I’ve been collating various stats from every Premier League match this season, so I thought I’d see what they might tell us about this match, particularly as the Hornets have flown under everyone’s noses into a top half berth.
I’m going to focus on Watford’s home stats as the match is taking place at Vicarage Road, and whilst their numbers are impressive, they look even better in light of who they’ve faced.
Five of their eight home matches have been against sides in the top ten for away performance so far this season, including three of the top four; Arsenal, Crystal Palace and West Ham.
The first thing to note is how few goals their home matches have featured; just six for and six against across eight games. Only Old Trafford has seen fewer goals this season; who’d have ever thought United would be bottom of that table? God bless you, Louis van Gaal.
There hasn’t been a lack of goals due to a lack of shots, as Watford and their visitors have shared 202 so far, and it should be noted that the Hornets have had 56% of them too. Only 5.6% of these shots have been converted though (when the average rate is always around 10%), which makes me wonder if the chances have generally been low quality?
It’s certainly true to say that Watford’s home games have featured below league average numbers when it comes to various shot stats. Opta-defined clear cut chances (2.8 per game vs 3.1), shots on target (7.3 vs 8.7) and shots in the box (13.9 vs 15.1) have all been rarer at Vicarage Road than in your average league game, despite the total shot numbers being fairly even (25 vs 25.8).
The bad news for anyone hoping for an entertaining encounter on Sunday lunchtime (e.g all of us), is that Liverpool’s aways have featured lower shot stats than Watford’s homes; 2.1 fewer shots per game, 0.8 on target, 1.0 shot in the box and 0.5 clear-cut chances. And that’s despite high scoring wins at Chelsea and Man City.
So I expect this to be a low scoring affair. If the Reds can shackle Odion Ighalo (and his hot converting streak of 18.5% surely won’t last for ever) then hopefully they can take the points from a tight game.