Currently sitting pretty in the top half, Watford will be aiming to collect their third consecutive victory as they take on Sunderland for the first time in a league match for over a decade.
After picking up back to back themselves, Sunderland put in another strong performance last time out at Arsenal and carved out a number of chances, but eventually succumbed to a 3-1 defeat which was much closer than the scoreline suggests. Manager Sam Allardyce was left to rue costly misses from Fabio Borini and Patrick van Aanholt as his side slipped back into the bottom three, but that they were able to produce a showing as good as that will have been a source of massive encouragement.
Youngster Duncan Watmore continues to impress, although there will be concern over Borini, who has struggled to live up to expectation since his expensive summer move from Liverpool. The Italian seems low on confidence and has not been able to impose himself in a squad which also contains vastly experienced Premier League strikers in the shape of Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher. This looks set to be a tight affair with Watford boasting a fine defensive record, so any chances that come their way have to be taken.
It is extremely difficult not to be impressed with Watford at present, and the way in which manager Quique Flores is quietly going about his business. Few expected the club to be in such a comfortable position after 15 games, and that is down to a magnificent team effort which has seen them become highly efficient in both boxes. A settled goalkeeper and back four have provided a solid foundation, while a certain strike partnership continues to thrive despite the increase in quality that comes with promotion to the top tier.
Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo were both on target again as the Hornets eased to a comfortable win over fellow new boys Norwich City in their last game. Deeney has now hit a rich vein of form, while Ighalo was particularly menacing against the Norfolk club, experiencing so many near misses before he finally got on the scoresheet in the closing stages. All the signs are positive, and if they can edge in front here they will certainly fancy their chances of another three points.
Wes Brown and Jermain Defoe are both back available for Sunderland, who will give a fitness test to Steven Fletcher. Midfield duo Lee Cattermole and Sebastian Larsson are sidelined.
Watford are still without midfielder Valon Behrami, and while defender Sebastian Prodl has returned to training this game will come too soon for him.
Last Meeting: The last time the two sides met on Wearside in the Premier League was August 1999, and unsurprisingly it was Kevin Phillips who did the damage, scoring both for the Black Cats as they cruised to a 2-0 win. The first came from the penalty spot after a foul on Niall Quinn, while the second was an unstoppable shot that flew past Chris Day four minutes from time.
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