Scout report: Here's what Brighton can expect from Nigel Pearson's Watford in their Premier League relegation battle

Brighton will hope to replicate the fighting spirit they showed in the second half against West Ham when they host Watford on Saturday.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 11:24 am
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 11:26 am
The arrival of Nigel Pearson has helped bring the best out of their main striker Troy Deeney

Last weekend Albion came from two goals down to snatch a point at the London Stadium, while Watford threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 against Everton.

The Seagulls and Hornets have had turbulent seasons as Brighton came flying out of the blocks while Watford failed to win their first 11 games.

As the season progressed, under their third manager of the season with Nigel Pearson, things began to turn around for Watford, while Brighton have only one won in their previous 10 league fixtures.

Gerard Deulofeu has the ability to unlock defences and has an eye for goal

Since Pearson’s arrival, Watford have looked rejuvenated but more importantly, they look like a side that could stay up.

Before the former Leicester City manager was appointed at Vicarage Road Watford had only won one game in their first 16 while Pearson won four of his first seven games in charge losing just once.

Despite a resurgence in form Watford are coming into Saturday’s game off the back off two disappointing losses against Everton and Aston Villa due to late goals.

Under Pearson one of Watford’s major strengths that Brighton must consider ahead of Saturday is their threat from the wings.

Neal Maupay scored against Watford at the start of the season and will hope to force his way back into the starting XI this Saturday

Although the Hornets do not pose much of a threat in the air, Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra love to square the ball across the box to cause havoc and it has proved effective in the past few games.

Brighton’s full-backs are due to be in for a busy evening and this may mean Steven Alzate, who is more comfortable in midfield, will not be risked at right-back, against former Barcelona winger Deulofeu. The new £4m arrival from Chelsea is settling and Potter could well opt for the experience of Martin Montoya.

Another strength the Hornets possess is that they get forward quickly.

On several occasions, if Troy Deeney or Andre Gray fail to convert their first chance, the cavalry are not far behind to feed off the scraps with Abdoulaye Doucouré often positioned behind the lone striker in the 4-2-3-1 formation they have been playing recently.

Along with the back-four Nathaniel Chalobah and Etienne Capoue feature in the middle of the park with the wingers and Doucouré playing ahead of them.

Deeney or Gray often feature as the lone striker with the former preferred under Pearson.

This has been the visitor’s set up as of late and it is much different to the narrow, two-striker formation Brighton faced at Vicarage Road in their 3-0 opening day victory.

Despite a spike in form with their new formation and manager Watford still have flaws that Graham Potter and his men can exploit.

Firstly, their defending from corners is an issue and was evident in their last match as they conceded twice from corners in three minutes.

This may see Neal Maupay spend another game on the bench with the bustling Glenn Murray possessing more physicality than the nimble French attacker, although the former Brentford man did score against Watford on his debut last time around.

Along with some disastrous defending at corners, the Watford rearguard have sometimes been caught out on the break in recent games.

This works into the hands of Brighton who thrive going forward with pace especially with Maupay leading the line as the striker is no stranger to catching teams out with his speed.

This hands Potter a dilemma as both Maupay and Murray have attributes which can potentially punish Watford.

The visitors have suffered from a number of injuries this season but are hoping that Ismaila Sarr, Tom Cleverley and Nathaniel Chalobah will all be available for their trip to the south coast.

For the hosts, Shane Duffy, who underwent an operation to remove a blood-clot from his leg, could be back in contention with Potter potentially looking at a defensive reshuffle after conceding six goals from their last two.

As always many decisions to make. Managers hate the term six-pointer but tomorrow afternoon at the Amex undoubtedly is