Fulham v Watford Preview

Fulham may have lost three of their first five Premier League matches, but Slavisa Jokanovic’s team can get back on track by beating the Serbian’s former side, Watford, at Craven Cottage.

The Cottagers have had a tricky start to the campaign, although they would have expected to lose at Tottenham and Manchester City, but they have enough talent in their squad to get the better of teams that are expected to finish in a similar position to them – such as the Hornets – on home soil.

An opening-day home loss to Crystal Palace had a lot to do with summer signings failing to gel with the players that secured promotion from the Championship via the play-offs last term. But there have been signs in the last few weeks that Jokanovic is putting together an attractive team that can pick up enough points to survive in the top-flight.

Cairney’s return to boost Fulham

The Cottagers recorded a fine 4-2 victory against Burnley four weeks ago and have been handed some good news ahead of Saturday’s game, as club captain Tom Cairney is available to play after missing the 3-0 defeat at Manchester City because of an ankle problem.

Saturday’s match looks set to be an entertaining and open encounter with goals set to flow, but home advantage could be key with Fulham edging a high-scoring clash. Fulham are 25.50 to win the game 3-2, while the odds on there being over 4.5 goals in the match can be backed at 5.40.

Watford have started the campaign superbly, particularly as they were tipped by many people to be relegated this term after selling Richarlison to Everton and finishing last season poorly.

Jokanovic can enjoy beating his former team

Since being promoted in 2014/15, they have accrued 45, 40 and 41 points in their three Premier League campaigns and, having defeated Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Tottenham so far, they are already well on their way to avoiding relegation again.

Even when losing 2-1 at home to Manchester United last weekend, Javi Gracia’s team played well and they were a little unfortunate not to extend their unbeaten start to the season to five matches.

However, they have played four of their matches at Vicarage Road and the feeling remains that, despite their excellent start, they could soon start to slip down the table.

Deeney is Hornets’ key man

Troy Deeney is crucial to Watford’s style of play and the 30-year-old striker, who has scored 107 league goals in 313 appearances for the Hornets since joining in the summer of 2010, is 7.00 to be the first goalscorer against Fulham. Former Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is 2.30 to score at any time.

The last time the two teams met at Craven Cottage was in December 2014 when Watford, who were managed at the time by Jokanovic, cantered to a 5-0 victory with Deeney grabbing a hat-trick after Marcus Bettinelli had been sent off.

Another one-sided game seems very unlikely, but a Fulham win and both teams to score is good value at 3.90.