Huddersfield Town-Watford Preview
After a rough week on the road that ended with a pair of defeats, Watford look to right themselves at Vicarage Road on Saturday against struggling new boys Huddersfield Town.
Though the Hornets (6-4-7) are in the top half of the table and enter this match ninth ahead of Everton on goal difference, they let three points slip away with a 2-1 loss at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
Daryl Janmaat staked Watford to a lead in the third minute, but it all went pear-shaped at the end after midfielder Tom Cleverley received his second yellow card three minutes from time. Bakary Sako scored an opportunistic goal after Hornets keeper Heruelho Gomes produced a double save, and with Watford then on the back foot trying to escape with a draw, James MacArthur provided the winner for the hosts in the 92nd minute.
"Obviously we're gutted to come away with no points," Adrian Mariappa told the team's official website. "I thought we were in control of the game for pretty much most of it and then we conceded two late goals. It's something we need to look at and address because we know it's not good enough.
"At the end of the day we had the one-nil lead and we should have come away with a clean sheet."
Having players sent off is nothing new for Watford, who have accrued a Premier League-high eight red cards since the start of last season. Cleverley's absence in the midfield will be a blow to the Hornets, who have scored just 10 goals in their eight league home matches compared to 16 in nine outside Vicarage Road.
"It's frustrating, Clevs has been terrific for us the whole season so him missing a game will be massive," Mariappa said. "We need to just stick together as a group and believe in what we're doing and crack on for the next game, we've got a big game this Saturday at home and we need to get a positive result."
Huddersfield Town (5-3-9) are the highest of the three promoted sides in the table as they enter this match 12th on 18 points despite a 12-goal haul that is joint second-lowest in the top flight. The Terriers were unable to build on their win over fellow new boys Brighton on Tuesday, falling 3-1 to Chelsea at home for their fifth loss in six league matches.
"The players worked their socks off and we know that if you want to pick up a result against a top team like Chelsea, the players have to overperform. This wasn't the case today," manager David Wagner told HTTV. "The first two goals were avoidable, this was only a lack of concentration and focus in these situations - and they used it."
Laurent Depoitre helped Huddersfield avoid a shutout loss at John Smith's Stadium with a late stoppage-time marker. The hope is that goal will at least give the Terriers some confidence to end a road goalless streak that has now stretched beyond nine hours (552 minutes) since Steve Mounie completed their 3-0 season-opening victory. They have claimed just one point in six matches during this barren road spell, shipping 18 goals without reply.
After sitting back in hopes of earning a point against one of the league's evergreens, it is likely Wagner will return to Huddersfield's trademark high-pressing style.
The sides have not met since splitting a pair of matches in the Championship during the 2014-15 season. Huddersfield, though, have a decent track record at Vicarage Road of late, going 3-1-2 there in their last six league outings.
Updated December 14, 2017