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WATFORD v WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 15th August, 2015, 3pm
Vicarage Road

MATCH NOTES

The game will be the 36th league and cup meeting between the two clubs. Albion currently lead the way in terms of victories with 17 compared to Watford's 10.

This will be the first ever Premier League meeting of the sides and their first top-flight meeting since December 1985 when the Baggies won a Hawthorns' clash 3-1 with goals from Imre Varadi, Steve Hunt (pen) and Robbie Dennison.

Albion's last game on this date took place in 2009 when a Chris Cohen own goal gave the Baggies a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest in a League Championship clash at the City Ground. The victory was new boss Roberto Di Matteo's first in charge of the club whilst the game also saw former Albion striker Rob Earnshaw miss a 76th minute penalty for the hosts.

Watford's last game on August 15 also came in 2009 and also in the Championship, the Hornets suffering a 2-0 defeat away at Sheffield United - Jamie Ward and Ched Evans the United goalscorers.

Albion are unbeaten in 14 league games against the Hornets - their last defeat coming in February 1995.

The Baggies have lost just once in their last 11 league games at Vicarage Road and are unbeaten in their last seven visits.

As manager, Tony Pulis has lost just one out of eleven games his sides have played against Watford, winning five and drawing five.

Rickie Lambert has scored five goals in his last two appearances against Watford, including a hat-trick for Southampton versus the Hornets at Vicarage Road in February 2012.

If selected, Baggies' goalkeeper Boaz Myhill will make his 400th career appearance.

Albion's last six games: Manchester City (H) 0-3; Bristol Rovers (A, Fr) 4-0; Walsall (A, Fr) 2-0; Swindon Town (A, Fr) 4-1; Richmond Kickers (A, Fr) 2-1; Charleston Battery (A, Fr) 2-1.

Watford's last six games: Everton (A) 2-2; Sevilla (H, Fr) 0-1; Cardiff City (A, Fr) 1-2; Dundee United (A, Fr) 1-0; SC Paderborn 07 (A, Fr) 2-0; SC Verl (A, Fr) 4-1.

TEAM NEWS

Albion

Record signing Salomon Rondon and recent loan acquisition Serge Gnabry will be given fitness tests to determine whether they will feature at Vicarage Road.

Defender Gareth McAuley could return following a calf injury but Ben Foster remains out with his long-term knee injury.

Watford

Defender Miguel Britos and goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis are both suspended for the Hornets but midfielders Almen Abdi and Steven Berghuis are both fit again after recovering from knee and leg injuries respectively.

MATCH ODDS

Result

Albion Win: 11/5, Watford Win: 13/10, Draw: 11/5.

First Goalscorer

Albion: Lambert 6/1, Rondon 6/1, Berahino 13/2, Ideye 15/2, Anichebe 15/2, McManaman 10/1, Gnabry 10/1, Sessegnon 10/1, McClean 11/1, Gardner 12/1, Morrison 14/1, Brunt 16/1, Dawson 25/1, McAuley 25/1, Fletcher 25/1, Chester 25/1, Yacob 33/1, Lescott 33/1.

Watford: Deeney 9/2, Vydra 11/2, Ighalo 11/2, Forestieri 13/2, Abdi 15/2, Berghuis 15/2, Jurado 8/1, Anya 9/1, Layun 9/1, Watson 12/1, Capoue 16/1, Prodl 20/1, Behrami 20/1, Angella 25/1, Holebas 25/1, Paredes 25/1, Pudil 28/1, Cathcart 33/1, Hoban 33/1.

No Goalscorer: 8/1.

www.williamhill.com

REFEREE

Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

Tierney officiated two Albion games last season - the 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat at Bournemouth in October and the 3-0 defeat at Swansea City in August.

The Lancashire official took charge of three Watford games last season - the 3-1 win at Nottingham Forest in April, the 5-0 win at Fulham in December and the 3-0 defeat at Norwich City in August.

Tierney issued 134 yellow cards and eight red in the 37 games he officiated during 2014/15.

A full run-down of Tierney's history refereeing the Baggies can be found here

TICKET INFORMATION

Albion have sold out of their 2,100 allocation and supporters are urged not to travel to Vicarage Road unless they are in possession of a ticket.

WEATHER FORECAST

Light cloud, 18C.

FIXTURE HISTORY

The two clubs met in competitive action for the first time in October 1977, Tony Brown scoring the only goal of the game in a 1-0 League Cup 3rd round win for the Baggies at The Hawthorns. 

The first league meetings between the clubs took place during the 1982/83 season with Watford coming out on top both times. The first game at Vicarage Road in September saw the hosts run out comfortable 3-0 winners with Luther Blissett (2) and Les Taylor the goalscorers. The return game at The Hawthorns in April wasn't much better for Albion with Watford this time recording a 3-1 win, John Barnes, Nigel Callaghan and Jan Lohman hitting the goals for the Hornets with Martin Jol hitting the Baggies' solitary goal.

