Watford vs. Southampton FA Cup: preview, prediction, team news, lineups

Watford and Southampton will face each other in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday, taking a break from Championship action.

Match Preview

While currently sitting ninth in the second tier, Watford will have a tough challenge against Southampton, who are third and enjoying an impressive unbeaten streak in English football’s top five divisions.

Southampton, led by Russell Martin, have not lost a game since September 23 and would prefer to continue their Championship schedule.

They secured a 3-1 victory against Swansea City last weekend, keeping them within eight points of the league leaders with 18 games remaining.

Their away form has been a concern, with only two wins in six Championship fixtures, but their consistent avoidance of defeat on the road deserves recognition.

In the FA Cup, Southampton advanced to the last 32 with a convincing 4-0 win over Walsall at St Mary’s, followed by two more victories where they scored a total of 11 goals.

Watford faced a tougher challenge against lower-level opposition, needing a comeback to beat National League side Chesterfield 2-1.

Despite the potential setback, Watford responded well, collecting four points from their subsequent two league games. They recorded a 2-1 triumph against Queens Park Rangers and a 1-1 draw against Bristol City.

This positive performance has kept Valerien Ismael’s team within five points of fifth-placed West Bromwich Albion, maintaining their hopes for a playoff spot in the second half of the season.

The last league meeting between these sides occurred on December 9, resulting in a 1-1 draw with Watford scoring a late equalizer.

Team News

Both teams are expected to make several changes to their lineups for this contest.

Watford manager Valerien Ismael will likely bring goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann back into the starting XI.

Other players such as Jamal Lewis, Francisco Sierralta, Tom Ince, Matheus Martins, and Vakoun Bayo can also expect to start at Vicarage Road.

Emmanuel Dennis, who recently returned to Watford, may be kept on the substitutes’ bench.

Southampton will also rotate their squad, with Jack Stephens, Shea Charles, Joe Rothwell, Carlos Alcaraz, and Sekou Mara all in contention for starting roles.

Che Adams’s involvement may depend on whether he is transferred before the end of the January window.

Predicted Lineups

Watford possible starting lineup: (4-1-4-1)

Bachmann;

Andrews, Porteous, Hoedt, Lewis;

Sierralta;

Ince, Dele-Bashiru, Kone, Martins; B

ayo

Southampton possible starting lineup: (4-3-3)

Lumley;

Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Manning;

Charles, Downes, Rothwell;

A.Armstrong, Alcaraz, Fraser

Prediction: Watford 1-3 Southampton

With both teams expected to make changes to their lineups, the outcome of the match becomes more unpredictable.

However, it is difficult to bet against Southampton, given their current form and strong performances against EFL clubs.

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