Both positioned in the lower reaches of the Premier League table, Brighton host Watford in the EPL on Saturday (12.30pm ET).
The pair are at the top and tail of a cluster of five teams scrapping it out to avoid joining Norwich in going down to the Championship. Just three points separate them: Brighton are 15th on 26 points, while Watford are in 19th on 23pts.
Brighton were in a position of relative comfort not too long ago. The majority of the other sides positioned towards the bottom of the table have better recent points hauls. Combine that with a run of just one win and eight points from The Seagulls’ last 10 matches and they are back in a relegation fight.
Graham Potter’s side would have found themselves in even greater trouble had they not been able to pull off a superb comeback to claim a point away to fellow strugglers West Ham last weekend. Their hosts were two goals up at half-time and again with 15 minutes to play. But goals from Pascal Gross and Graham Murray saw Brighton fire back to share the spoils in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Potter has significantly changed Brighton’s style of play since replacing Chris Hughton last summer from a deep-lying, wait-and-see approach to a more proactive and possession-based one. Whichever way you look at it, the change has been for the better. Brighton are currently on course to score more, concede less and gain more points than last season. Their underlying numbers are also significantly better.
That will all be for nothing if the season ends in relegation. Brighton are sufficiently good to think that they should be alright but they still have matches against the top three to come. The margins are likely to be incredibly fine come the end of the campaign. A win on Saturday would engender a bit more confidence in their prospects.
In contrast to Brighton, Watford have actually been one of the best teams in the Premier League over the course of the last 10 matches. Four wins, three draws and three defeats have given them a 15-point haul that is only bettered by six teams. They have taken nine more points than Brighton over that period.
Nigel Pearson seemed to be taking on a fairly forlorn challenge when he became the club’s third head coach of the season by replacing Quique Sanchez Flores in early December. At that stage, Watford were three points adrift at the bottom and a full seven points shy of safety. Ten matches later, just a couple of points now separate them from that mark.
The job is far from done yet though. Watford come into this weekend’s match on the back of consecutive defeats, including a gut-wrenching loss at home to Everton last time out. Goals from Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra seemed to have set them on the course to victory, only for Everton to level the scores with two goals in first-half stoppage time and then another in the last minute of the second half to leave Watford pointless.
With all of the top four left to play, their remaining schedule doesn’t look all that appealing either. It could well be that matches against other relegation candidates and other teams in the bottom half of the table will decide their fate. The top American-friendly bookies have four teams as being more likely to face the drop, but it is a contest that looks set to go down to the wire.
Our Preview’s Brighton vs Watford Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
While results have improved for Watford, their underlying numbers have remained pretty constant, suggesting that they have perhaps had a bit more than their fair share of good fortune over the last couple of months.
Brighton haven’t benefited in the same way, but maybe this weekend is a perfect time for their luck to change. Victory would give them a bit more breathing room in an intense relegation battle, and it is a result they can be fancied to get. This is our Brighton vs Watford prediction:
- Bet on Brighton to win @ best odds of +115 (23/20) on the moneyline with 5Dimes.