Brighton v Watford
Saturday 25 April, 12:15
Live on Sky Sports 1
The 2-1 defeat at Wigan last Saturday after another very poor showing meant that Albion could have gone into this game still in need of a win to guarantee their survival in the second tier for another season. However, Millwall’s late capitulation at Blackburn in midweek means that Chris Hughton’s side are six points ahead of the South Londoners with a vastly-superior goal difference so they are effectively safe from the threat of relegation.
All in all it’s been a bitterly disappointing campaign, though, for the south coast outfit after reaching the play-offs for two successive seasons. Lack of goals is the reason they have been dragged into the relegation battle late on in the season – they have failed to find the next in their last three home games and have scored just twice in the last seven matches in total.
Whether Hughton leaves out some of his loan players, who have by and large underperformed and decides to give youngsters or fringe players their opportunity here is the big unknown at the time of writing this preview and is worth keeping an eye out for in the run-up to kick-off.
The Hornets went top of the table with just two games to play with their hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Birmingham last week, allied to the injury-time equaliser Bournemouth conceded against Sheffield Wednesday. Slavisa Jokanovic’s men dominated the game against the Blues but had to rely on a great strike from defender Craig Cathcart to earn the points as their doughty opponents made them work hard for the win.
However, with the attacking trio of captain Troy Deeney, Matej Vydra and Odion Ighalo all in good recent form they have plenty of firepower to trouble their hosts here.
With four wins on the spin, the Hornets have struck form at just the right time and they know that two more would give them the title – a pretty unlikely thought at the beginning of October when they appointed the Serbian as their fourth manager of a season just a couple of months old.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
At this stage of the season it’s all about how teams at the top can stand the pressure. Certainly, on all known current form Watford should win this game but at [1.89] they are probably about the right price – and we all know the perils of backing sides at odds-on away from home in this division.
It’s the over/under 2.5 goals market which catches my eye. Brighton struggle to score goals with their motley assembly of odds ‘n sods up front but asides from that they aren’t the worst team in the division by a long way. They put up a decent fight at home to Bournemouth a couple of weeks ago in front of the cameras and were only beaten by two late strikes from the visitors’ star strikers.
Watford have scored plenty of goals this season but all they want here is the three points and, given what is at stake, I can see this game being pretty tight. Hughton will want to end the season with some kind of show to keep the supporters behind him and backing unders at nearly evens [1.98] appeals to me. This has landed in each of the last six games at the Amex Stadium so here’s hoping for a lucky seven!
Having said all that an away win is obviously still the most likely result so I’m going to see if we can repeat the trick from that Bournemouth game and land the correct score. The recommended bet then was to dutch the 0-1 and 0-2 scorelines and the latter came good as the visitors’ extra quality in attack eventually told.
With the stakes even higher in this game I can see the game playing out in similar fashion but with just the one goal being enough on this occasion and am happy to take the [8.6] on offer that the Hornets edge to victory. That would leave ‘the Golden Boys’, as their fans like to refer to them, needing three more points at home to Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the season to lift the Championship title.
Back Under 2.5 Goals at [1.98] * Best bet
Back 1-0 to Watford in the Correct Score market at [8.6]
Staked: 130 pts
Returned: 125.94 pts
P/L: – 4.06 pts
*2pts best bet if stated
1pt other recommended bets