Relegation-threatened Watford will welcome high-flying Brentford to Vicarage Road for their Premier League battle on Saturday afternoon.
The Hornets have not won on home soil since beating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United 4-1 back in November, while the Bees claimed an impressive 4-1 victory against Chelsea in their most recent away game.
Watford’s task of avoiding an immediate drop back down to the Championship has become much tougher, after they were beaten 3-0 at home against Leeds United last weekend.
Goals from Raphinha, Rodrigo and Jack Harrison condemned the Hornets to their 21st Premier League defeat of the season, and although Roy Hodgson has urged supporters to keep the faith, their defensive frailties are proving to be a major factor in their downfall.
Watford have now conceded 60 goals in the top flight this campaign, only Leeds (68) and Norwich City (63) have conceded more, and they have only kept three clean sheets all season, the fewest of any team in the division.
Hodgson’s side remain 19th in the table but a victory for Everton against Manchester United last weekend means that the gap to safety has increased to six points with seven games remaining.
Watford’s miserable home form has seen them lose their last nine league games in succession at Vicarage Road, conceding 25 goals in the process. Another defeat on their own turf this weekend would see the Hornets become only the second team in top-flight history to lose 10 consecutive home matches in the same season after Birmingham City back in February 1986.
The Hornets have lost their last two encounters against Brentford, both of which were on the road, but they are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with the Bees on home soil.
Brentford’s Ivan Toney celebrates scoring their first goal on March 12, 2022© Reuters
At the beginning of the year, Brentford looked to be edging towards a potential relegation scrap when they suffered eight defeats in nine matches between January 12 and February 26.
However, the Bees have now all but secured their top-flight status for next season as a run of four victories in their last five matches has seen them move up to 13th in the table and 12 points clear of the drop zone.
Thomas Frank’s men followed up their impressive 4-1 triumph away at Chelsea with a 2-0 victory on home soil against West Ham United last weekend, with both Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney on the scoresheet.
Toney, in particular, has been in fine form over the last few months, scoring eight goals in his last eight Premier League appearances; only Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane (10) has found the net on more occasions since the turn of the year.
Brentford, who beat Watford 2-1 in the reverse fixture in December, will be looking to win three successive matches in the top flight for the first time since September 1946 when they travel to Vicarage Road, and three points on Saturday could see them climb into the top 10 if other results were to go their way.