Match Pack: Watford v Aston Villa

By: Watford FC Staff

Match Info

  • Watford v Aston Villa
  • Premier League
  • Vicarage Road
  • Saturday August 14, 3pm BST


  • Referee: Mike Dean
  • Assistants: Darren Cann, Mark Scholes
  • Fourth Official: Robert Jones
  • VAR: Peter Bankes
  • Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt


Narrowly avoiding relegation in 2019/20, Aston Villa enjoyed a much improved campaign last term. Dean Smith’s side finished 11th in the table, and beat several top sides throughout the season, including Chelsea, Arsenal, and most notably Liverpool, thrashing the Reds 7-2.

Club captain Jack Grealish departed Villa Park for a new challenge at champions Manchester City, but the Villans have strengthened their squad in a number of positions. Watford Academy graduate Ashley Young is one of the incomings to the side, along with winger Emiliano Buendia, defender Axel Tuanzebe, forward Leon Bailey and striker Danny Ings.

Key Stats

  • Watford’s last meeting with Aston Villa at Vicarage Road was back in December 2019. Troy Deeney scored twice and Ismaila Sarr netted a third in a 3-0 victory. Aston Villa won the most recent fixture 2-1 at Villa Park.

  • Watford have lost just one of their last five opening matches in the Premier League.

  • Aston Villa have won four of their last five opening day fixtures in the top-flight, losing just once.

  • Watford are unbeaten at Vicarage Road against Aston Villa for 22 years, stretching back to a 1-0 defeat in the Premier League in August 1999.

  • Each of the last four meetings between Watford and Aston Villa have seen three goals or more, with two results ending 3-2.

Team News

Xisco Muñoz has almost a full complement of players to choose from for the match, with only Joshua King and João Pedro missing out through injury. Nathaniel Chalobah will also be absent due to illness, but Adam Masina and Domingos Quina have returned to training this week. For more information on the injuries to King and João Pedro, click HERE

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins is touch-and-go for their trip to Vicarage Road, with new signing Leon Bailey starting training on Thursday following his move from German side Bayer Leverkusen. Emiliano Buendía missed out on their final pre-season friendly against Salernitana, but is available to the Villa Head Coach.

What Are They Saying?

Xisco Muñoz:

“We will play with aggression, with passion. We know how important points are in the Premier League, from the first point to the last point. I’m sure when everyone comes to the stadium, they are proud of our team. This is the most important thing for me. This is our objective.

“It’s important we have balance. When you play in a very good league, you need this balance. The most important thing this season is to continue with the clean sheets, it’s important we start and improve with this system, and after we will see.

“We lost too much time together last season and I want these games at home to have a good atmosphere. We need the fans to give a very good push up. With fans with us, it’s more difficult for other teams to come and win games.

“Last season was a good connection with the fans. A lot of people wrote to me on Instagram. It was a good connection. I’m sure this season it will be a perfect connection. We need our fans, we have an amazing goal this season and we need their spirit. When people come to our stadium I want them to say ‘Wow, the people are amazing, this is an amazing atmosphere’, and I’m sure they’ll give that to us.”

Dean Smith:

“It was a great start [for Villa] last season and it built momentum from the start, and brought a consistency certainly in the first half of the season.

“We’ve got a team that’s been newly-promoted, in Watford, and they’ll be a little bit of an unknown to us. But I’m sure with a full house, they’ll certainly start the game lively and we have to be at our best to beat them.

“It will be very difficult. But we’ve got some inside knowledge: my assistant, Craig Shakespeare, was assistant there the last time they were in the Premier League so he knows Vicarage Road very well and we’ll be going there with a gameplan to get all three points.”

Head To Head

  • Won 8, Drawn 5, Lost 8

Last Six

  • January 2020: Aston Villa 2-1 Watford (Premier League)
  • December 2019: Watford 3-0 Aston Villa (Premier League)
  • April 2016: Watford 3-2 Aston Villa (Premier League)
  • November 2015: Aston Villa 2-3 Watford (Premier League)
  • January 2007: Aston Villa 2-0 Watford (Premier League)

Golden Flashback

Watford’s penultimate home game of the 2015/16 season ended in dramatic and triumphant fashion against the Villans.

Already-relegated Villa took the lead through Ciaran Clark before Almen Abdi curled in a free-kick on the stroke of half-time to level the score.

Jordan Ayew’s effort put the visitors ahead again before a stoppage-time double from Birmingham fan Troy Deeney sent Watford supporters home happy.


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