Quique Sanchez Flores admits Watford’s game against West Bromwich Albion this afternoon is unlikely to be one for the purists as history suggests both teams will be set up to ensure they are not beaten.
The two sides will be in the Premier League next season but that won’t mean free-flowing, carefree attacking football will be on display at The Hawthorns. It’s simply not in either Sanchez Flores’ or Tony Pulis’ DNA. Remember the bore draw at Vicarage Road on the second day of the season?
They’ll want to keep things tight in defence and midfield. It’s then up to the attacking players to make the difference in the opposition’s final third, to nick a goal. So don’t expect a high-scoring contest. The statistics back that up. Only Aston Villa side have scored fewer in the top flight this season than West Brom and Watford while only six of the top seven have a better defensive record.
“West Brom are similar to us,” Sanchez Flores said. “But they’re stronger because they have trained together for a long time. They have a very English style. They play as a pack and reduce the space between lines, use long balls and fight at set pieces. They also play with four central defenders in their back four. They are very difficult opponents who have a good leader. Pulis knows the Premier League perfectly. We are still building our team. We don’t have a lot of tools and different responses when we have problems. In the second half of the season it hasn’t been easy to score.
“At least we have kept a very good defence and we are seventh for the least goals conceded. It has been difficult in the second half of the season for us and it hasn’t been easy to solve.”
Sanchez Flores has a couple of injury doubts and we understand at least three key players have been left at home. Steven Berghuis, Ikechi Anya and Sean Murray have been added to the squad. Jose Holebas has confirmed he is one of those who has missed out through injury by posting this picture of him and Obbi Oulare at training this morning.
“It is the first match in the week and it’s important to keep our good feelings,” Sanchez Flores said. “West Brom are really strong at their stadium and they have three players who are playing very well up front in Salomon Rondon, Saido Berahino and Stephane Sessegnon. We will have to be careful.”