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Watford boss Claudio Ranieri
Free football tips, best bets and analysis for Brentford against Watford in the Premier League on Friday.
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Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League, Friday at 8 p.m.
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1pt 31-20 Betfair, Power
Sergi Canos is suspended, Ivan Toney misses a second game in a row while David Raya and Josh Dasilva remain on the sidelines.
Christian Kabasele and Francisco Sierralta are pushing to return after layoffs, but Adam Masina, Ben Foster, Ken Sema, Ismaila Sarr, Nicolas Nkoulou and Peter Etebo are excluded.
Three straight losses have left the fourth-last Watford three points above the relegation zone, but the Hornets can give their hopes of survival a huge boost with a win at Brentford.
Watford has not been in the last three at any time this season, but they are all vying for an immediate return to the championship.
Thomas Frank’s Brentford is 6-1 and just 4-1 for a place in the first half, but the Bees have been on a bad run, taking just five points in their last eight games, and losing to Watford would leave them just a point above the Hertfordshire side.
Frank will be aware of the importance of the game and approach it with some issues as all-round striker Sergi Canos is suspended and leading scorer Ivan Toney misses a second game in a row due to a positive Covid-19 test.
Canos adapted to a more advanced role for last Sunday’s trip to Leeds and scored a well-scored goal in a 2-2 draw.
His loss will be keenly felt but it is Toney’s absence that will give Frank the biggest headache.
Yoane Wissa and Marcus Forss are options to join Bryan Mbeumo in attack but Watford will be delighted with the absence of Toney, who scored against them twice in the Championship last season.
Watford is also below full strength on offense due to Ismaila Sarr’s continued absence with a knee injury.
However, they still carry a significant threat thanks to dynamic strikers Emmanuel Dennis and Joshua King, who have each scored twice in the last four games.
Watford did what they often do by changing managers early in the season – swapping Xisco Munoz for Claudio Ranieri – and it remains to be seen if they made the right decision.
The first two months of Ranieri’s reign were marked by six losses and two wins, but it was a devilishly difficult schedule that included home games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City and trips to Arsenal and Leicester.
There have been some decent performances against the big guns with Watford demolishing Manchester United 4-1 and suffering a tough 2-1 loss to Chelsea and if those standards can be repeated regularly enough, they will have every chance of staying in place.
Brentford seized the big opportunity by sealing a 3-3 draw against Liverpool in September.
However, more recently they have lost at Burnley and at home to Norwich, and they could suffer from another relegation rival.
Brentford have won just one of their last eight league games.
Penalty shooter Marcus Forss
Free kick assistant Bryan mbeumo
Aerial threat set-piece Pontus Jansson
Card magnet Christian Norgaard
Penalty shooter King Joshua
Free kick assistant Juraj Kucka
Aerial threat set-piece Craig cathcart
Card magnet Emmanuel Denis
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FIRST POSTED AT 12:25 p.m. on December 9, 2021