Southampton v Watford preview

Southampton and Watford will both start life under new managers when they take to the pitch at St Mary’s on Saturday.

Claude Puel will begin his tenure in charge of the Saints, after taking over from Ronald Koeman, while Walter Mazzarri has replaced Quique Sanchez Flores at the Hornets.

Both new bosses will want to get off to the best possible start in 2016/17, but while Watford have managed to keep hold of their stars in Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo over the summer, Southampton have lost yet more of theirs – with Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane both departing the club.

Southampton will be without Ryan Bertrand after the left-back suffered up a knee injury in training following his return from Euro 2016 with England.

Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares are doubts despite rejoining training but Virgil van Dijk has recovered from a knock.

New signings Isaac Success and Brice Dja Djedje will miss out for Watford with foot and leg injuries respectively.

Valon Behrami and Adlene Guedioura are also doubts as they recover from recent injuries, but Craig Cathcart is expected to play despite a back issue.

Opta stats

Southampton are unbeaten in their last five league meetings with Watford (W3 D2 L0).

Only Leicester City (42) have won more Premier League points in 2016 than Southampton (39).

Puel will become the seventh different French manager in Premier League history – just three of the previous six have managed over 20 matches in the competition.

Ighalo has scored just two goals in 18 Premier League appearances in 2016 so far; this after netting 13 goals in 19 PL apps for Watford in 2015.

The top two goalscorers for Southampton in the Premier League last season have both left the club this summer – Pelle and Mané (11 goals each).

This will be the first time two opposing managers have faced each other in their first-ever Premier League games since the opening day of the 2004-05 season (Iain Dowie v Nigel Worthington and Jacques Santini v Rafael Benitez).

The last Southampton manager to win their opening Premier League game in charge was Paul Sturrock back in March 2004 (2-0 vs Liverpool).

NaijaBet Odds

As at this post Southampton has 1.79  odd to win the match on NaijaBet while watford  has 4.50 odd to win the match also, while the odd to draw the match is 3.48


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