Albion's biggest win over Watford came in October 2009 when goals from Olsson, Dorrans, Moore, Zuiverloon and Cox saw Roberto Di Matteo's men run out easy 5-0 winners at The Hawthorns. The Baggies have also recorded two 4-1 wins over Watford, the first in October 1993 and then in October 1998, both times at The Hawthorns.

The Baggies' biggest loss to Watford came in August 1985 at Vicarage Road, future Albion striker Colin West leading the scoring for the Hornets with a hat-trick. The previous season had seen Albion suffer a 4-1 defeat at the same venue in a 4th round Milk Cup tie.

Albion legend Bob Taylor hit his only league hat-trick for the club in a dramatic 4-4 draw against the Hornets at The Hawthorns in March 1996, the Baggies blowing 3-0 and 4-2 leads in a game that also saw the debut of another Baggies' hero of the 1990s - Richard Sneekes.

Albion have an excellent recent record against Watford and are currently unbeaten in 14 league games.

A full fixture history between the two teams can be found here

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

(Click on game to view)

Saturday 31 October 2009 - Albion 5-0 Watford - League Championship - The Hawthorns
Saturday 3 November 2007 - Watford 0-3 Albion - League Championship - Vicarage Road
Saturday 31 January 2004 - Albion 3-1 Watford - League Championship - The Hawthorns
Saturday 15 September 2001 - Watford 1-2 Albion - League Division One - Vicarage Road
Saturday 16 December 2000 - Watford 3-3 Albion - League Division One - Vicarage Road

Saturday 23 January 1999 - Watford 0-2 Albion - League Division One - Vicarage Road
Tuesday 12 March 1996 - Albion 4-4 Watford - League Division One - The Hawthorns
Saturday 9 April 1983 - Albion 1-3 Watford - First Division - The Hawthorns

LAST MEETING AT VICARAGE ROAD

Watford 1-1 Albion
League Championship
Monday 5th April 2010, 3pm

Watford: Loach, Mariappa, Doyley (DeMerit 10), Harley, Bennett, Hodson, Cowie, Cleverley (Hoskins 67), Buckley (McGinn 60), Eustace, Graham. Subs not used: Lee, Jenkins, Henderson, Noble.

Goalscorer: Graham 85

Sent-off: Harley 80 (second bookable offence)

Booked: Harley 30 (foul), Eustace 35 (foul), Graham 86 (over-celebrating)

Albion: Carson, Olsson, Cech, Zuiverloon (Meite 54), Tamas, Koren (Slory 80), Brunt, Barnes (Morrison 63), Dorrans, Mulumbu, Bednar. Subs not used: Kiely, Mattock, Miller, Cox.

Goalscorer: Brunt 90+5

Booked: Bednar 35 (unsporting behaviour), Dorrans 35 (unsporting behaviour), Olsson 36 (dissent), Tamas 90+1 (foul), Brunt 90+6 (over-celebrating)

Attendance: 14,555

Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset)

West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt grabbed an equaliser deep into stoppage time to sneak a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Watford at Vicarage Road. The Baggies could have set themselves up to clinch promotion if they managed to secure a victory against Malky Mackay's side. But the contest seemed to be heading for a goalless draw until Hornets midfielder Jon Harley was sent off with a little over 10 minutes left. It was then 10-man Watford who grabbed an unlikely lead when Danny Graham fired home a superb long-range effort. However, Brunt pounced in the 95th minute as he headed into the net during a prolonged spell of added time. It was a further blow for Watford, who look to have lost on-loan youngster Tom Cleverley for some time after he was stretchered off with a serious-looking knee injury.

Albion went into the game knowing victory for them combined with a draw or defeat for third-placed Nottingham Forest against Cardiff would secure their immediate return to the Premier League. And although automatic promotion was not secured on Saturday, it does seem to be a case of if and not when for Roberto Di Matteo's side. The West Brom boss was able to rotate his ranks and call upon established attacking duo Giles Barnes and Roman Bednar, while Gianni Zuiverloon also came in at right-back for the injured Steven Reid. In stark contrast, out-of-sorts Watford were without the key trio of Henri Lansbury, Heidar Helguson and Martin Taylor due to suspension and injury. Despite Albion's possible impending promotion, the hosts were quick to remind them of their desire for all three points to aide their cause at the other end of the table. Baggies keeper Scott Carson was forced to make a fine point-blank save from Adrian Mariappa before Mackay saw his selection problems worsen with the early loss of Lloyd Doyley to injury. West Brom were struggling to get a foothold in the game, with their passing game not helped by a difficult surface. Although Di Matteo's side steadily came into the match as the first half wore on, West Brom did not pose a serious threat to Hornets stopper Scott Loach. A fiery scuffle involving Watford skipper John Eustace and Graham Dorrans, which was joined by a host of other players, raised the temperature inside Vicarage Road. But, with Will Buckley firing off target when in a good position, half-time came with the deadlock still in place.

