By 90Min
August 18, 2017

AFC Bournemouth welcome Watford to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday in a game both sides will consider winnable.

The Cherries lost their league opener 1-0 against West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, while Watford drew 3-3 in a dramatic encounter with Liverpool at Vicarage Road. 

New Watford manager Marco Silva will hope to get his first win for the club after impressing at Hull City at the end of last season, while Cherries boss Eddie Howe will be disappointed by the result at the Hawthorns, and will hope to change the club's fortunes against an injury stricken Hornets side.

Classic Encounter

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Bournemouth will begrudgingly recall their 6-1 hiding at the hands of the Hornets in 2013, when both teams were yet to reach the heady heights of the top flight. Veteran forward and club captain Troy Deeney scored a hat-trick in that game, but fortunately for the Cherries Deeney won't be available to play on Saturday. 

The two clubs have enjoyed a somewhat tamer relationship in the Premier League so far, as neither team has much to show for their past four encounters with four draws in their last four match-ups.

The two teams did record two thrilling 2-2 draws last season, with Troy Deeney and Josh King scoring in both of them.

Key Battle

Nathan Ake vs Stefano Okaka

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Nathan Ake will hope to cement his place within the Cherries' defence after impressing while on loan at the south coast club last season from Chelsea. The young defender even managed to bag three goals in ten appearances for the club.

The talented youngster will be up against Watford powerhouse Stefano Okaka on Saturday, who scored within ten minutes against Liverpool. 

Ake will require guidance from the experienced Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels if he is to stamp out the threat from Okaka.

Okaka will be supported on either wing by the tricky attacker Nordin Amrabat, and new signing Richarlison who will likely step in for the injured Roberto Pereyra.

Team News

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Bournemouth captain Simon Francis is reported to have sustained a hamstring injury last week and is expected to be replaced on Saturday. Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson are still out with respective injuries.

Watford are in the midst of a minor injury crisis as Daryl Janmaat was taken off in the first half against Liverpool, while Pereyra picked up a knock and was substituted just after half time. Younes Kaboul heroically played the remaining 20 minutes of the game despite picking up a muscular injury. 

Injury to club captain Troy Deeney should see Okaka lead the front-line, but expect to see new signing Andre Gray make an appearance later on in the game.

Potential Bournemouth Starting Lineup: Begovic; Smith, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Fraser, Surman, Arter, Ibe; King, Defoe.

Potential Watford Starting Lineup: Gomes; Femenia, Prodl, Britos, Holebas; Cleverly, Doucoure, Chalobah; Amrabat, Okaka, Richarlison.


Nigel Roddis/GettyImages

The Cherries will without a doubt be disappointed with their opening day loss, and the players will be keen to make up for that performance on Saturday at the Vitality Stadium in front of their home fans. If Defoe and King start to gel, they could form a fearsome front-line for Bournemouth.

Watford looked very capable in attack against Liverpool, but they looked shaky in defence and the loss of Janmaat and Kaboul won't help those back-line frailties. Pereyra is also a big loss for the Hornets, who relied on his creatively last time out.

Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 2 - 1 Watford

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