New Watford manager Claudio Ranieri takes charge of his first away game as Hornets boss when his side travel to Goodison Park to play Everton in the Premier League.
It wasn’t exactly the perfect start for the Claudio Ranieri in his first game in charge of Watford last time out – his team were hammered 0-5 at Vicarage Road by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
Ranieri will now face another Merseyside outfit in Everton this weekend as they look to bounce back from that humbling defeat.
Watford’s sole aim this season will be survival, but even at this early stage of the season, Goodison Park has proven a tricky place to win.
Only West Ham have picked up all 3 points on Everton soil this season, with the Toffees’ unbeaten home record in the Premier League halted last week by former manager David Moyes.
Furthermore, Watford have an abysmal record when playing at Goodison Park – 15 games without a win – Everton have never faced a side more on their own patch without tasting defeat.
That being said, Rafa Benitez’s side haven’t been at their best against newly-promoted teams in recent times, losing 5 of their last 8 against said opposition at Goodison Park, including defeats to Fulham and Leeds United last season.
Any Watford success you feel will be dictated by the display of Ismaila Sarr, who with 26% of Watford’s total shots in the Premier League this season holds the highest ratio of any player in the competition so far this term.
The Hornets winger is also the club’s top scorer this season, having notched 4 times in 8 games so far.
Further attacking firepower in the form of Josh King hasn’t been available to Claudio Ranieri as yet due to the Norwegian’s knee complaint, but the ex-Bournemouth man is back in contention for Saturday’s trip to Everton.
Kiko Fenenia will be put through a late fitness test to determine his availability but Nicolas N’Koulou will still have to wait for his Watford debut as he builds towards match fitness.
Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure will miss the opportunity to face his former club after fracturing his metatarsal against West Ham last time out, with several other first-team performers also sidelined.
Benitez will be without Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph against the Hornets, so goalscoring hopes will likely be pinned on 5-goal man Andros Townsend.
A win for Watford could move them up to 14th, whilst an Everton victory could see them rise as high as 3rd in the Premier League table.
Everton v Watford is at 3pm on Saturday 23rd October.