Neither Watford nor Southampton come into this game in the best of form, actually truth be told it is some of the worst form in the Premier League right now. For Marco Silva’s men in it is just one win in six while for Mauricio Pellegrino’s side the plight is worse with no wins during the same period.
Watford’s season has undoubtedly hit the skids after a bright start, the fact the relative slump happened after Marco Silva had his turned by Everton is too much of a coincidence and now the Hornets are in the middle of the fall out as they struggle for results.
In any organisation the message always comes from the top and if the manager is not showing commitment to the cause then the players will then be asking themselves why should they, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they have dropped tools but there is something currently amiss at Vicarage Road.
The fact that they have only won once in their last six matches is worrying enough, the fact that the majority of the five defeats have come against teams below them in the table is more than the concern. If this is the form now then what will happen when they go up against stronger opposition.
Watford have had a post Christmas slump in the past two seasons after starting well in the first half of the campaign, we could very well be looking at this happening three times in a row and keep in mind that in the last two seasons the managers have ended up losing their jobs because of it.
At the start of the campaign and certainly up until November there would have been no question over Silva’s long term future at the club but after the flirting with Everton his stock is on the wane and he will have to make sure he is arrests the slide or it could be another new man at the helm next season.
There are also questions over Mauricio Pellegrino’s future at Southampton, so much so that you cannot even use the phrase ‘long-term’ when discussing just how long the former Alaves boss will be spending on the South Coast especially if results continue to against him.
It is only the fact that Stoke have such a terrible goal difference which is keeping the Saints on the right side of the dotted relegation line at present and their current plight has got many fans believing that the grass is not greener on the other side.
How they would yearn for Claude Puel to still be in charge right now, admittedly the football was on the pragmatic side but it is that pragmatism that got them to an eighth place finish last season and also the final of the EFL Cup where the lost to Manchester United in the final.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and you do have to wonder if the Southampton hierarchy feel that they made a mistake when sacking the now Leicester boss. To be honest a lot of outsiders feel they have with the club seemingly going backwards under Pellegrino.
The Argentine said earlier in the week that he would like to bring in some permanent signings rather than loan deals this month and with the hefty windfall received after the sale of Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool he has certainly has the money in which to do so.
But you also have to question if he will be allowed to spend it, not because of a reluctance by the Southampton board but whether he will still be in the St Mary’s hotseat come the end of the transfer window, it is a results based business and business is not booming at present.
Both teams need a win although for slightly differing reasons, Watford need to get out of the slump they are in while Southampton need to pull themselves clear of the bottom three. The Hornets have a bit more attacking quality at present and that may well just edge it for them.