PREVIEW | Watford vs Everton

Frank Lampard, his staff and the players were given another raucous send-off from Finch Farm on Tuesday afternoon as the Blues travel to face Watford. Hundreds of fans crowded around the training ground to show their support for the team on Tuesday afternoon.

Many are hoping that it will have the same affect as the last two games, which have brought Everton two much-needed wins, dragging themselves out of the bottom three.

Sunday saw the Toffees win an away game for the first time since August 2021, beating Leicester City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium. A first goal for Vitalii Mykolenko, a stunning volley into the bottom corner, and a second goal of the season for Mason Holgate proved decisive. Jordan Pickford was in inspired form, pulling off a number of sensational stops to ensure that the Blues left Leicester with all three points.

A special mention needs to go to the away fans however, who never stopped singing and outsung the home support. The twenty-minute rendition of ‘Spirit of the Blues’ was a particular highlight. The Evertonians also stayed behind fifteen minutes after full-time, singing and chanting. Frank Lampard even came back out to show his support. Many Everton fans will agree that it is the biggest bond between manager and fans in a long time.

As mentioned, Everton ran out 2-1 winners at the weekend, but their opponents suffered another defeat.

Watford lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, which confirmed their relegation to the Championship, though they will probably be back for the 2023/24 Premier League season.

The Hornets are also without a number of first-team players. Ismaïla Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis, Tom Cleverley, Imran Louza, Juraj Kucka, Kiko Femenia, Josh King, Shaqai Forde and Nicholas N’Koulou are all either sick or injured, whilst Hassane Kamara was dismissed in the defeat at Selhurst Park, so Roy Hodgson will have a threadbare squad to choose from.

Everton on the other hand are still without Donny van de Beek and Ben Godfrey, whilst Yerry Mina is also out after picking up a calf injury in the victory at the weekend. However, Vitalii Mykolenko will be available after coming off with cramp in Sunday’s win.

One to Watch – Watford

With a number of Watford first-team players missing, it was hard to think of a player to focus on. However, there has been one constant in the Watford side this season, Ben Foster.

The 39-year-old has pulled off a number of impressive saves this season, keeping the score line and goal difference down significantly. His stats this season are not too impressive as he has not been helped by his defence. He has only made 63 saves, the second lowest in the league. He has also conceded 44 goals, the seventh highest.

Despite his age, Foster has no plans to retire and hopes to return to the Premier League with Watford in a few years time.

One to Watch – Everton

Vitalii Mykolenko has quickly become a fans’ favourite at Goodison Park. The Ukrainian international had a tough start to life on Merseyside, but his performances over the last two months have cemented his place in the first team, and also in the hearts of Evertonians.

In recent weeks, the Ukrainian has pocketed Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and Reece James, providing Everton with a solid foundation down their left-hand side.

Cries of ‘he’s magic you know, Vitalii Mykolenko’ rang out around the King Power following the 22-year-olds first goal of the season, a sensational volley from outside the box. He was also defensively solid again in the game. He has come out and said that he loves the Evertonians, and that love is certainly reciprocated.

Everton go into the game against an already relegated Watford in sixteenth position, one point above both Burnley and Leeds United. Frank Lampard has stated the importance of not being complacent against Watford. As they are already relegated, they do not have anything to play for, and will certainly put up a fight despite their injuries, arguably making them more dangerous.

The Toffees will also be looking for revenge in the fixture, following the 5-2 embarrassment at Goodison Park in October 2021, with former Everton striker Josh King getting a hattrick.

A win for the Blues tomorrow will take them four points clear of Burnley and Leeds, and could even drag Southampton into the picture.

What Everton cannot afford to do is lose momentum after two important and impressive wins and suffer a loss against the Hornets. With the number of absentees for Roy Hodgson, and the recent good form of Everton, the Blues should be able to get the win.

Prediction: 0-2.

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