The Toffees have endured a challenging few weeks. The sacking of Ronald Koeman after a string of disappointing results has only seemed to exacerbate the fate of the Merseyside club, with caretaker David Unsworth powerless to prevent two consecutive domestic defeats and his team’s exit from the Europa League following a 3-0 thrashing in Lyon on Thursday night.
In what could be his last game to prove his worth before the Everton board use the international break next week to decide upon Koeman’s replacement, Unsworth will be hoping for some definitive signs of improvement against the Hornets. If his 18th-placed side would be able to secure the full three points at Goodison they will likely climb clear of the relegation zone.
For Watford, a fantastic start to the season has been somewhat marred by two consecutive league defeats against Chelsea and Stoke. Though the Hertfordshire club are still sitting in the top half of the Premier League table, manager Marco Silva will be hoping his team can capitalise on Everton’s recent troubles to keep them within touching distance of the top-four places. He will take confidence from his side’s record on the road this term; they have notched important wins at Swansea, Southampton and Bournemouth.
Watford will also be boosted by a relatively fresh squad. Although Troy Deeney will miss the Everton match through suspension – after he accepted a violent conduct charge for his clash with Stoke’s Joe Allen last weekend – and defenders Seb Prodl and Younes Kaboul remain sidelines, Silva will be able to name a relatively strong starting XI.
Everton, on the other hand, will not only be fatigued from Thursday’s exploits in France, but also without some key names: Cuco Martina sustained a nasty neck injury in Lyon that may see him out for some time. In what will be seen as a must win-game for the Toffees, expect Unsworth to name his strongest team. With a plethora of players and strategies used so far in his three-game tenure, however, it is not clear what this team will be.
What time does it start?
Everton vs Watford kicks off at 16:30.
Where can I watch it?
Highlights will be shown at 22:30 on BBC One.
It’s a big game for…
The 26-year old struggled to gain favour at Everton under Ronald Koeman, but is enjoying life with Marco Silva at the moment and has completed 501 passes already this season: only Abdoulaye Doucoure (655) and Idrissa Gueye (535) have scored more on either side.
The Hornets have picked up just one point from their 10 previous league visits to Goodison Park (W0 D1 L), with that sole draw coming on the opening day of the 2015-16 season.
Stefano Okaka had clearly been enjoying watching Dennis Bergkamp on Premier League Years before he netted this beauty against Everton at Vicarage Road in December.
Player to watch…
Richarlison. The Brazilian’s sparkling form has been pivotal to a lot of what Watford have done well under Marco Silva this season.
This is backed up by his impressive stats: not only has the forward taken more chances in the opposition box than any other Premier League players in the opening 10 games of the season (74), but – amongst the Watford squad – he has been involved in more goals (5), and created more chances (13) than anyone else.
Previous three meetings…
Everton 1 (Barkley) Watford 0, Premier League, May 2017
Watford 3 (Okaka, Prodl, Okaka) Everton 2 (Lukaku x2), Premier League, December 2016
Watford 1 (Coleman (OG)) Everton 1 (James McCarthy), Premier League, April 2016
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