AFC Bournemouth V Watford at Vitality Stadium : Match Preview

20 January 2017
AFC Bournemouth V Watford - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe seeks a solid defensive platform

Manager Eddie Howe wants his team to rediscover their "heroic" defending as Bournemouth look to get the Premier League campaign back on track by beating Watford.

The Cherries had been looking to push on into the top half of the table following a solid opening to the season.

However, 2017 so far has yielded just one point - from a draw against Arsenal where they had been 3-0 up at home - and seen an early exit from the FA Cup at Millwall before losing again at relegation-battlers Hull last weekend.

Bournemouth have shipped some nine goals in the past three outings.

Howe believes getting things right at the back once more will provide the platform needed to move forward.

"It doesn't sound great that statistic and it is not something we will hide from," the Bournemouth manager said.

"It is a strange one, the lads have produced some heroic defensive performances at times, but the goals (against us) have come from nothing, when we have been in control.

"None more so than last week when we dominated at Hull and the first time they get really near our box, we concede."

Howe added at a press conference: "The only thing you can do is to work harder on all aspects of the team, that is a very obvious statement, but the whole team has to function together.

"We have not been good to watch since the Arsenal game and this weekend is a good chance for us to put things right."

Watford come to the Vitality Stadium having slipped down to 14th place following a run of six defeats out of the last 10 league matches.

The Hornets beat Burton in their FA Cup third-round tie, but then could only manage a goalless draw at home against Middlesbrough on what was an emotional occasion following the sudden death of former manager Graham Taylor.

Despite their own inconsistencies, Howe is not expecting an easy ride against Walter Mazzarri's side.

"Watford have some very talented players and tactically are very good," Howe said.

"They have reverted to a back three which served them well at times last season and they are very well managed.

"There has always been very little between the teams.

"But this game has to be about ourselves and making sure that off the back of our last two games, we improve.

"Following our recent games, we have to try to be tighter at the back and be ruthless when we get those chances."

Watford manager Mazzarri is confident his side will get their stuttering Premier League campaign back on track.

But Mazzarri, who could be without his number one goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes after he limped off with a back problem in their recent stalemate against Middlesbrough, is hopeful Watford will soon end their barren run.

"It is true in the last few away games, we did have some negative results but I am happy with the overall performance, especially against teams like West Bromwich, Sunderland and Stoke," Mazzarri said.

"It is very important to understand that if we work like that then the positive results will come."