Brighton vs Watford Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More

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Brighton and Watford meet this weekend in their last game before Christmas, with both teams looking to break their poor runs of form and stay out of the Premier League relegation battle. 

Brighton enter the game 13th, three points clear of the bottom three, whereas Watford, aided by their early-season sterling form, remain in 10th, despite no win in five games. 

It is not just their form that will worry manager Chris Hughton, but the lack of an attacking edge as they have struggled to score in recent weeks.

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Classic Encounter

The last time Watford travelled down to the coast, back in the final weeks of the 2014-15 Championship season, was very significant as it was the match that confirmed Watford's promotion back to the top flight for the first time in eight years, where they remain to this day.

Troy Deeney opened the scoring, firing home after Greg Halford failed to clear a loose ball. It was the Englishman's 21st goal of the season, ending the year second in the goalscoring charts behind Ipswich's Daryl Murphy.


Matej Vydra added a second in injury time to seal the three points, and Watford's victory combined with promotion rivals Middlesbrough and Norwich both dropping points sealed the Hertfordshire side's return to the Premier League for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

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Key Battles

Brighton's midfield will need to be at the top of their game to contain the talents of Roberto Pereyra and Etienne Capoue, with Davy Propper and Dale Stephens more than up to the task. 

The Seagulls will be relieved that combative midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure is out suspended, with six Premier League goals making him the Hornets' top scorer so far this season.


Despite Watford's loss of form of late, they still possess a great squad, with young starlet Richarlison showing signs of fulfilling the immense potential which prompted them to spend £11.5m in the summer. 

Spaniard Bruno will have a tough time on Saturday trying to contain him down the left wing, with the Brazilian having the pace needed to break through the Brighton defence.

At the other end of the pitch, Sebastian Prodl and the Watford back line will have their work cut out containing Glenn Murray, with long balls out to him providing a constant danger from any part of the pitch.

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Team News

Hosts Brighton have almost a full squad to chose from as they look to take advantage of the visitors' troubles and put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. 

Chris Hughton was pleased with the performances of his players in the 0-0 draw with Burnley last Saturday so will likely keep faith with the same starting XI. Steve Sidwell remains out due to a long-term back injury.

Watford manager Marco Silva has no end of selection worries ahead of the match following captain Troy Deeney's dismissal in the 4-1 defeat to Huddersfield last weekend. 


Deeney will serve a three-game ban and joins Marvin Zeegelaar and Tom Cleverley on the suspension list.

The suspensions add to the growing number of injury concerns the Hornets face, with the likes of Will Hughes, Nathaniel Chalobah, Stefano Okaka and Miguel Britos all sidelined at the moment. 

Potential Brighton Lineup: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Propper, Stephens; Knockaert, Gross, March; Murray.

Potential Watford Lineup: Gomes; Mariappa, Prodl, Kabasele; Janmaat, Pereyra, Capoue, Holebas; Carrillo, Gray, Richarlison. 

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Both teams are in their own different slumps, with Watford winless in five and the hosts without a success in seven outings. 

Troy Deeney's absence limits the Hornets' attacking threat considerably, and Watford's range of injuries and suspensions means they possess little beyond the starting XI to make an impact off the bench. 


Added to home advantage, this game represents a chance for Brighton to end their bad form and gain a crucial three points at home in the fight at relegation. 

Prediction: Brighton 1-0 Watford