For the first time in more than a month, Watford must find the way to bounce back from a Premier League defeat.
Playing with a full sense of urgency, the relegation zone-dwelling Hornets host an Everton side on Saturday that also must rebound from allowing a late lead to unthinkably slip away in their most recent league contest.
With Nigel Pearson trying to engineer one of the better escape jobs in Premier League history, Watford (5-8-11) were amidst a 4-2-0 Premier League stretch when they fell 2-1 at Aston Villa on Jan. 21. Troy Deeney (five goals) opened the scoring in the 38th minute, but Villa equalised in the 68th and then went ahead at the near death for an emotional victory.
Whilst the result was massively brutal for Watford and left them in the middle of the drop zone, they are tied on 23 points with 18th-place Bournemouth and 17th-place West Ham, the latter whom are just above the drop zone.
"We need to just keep working hard, it's all we can do," forward Andre Gray told Watford's official website. "We've been in a dog fight since the start of the season. We can't dwell on anything, and we need to keep pushing."
The Hornets will look to push their unbeaten league run to six straight, one that includes three victories. Watford also will aim to avenge a 1-0 loss at Everton from August. Bernard's goal in the 10th minute was the difference.
The Toffees (8-6-10) were able to hold the lead that day, but could not in a 2-2 home draw with Newcastle United on Jan. 21. Moise Kean scored in the 30th minute and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (12 goals over all competitions) made it 2-0 on 54, but Newcastle stunned the Toffees and Goodison Park faithful with two goals, one minute apart, in stoppage time to earn a point.
Though the result left Everton unbeaten in three straight matches, they sit 12th in the table and are hoping to take something positive out of that disheartening finish.
"Sometimes in football that can happen, sometimes you have to accept this," manager Carlo Ancelotti told Everton's official website. "The fact is, we played really well, the result (was) not what we wanted, but the performance can give us confidence for the next games.
"We could stay more focused in the final minutes, but they are really little things."
Everton should get a boost with star Richarlison (10 goals over all competitions) available to feature after sitting the past two matches with a knee injury. Veteran Gylfi Sigurdsson is also apparently fit to feature after dealing with a groin issue, as well as Alex Iwobi (hamstring).
Updated January 30, 2020