By 90Min
December 29, 2017

Watford host Swansea City in what will be both teams' last match of 2017. Both sides will be looking to end the year on a high, knowing that there is much to improve upon in the new year. 

Watford managed to end a torrid run of six games without a win by defeating Leicester City in their last outing. Their recent rotten form can be matched - and bettered - only by Swansea who sit at the bottom of the Premier League table, five points off safety. 

An injury riddled Watford side will hope to regain the winning momentum they found in earlier in the season. Meanwhile, Swansea just need to be find a result from somewhere or will be in danger of being written off for Premier League survival completely. 


Classic Encounter

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Despite their current form, this is a fixture which has favoured Swansea in the past. The Swans have lost just 16 of the 47 meetings between the two sides, and they will hope history can repeat itself on Saturday. One such memorable moment came in September 2010, when the Swans defeated the Hornets 2-3 away from home. 

Swansea started the better of the two teams in that game when Scott Sinclair opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Stephen Dobbie then linked up well with Joe Allen to fire the Swans 2-0 up with an effort from 18-yards. By the 69th minute, Swansea were 3-0 up, after Frank Nouble slotted home Nathan Dyer's pass. 

However, Watford mounted a come-back late in the second half. Goals from Troy Deeney and Martin Taylor within 10 minutes helped Watford fight back to 2-3 with five minutes to go. The Swans were saved from embarrassment when John Eustace's last-minute equaliser was ruled offside. Swansea managed to hold on for the win.


Key Battle

Richarlison vs Alfie Mawson

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Watford's star player this season, Richarlison, has been somewhat quiet in recent weeks. The Brazilian has struggled in front of goal recently; having not found the back of the net since November. 

In the Hornets' previous game, Richarlison was handed a more central role in the absence of Troy Deeney. In this new role, the Brazilian could be given more license to attack directly and have less pressure to drop back and help defend. Richarlison has a good chance to break his goal drought on Saturday.

Up against him will be Swansea's most consistent centre-back this season, Alfie Mawson. Despite being bottom of the table, the Swans have actually conceded fewer league goals than 10th place Watford, suggesting that their defence may not be as weak as it might appear. 

However, morale may be low for Swansea's defenders after letting in five against Liverpool in their last match. Up against a goal-shy Watford attack, Mawson and his fellow Swansea defenders have every opportunity to redeem themselves on Saturday by keeping key-man Richarlison out.


Team News

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Watford manager Marco Silva has a lot of injuries to contend with going into this fixture. Defenders Craig Cathcart, Younes Kaboul, Miguel Britos, and Kiko Femenia all remain ruled out with injury until the new year. 

Troy Deeney will also be unavailable for the Hornets as he completes his suspension for a red card against Huddersfield. Watford could welcome back Will Hughes from a thigh injury and Roberto Pereyra could be passed fit after picking up a knock in his last match.

For Swansea, Wilfried Bony remains an injury doubt for Saturday but has an outside chance of recovering in time from a thigh problem. Ki Sung-Yeung also faces a late fitness test. Kyle Bartley will not be expected to return from his knee injury until the new year. 


Potential Watford Starting Lineup: Gomes; Janmaat, Wague, Kabasele, Zeegelaar; Cleverley, Doucoure, Watson; Carrillo, Richarlison, Hughes


Potential Swansea Starting Lineup: Fabianski; Naughton, van der Hoorn, Mawson, Olsson; Carroll, Mesa, Fer; Routledge, Abraham, Dyer


Prediction

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It is difficult not to see Swansea's woes continuing on Saturday, but at some point fortunes need to turn around for Leon Britton's men. The Swans have lost their last seven matches away in the Premier League. They have also conceded at least two goals in five of their last six away games. 

Swansea also have a difficult January coming up where they will have to face Tottenham, Liverpool, and Arsenal. Any result they can get here will be a big help to their survival chances. 

Swansea will want to prove themselves on Saturday after their embarrassing defeat to Liverpool. While Watford may have got a win in their last game, they are still not the same team that was constantly winning at the start of the season. Swansea might nick something here. 

Prediction: Watford 1-1 Swansea

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Eagle (-2)
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