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Everton vs Watford – Match Preview

It’s a repeat of the 1984 FA Cup Final this evening as Everton play host to Watford at Goodison Park, to be fair though compared to that afternoon, there is a lot less at stake when these two go head to head in a few hours.

That is because Everton are stuck in the safety of 7th place, they cannot move ahead of the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United while there is a 13 point chasm between themselves and West Brom in 8th.

There is every opportunity that this game could become something of a procession and it could allow Everton manager Ronald Koeman to make wholesale changes and play some of the younger members of the first team squad.

One thing that is certainly not a procession is the contract talks between the club and Ross Barkley. Yesterday Koeman delivered an ultimatum in that if the England international does not sign within the next week he will then be sold in the Summer.

It seems it is a case of who will blink first, Barkley has blown far too hot and cold this season for the wages he is demanding and Koeman is not one to let brinkmanship get the better of him, so this will make for an interesting scenario.

Without knowing Barkley’s intention to sign it remains to be seen whether or not he will be given the chance to prove his worth Tonight. He was an unnamed sub in their defeat away at Swansea last Saturday and there is nothing to indicate a starting berth against Walter Mazzari’s side.

Watford are now able to breathe easier thanks to Sunderland’s surprise win over Hull last Saturday. It now means it is going to have to take a monumental swing in terms of goal difference for them to get relegated.

But even though they have avoided the drop for a second straight season it does perhaps bode questions as to whether or not Walter Mazzari will still be in employment by the time we start the 2017/18 campaign.

Life is imitating art in the way Watford are finishing another season poorly, they may have got to an F.A. Cup Semi Final 12 months ago but the slide down the table was the ultimate undoing for previous boss Quique Sanchez Flores.

Watford can still realistically finish in the top 10 as there are only 2 points between them Southampton, but with away days to both Everton and Chelsea across the course of a long weekend then they are going to have their work cut out.

That said you get the feeling that they are going to have to finish strongly to preserve Mazzari’s hopes of staying in gainful employment with the Hertfordshire club beyond the next couple of weeks, perception is all important in the Premier League.

And it’s that perception of Watford’s season which will play a big part as to whether or not the Pozzo family who own the club decide to keep him on. A top half finish and life is rosy at Vicarage Road, but finish 15th and the story is a totally different one.

Should it be looked as success that a man in his debut season has guided Watford to Premier League safety and therefore is he being judged harshly. If so would the grass be greener on the other side if the club would have to start all over again in the Summer.

You could argue that Watford need an element of cohesion, they have a terribly bloated squad made from a hot-potch of nationalities. Where the players are from is not necessarily the issue but you do have to wonder just what the identity of this club is.

As for Tonight, there is arguably more for Watford to play for – that depends on whether the players want to turn it on for Mazzari or not. But Everton do have the extra depth and quality and that should mean a relatively comfortable home win.

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