Watford

    Watford have won 15 points away from home, one more than they have at Vicarage Road this season.

    All seven of Watford's Premier League defeats have come against the clubs occupying the top seven places in the table.

    The Hornets have scored in each of their last 11 league matches, the joint-longest current such run in the top flight.

    Watford have been losing at half-time in just one of their 20 league games this season - an achievement only Crystal Palace can match.


    K.O. 7.45PM 13/01/2016
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    Item Reviewed: Southampton v Watford: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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