The first notable attempt after the break came from Mariappa, who stung the gloves of Carson with a rasping 30-yard drive in the 53rd minute. At the other end, Bednar went down in the area under pressure from substitute Jay DeMerit but his appeals fell on deaf ears. Robert Koren then saw his effort well blocked by Dale Bennett as Albion, minus the injured Zuiverloon, started to impose themselves. As well as Doyley, Watford had also lost Buckley to injury when they were dealt a severe blow as Manchester United loanee Cleverley was stretchered off with his leg in a splint. Matters went from bad to worse for the hosts as Harley saw red for a second bookable offence in the 79th minute. But just minutes later Graham popped up to send the home crowd wild when his marvellous strike from distance looked to have settled matters. The Baggies streamed forward, however, and after James Morrison missed a glorious chance to level, Brunt headed home from six yards to equalise at the last possible opportunity.

 Sky Sports

CURRENT CONNECTIONS

Albion and England goalkeeper Ben Foster spent the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons on loan at Watford whilst a Manchester United player. He moved to The Hawthorns in July 2011, initially on loan, from Birmingham City.

Watford striker Matej Vydra spent the 2013/14 season on loan at The Hawthorns from parent club Udinese. Vydra had spent the 2012/13 season on loan at Watford and returned to Vicarage Road for another season-long loan in July 2014. The Czech Republic international signed permanently for the Hornets in July 2015.

Hornets' midfielder Ben Watson spent a short spell on loan at The Hawthorns from Wigan during the latter stages of the 2009/10 season. He joined Watford from Wigan in January 2015 for an undisclosed fee.

Lloyd Dyer was a key figure during Albion's 2003/04 promotion campaign but following the club's elevation to the Premier League the Birmingham-born winger struggled to pin down a regular first team place for the Baggies. He left for Millwall in January 2006 and spells at MK Dons and Leicester City followed before he joined Watford in the summer of 2014.

PAST CONNECTIONS

Amongst the players to have turned out at various levels for both clubs are: Keith Andrews, Gerry Armstrong, Chris Baird, Craig Beattie, Trevor Benjamin, Luther Blissett, David Carlisle; James Chambers, Perry Digweed, Bobby Downes, George Drury, Lloyd Dyer, Nathan Ellington, Bill Hicklin, George James, Tomasz Kuszczak, Billy Law, Des Lyttle, Carlton Palmer, Tom Pangborn, Kevin Phillips, Jimmy Poxton, Mel Rees, George Reilly, Paul Robinson, Sam Sodje, Brian Talbot, Gabriel Tamas, Garry Thompson, George Thorne, Colin West and Harry Wilcox.

Former Albion boss Ron Saunders spent a year as a Watford player during the mid-1960s, scoring 18 goals in 41 appearances for the club; Luther Blissett played for both clubs and also coached at Vicarage Road; Brian Talbot also played for both clubs and would go on to manage the Baggies between October 1988 and January 1991; Bobby Downes - an Albion reserve in the late 1970s, played league football for Watford and would later become the Hornets' Director of Football; Tommy Jones - Albion's physio between 1965 and 1971 was a former Watford player; Goalkeeper Eric Steele played for Watford and would spend a short time as Albion's goalkeeping coach.

ALL-TIME LEAGUE & CUP RECORD VS WATFORD

 VENUE P W D  L F A
 Home 17 10 4 3 37 17
 Away 18 7 4 7 22 26
 Total 35 17 8 10 59 43

LAST TEN MATCHES AGAINST WATFORD

DATE COMPETITION H/A F-A GOALSCORERS     GATE
Mon 05 Apr 2010 Championship A 1-1 Brunt - Graham    14,555
Sat 31 Oct 2009 Championship H 5-0 Olsson, Dorrans (pen), Moore, Zuiverloon, Cox    21,421
Sat 12 Apr 2008 Championship H 1-1 Barnett - Bromby    26,508
Sat 03 Nov 2007 Championship A 3-0 Miller, Phillips, Albrechtsen    18,273
Sat 31 Jan 2004 League Division 1 H 3-1 Horsfield 2, Hughes - Fitzgerald    23,958
Sat 23 Aug 2003 League Division 1 A 1-0 Hughes    15,023
Sat 25 Jan 2003 FA Cup A 0-1 Helguson    16,975
Tue 05 Mar 2002 League Division 1 H 1-1 Dichio - Brown    19,580
Sat 15 Sep 2001 League Division 1 A 2-1 Dobie 2 - Gayle    15,726
Sat 31 Mar 2001 League Division 1 H 3-0 Quinn, Hughes, Clement    17,261


 

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