2021-22 Premier League: Week One – Watford vs Aston Villa

Watford mark their return to the Premier League after an one-season absence as they welcome Aston Villa to Vicarage Road.

Watford will be looking to get their campaign off to a strong start, whereas Villa look to build on last season’s progress despite suffering a £100m loss of Jack Grealish to Manchester City this summer.

 

Team News

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Domingos Quina is in contention for Watford after recovering from a thigh injury.

Adam Masina (knock) is also available for selection but Joao Pedro (knee), Josh King (groin) and Nathaniel Chalobah (illness) all miss out.

Villa could be without Ollie Watkins after the striker suffered a bruised knee during their final pre-season friendly win over Salernitana.

Summer signings, Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey are both available despite initial fitness concerns earlier this week and could feature alongside Danny Ings who has signed from Southampton.

Trezeguet and Morgan Sanson remain ruled out with knee injuries and Douglas Luiz is unlikely to feature after representing Brazil at this summer’s Olympics.

 

Stat Attack

  • Watford have lost four of eight previous Premier League meetings against Aston Villa (W3, D1, L4).
  • Villa have won just one of ten previous trips to Vicarage Road (W1, D3, L6).
  • Only one penalty has been awarded in eight previous Premier League clashes in this fixture, going the way of Watford in December 2019 with Troy Deeney scoring the spot-kick.
  • Watford have lost just one of their last five opening weekend fixtures (W2, D2, L1).
  • Villa are unbeaten in three of their last five opening weekend matches (W2, D1, L2).

 

Prediction

After delivering a largely consistent season in the Championship last campaign with just two defeats coming by more than just one goal, Watford will be keen to carry that momentum into this season but this will be a tough test of their early survival credentials.

Villa though are going to have their own tricky test here as they learn how to handle life without Grealish because he has been very important to their attack in recent seasons, yet they do have Watkins and Ings who will be ones to watch in this team this season given their goal-scoring potential.

On that note, this should be a decent contest as both teams look to navigate their different tasks with a solid result, although Villa will be relieved to get their bogey ground disposed of immediately and if they can do it with a win then even better given their goal-scoring quality across the pitch.

Prediction: Watford 1-2 Aston Villa

Result: Watford 3-2 Aston Villa

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