Watford v Sunderland

13 May

Sunderland secured another season in the Premier League with victory over Everton on Wednesday.


Sunderland secured another season in the Premier League with victory over Everton on Wednesday.

TEAM NEWS

Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores is expected to have an unchanged squad for his final match in charge.

Valon Behrami and Etienne Capoue remain on the sidelines with rib and knee injuries respectively.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce says he will promote some players from the under-21 side after his team secured their survival on Wednesday.

Midfielder George Honeyman, left-back Tommy Robson and winger Rees Greenwood could all be involved.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Tony Husband: “Quique Sanchez Flores will be able to walk away from Watford proud of his achievements.

“True, they have lost seven of their last 10 games amid a major dip in form, but Flores took them as high as seventh at one stage this season and, of the promoted clubs, they were safe first.

“It hasn’t kept him in a job but should ensure he gets another one.

“Sunderland have been consistent in the sense that for three years they’ve flirted dangerously with the drop and then secured safety.

“After giving Sam Allardyce some sleepless nights over the winter, they found their feet this spring.

“One defeat in 10, a settled line-up and Jermain Defoe among the goals.

“Black Cats fans must be hoping they mix it up a bit more next season!”

Twitter: @TonyHusbandBBC

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores: “I’ve had the opportunity to work in the Premier League and have been part of this amazing Watford team, so in this moment I feel free.

“This has been good for my experience and I’ll take away the experience and things I have learned here.

“It’s a long season in England and it’s really, really good for a team who has just been promoted to get 44 points. They have finished in the position they deserve. My work is done.”

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: “My idea is to play some younger players on Sunday.

“The under-21s have had a great year and I think that some of them need to play in the team to see if they can cope at this level when the pressure is off.

“That’s not saying we will go there and lie down because I expect these lads to compete at this level and show why there may be a place for them in the squad in the future.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

I find it bizarre that Flores is on his way out after a year at the club. There is no recognition of the job he has done, just the belief someone else can do better – I am not convinced.

I think the players like Flores, though, which is why I am backing Watford to win. Defeat would not be the end of the world for Sunderland.

Prediction: 2-1

Lawro’s full predictions v X-Men star Ben Hardy

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Sunderland spent 237 days in the relegation zone this season but still survived.<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Watford won the reverse fixture 1-0 in December – their first league win over Sunderland since 1999 (D2, L4).

Watford

  • Watford have lost seven of their last 10 league matches (W2, D1).
  • The Hornets won 29 points from their first 18 matches this season – they have taken just 15 from their subsequent 19 games.
  • Troy Deeney has scored three times in his last three Premier League games, as many as in his previous 16 combined.
  • Deeney has set up seven goals for Odion Ighalo this season in the Premier League – no player has provided more assists for another more often.

Sunderland

  • Sunderland are unbeaten in their last five games and have only lost one of their last 10 (W3, D6).
  • However, they have won just one of their last seven Premier League away matches (D4, L2).
  • Sunderland have named the same starting XI for seven games in succession, something they’ve never done before in the Premier League.
  • They spent 237 days in the bottom three this season – only Southampton in 1998-99 were in the relegation zone for longer without being relegated (252).

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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