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Premier League: Watford 10/11 to reach 30 or more points following Roy Hodgson appointment

Watford have confirmed the appointment of Roy Hodgson following Claudio Ranieri’s dismissal, and the Hornets are 10/11 to reach 30 or more points and 5/2 to stay up.

Following the announcement of Hodgson at Vicarage Road, Watford are 10/1 to finish above his former club Crystal Palace this season.

Despite a 10-point gap between the two, Watford do have a couple of games in hand and still have to play Palace (albeit at Selhurst Park) before the season is out.

Gino Pozzo has once again gone down the experienced route with the last such experiment ending with Ranieri winning just two of his 14 games – the 5-2 win over Everton and the 4-1 win over Manchester United. Both wins felt more like outliers rather a sign of things to come, and both sides on the wrong end of those defeats have since sacked their managers.

The Italian also failed to keep a clean sheet during his short tenure at Vicarage Road (conceding 34 goals in 14 games), something that you’d expect a defensively astute coach such as Hodgson to sort out pretty quickly, and that can only help in their quest to stay in the Premier League.

In fact, the last Premier League clean sheet Watford kept was in February 2020, when they ended Liverpool’s unbeaten run, with two second-half goals from Ismaila Sarr before Troy Deeney put the cherry on top.

bet365 have priced up Watford to not keep a Premier League clean sheet for the rest of the season at 25/1.

The Hornets are 3/1 to get an instant response from Hodgson’s methods by keeping a clean sheet in their next scheduled game against Burnley on Saturday 5th February, which they’re 12/5 to win.

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Two big opportunities passed Ranieri by in recent weeks, as his side travelled to St James’ Park and needed Joao Pedro to rescue a point late on, before a shocking defeat at home to Norwich sealed his fate.

The result on Friday night provided a big boost for Newcastle, who are now 11/8 to go down, with one of their main two rivals for the drop losing a must-win game, but it did hoist Norwich out of the relegation zone, and considering the improvement under Dean Smith, they won’t be giving up just yet.

It will be interesting to see how Hodgson utilises Emmanuel Dennis – suspended for the trip to Burnley – Joshua King and Ismaila Sarr, who you feel will be pivotal to any hopes Watford have of beating the drop.

Hodgson will look to draw inspiration from his time at Fulham, when he took over in the new year with the Cottagers 19th in the table before that remarkable run in the final five games – of which they won four – to stay up on goal difference on the final day.

It may require something similar. Once Hodgson’s first game against Burnley is out of the way, the Hornets will face West Ham, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City away and Arsenal at home in their next seven.

However their run towards the end of the season is somewhat more inviting, and may be what Watford’s season depends upon.

Their final seven games will see them face Leeds, Brentford, Burnley and Leicester at home and Crystal Palace away.

By Steve Freeth

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