Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake is a doubt to face Watford after suffering a hamstring injury in Sunday’s defeat by Manchester United.
Simon Francis, Adam Smith, Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling are all long-term absentees due to knee injuries. Watford head coach Javi Gracia, who made six changes for the draw with Newcastle, will again rotate his squad.
Captain Troy Deeney could be restored to the starting XI after beginning the match against the Magpies on the bench.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
Jonathan Pearce: Bournemouth haven’t won the opening league game of a calendar year since 2012. Watford have lost seven New Year openers on the spin!
But Watford’s current form isn’t causing alarm. Far from it. Just one league defeat in five. A win here will make give them 46 points under Javi Gracia – a Premier League record for a Hornets boss.
Bournemouth‘s slump IS deeply concerning. The 10-year average survival mark is 36 points. They need another 10.
With nine defeats in 11 games in all, only nine goals scored in that time and possibly five key players missing on Wednesday (three of them out long term), it’s difficult to see them getting a much-needed victory in this. They can’t afford to lose.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: “We’ve been through an incredibly tough run of fixtures. We’ve had results in between that bad run, beating Brighton and Huddersfield at home.
“We hoped they would be the catalyst for some momentum, it never happened. Now we have to try and get another result.”
Watford head coach Javi Garcia: “We will be ready for a demanding game because it doesn’t depend on the last results.
“Bournemouth is a very constant team because their style helps them to compete well. They manage the attack, the set pieces, and are a well-organised team.
“At the end of the league, they get their targets because they usually keep their attitude and behaviour.”
I don’t think Bournemouth are in relegation trouble. I’m just a little bit worried they are losing so many games and conceding a lot of goals.
Watford have taken over from Stoke as the most difficult team to predict a result for.
- Bournemouth have never beaten Watford in a home Premier League match (D2, L1).
- However, they triumphed 4-0 at Vicarage Road in October, their biggest away win in the top flight.
- Five of the seven previous Premier League meetings have been drawn, with one win apiece.
- Since August 2013, Bournemouth have won seven penalties in 11 league meetings with Watford – the most by one side against another in that time in the top four divisions.
- Bournemouth have lost eight of their last 10 Premier League games.
- They have conceded four or more goals in four league games in 2018-19, and have conceded nine in the last two combined.
- The Cherries have won half of their 10 home games in this season’s top flight.
- Bournemouth haven’t started a calendar year with a league win since 2012, when they beat Wycombe 2-0 in League One (D5, L1).
- Jefferson Lerma has been booked in his last four Premier League appearances.
- Watford have lost just one of their last five league games (W2, D2).
- They have been defeated in one of their past four away fixtures (W1, D2).
- The Hornets have lost their first league match in each of the last seven calendar years, a run stretching back to 2012.
- Jose Holebas has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than any other defender, scoring three and setting up five.