Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford are both enjoying their EPL seasons after hot starts and some unlikely wins for both squads. After all, Wolves are a newly promoted side from the English Championship and Watford barely avoided relegation last season in the EPL. This intriguing Matchweek 9 matchup is of great importance for both clubs, as they try to assert themselves among the elite clubs in the EPL.
Wolves needed a few matches to get a hang of the English Premier League but since then have been in spectacular form. They are undefeated in their last 6 matches in the EPL with 4 wins and 2 draws in the process. Besides impressive wins versus Southampton, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Burnley, their 1-1 draw against the defending champs Manchester City, really stands out.
Watford got off to a fantastic start, winning 4 of their opening matches in the EPL. They have cooled off since then drawing only 1 match and losing another 3. Still, this has been enough to keep them in the 9th place in the EPL and in the hunt for the European qualifications pot. Their 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspurs has been the highlight of their season, so far.
I have prepared a short breakdown of the match and some betting predictions, so feel free to read on.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Watford Odds
- Wolverhampton Wanderers -132
- Watford +360
- Draw +255
- Over 2.5 Goals -122
- Under 2.5 Goals +102
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Watford Pick
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford have met on 30 previous occasions and the matchup has been incredibly even with Wolves winning 8 matches, Watford winning 8 as well and a whopping 14 matches ending in a draw. Since 2004, the story has been pretty much the same with 14 matches played, Wolves winning 4, Watford 5 and 5 ending in a draw. It is important to note that only 2 of those 30 matches were played in the EPL, with the majority (26 matches) played between the two sides in the English Championship.
When it comes to matches played at Molineux Stadium, Wolves have been particularly bad, winning only 4 out of the 16 matches played at their own stadium. Watford has won 6 of those 16, and 6 have ended up in a draw.
The matchup has traditionally produced a lot of goals, with 9 out of the last 12 matches between the two sides ending up with more than 2.5 goals scored in them. When it comes to matches played at the Molineux Stadium, only 4 out of the last 10 matches there had more than 2.5 goals scored. It is important to note that the last 5 matches between the two sides have seen both teams score.
A peculiar trend can be seen in Watford’s performances away from home. In 9 out of their last 11 away games in the EPL, Watford has failed to find the net. Overall, Watford has also failed to win in 14 out of their last 15 away games in the EPL (1 win, 1 draw and 12 losses). In 10 of those losses Watford has also failed to score.
Wolves’ 15 points from the opening 8 matches is the best start in EPL by a newly promoted side since 2008/2009 Hull City squad. Overall, there are only 3 newly-promoted clubs who have had better starts in the English top-flight league than this year’s Wolves.
While Wolverhampton is supposed to be fully fit for this match, Watford have been hit by an injury bug, especially in their defensive line. For the match against Wolves, Watford will miss the services of Holebas, Janmaat, Kabasele and Cleverley. Each of the 4 players has been an integral part of Watford’s rotation in the EPL and their absence will be a severe handicap for the Watford side who already struggled away from home.
Wolves haven’t really dazzled the EPL with their offensive play, which has won them plenty of fans in the English Championship last season. This season, they have only scored 9 goals in their opening 8 matches in the EPL. It is key that Wolves’ defense has withstood the rigors of EPL soccer and have allowed only 6 goals in the opening 6 matches. Especially if we consider that newly promoted sides like Cardiff City and Fulham are dead last in defense in the EPL allowing 17 and 21 goals in the same number of matches.
The match will be fought in the middle of the field as both sides fight for possession and a chance to counter attack or build up their attacking moves. Wolves midfield is controlled by the duo or Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho, who possess a creative touch to spark the offense with a single touch, while the trio of attackers in Diego Jota, Raul Jimenez and Helder Costa are there to quickly transition into attack and score.
Watford is not nearly as creative in the middle of the field, but they do possess a level of physicality with Capoue and Doucoure that could pose a lot of problems for the Wolves. Couple with the offensive pair in Deeney and Gray, who work great together, Watford could be dangerous on a counter-attack especially.
Wolves are the favorites in this one, especially if we consider their recent form and the injury crisis in the Watford defense. It will be a close match, where a single goal might decide the outcome of the match. I believe that Wolves are better prepared and the healthier team at the moment and that they will win this one at home and continue their climb along the EPL table. This is why they are my pick.