THE Premier League returns this Saturday as Watford welcome Everton to Vicarage Road. Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets.
Watford v Everton| Saturday 24th February 2018, 17:30 | BT Sport
Saturday’s late kick-off sees Watford host Everton, in a game where both sides could do with a strong showing and three-points under their belt.
Hornets hard to assess
Javi Gracia's stand out moment in his short-time at Watford so far was the 4-1 demolition of Chelsea at Vicarage Road earlier this month. Despite that, the Hornets have failed to score in the other three games under his reign, albeit all were away from home.
The win over Chelsea was impressive, but I think there has been a slight market overreaction. Chelsea came into that game on the back of a 3-0 loss at home to Bournemouth less than a week prior and had not had a week’s rest since the November international break.
Watford under Gracia is a small sample, so we must weary of drawing too many conclusions.
Everton still tough to beat
Sam Allardyce’s time at Everton has brought a series of false dawns. His tenure began with three wins from four, and a draw at Anfield sandwiched in between. A seven-game winless run then ensued, but it’s worth noting in that time they faced Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool in the cup and Spurs. Since then they’ve added Theo Walcott, Cenk Tosun and Eliaquim Mangala.
Against sides outside the top six under Allardyce, Everton have lost just one of eight. The loss to Bournemouth was the only one of those games they conceded more than the single goal and was also the only of those eight games that they’d conceded more than five shots on target.
Conversely, the win versus ten-man Chelsea was the only game under Gracia that the Hornets had registered more than four shots-on-target.
It also seems Allardyce has backtracked on the idea that Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson cannot play together, with the pair both starting in their last victory.
Since their game two-weeks ago, the Toffees have been to Dubai for a mid-season break.
This is something Sam has been keen on throughout his managerial career. In an interview with the Guardian shortly into his Sunderland reign a few years back he stated,
“More and more figures prove that winter breaks work. My previous teams have had breaks in Dubai for five or six days in February. The stats tell you that, over 14 years, Bolton, Blackburn, West Ham have improved their physical output just by five days’ break”
A trip to Dubai for Sunderland this time two-years ago reaped similar rewards too.
Going into their break the Black Cats lost seven of ten games, and then ended the season with just three losses in 15.
Ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road this weekend, Allardyce asserted that the players had benefitted from their trip and stated there were “no excuses anymore”.
At the prices I think it makes sense to side with Everton. Marathon Bet's prices imply there's just a 27% chance the Toffee's win the match, and a 38% chance if we take the draw out of the equation.
Watford v Everton – Everton Draw no Bet (8/5 Marathon Bet)