Everton vs Watford: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview Everton boss Marco Silva faces Watford for the first time since his departure from Vicarage Road in January knowing victory will lift his side back into the Premier League top six.
The Toffees are without a win in their last two matches following their last-gasp defeat at Anfield last weekend before being held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle at Goodison Park in midweek.
Meanwhile, after winning their first four matches of the season, Watford have won just two of their 11 league games since, including three successive defeats going into Monday’s game.
Defender Michael Keane could return after he was rested against Newcastle on Wednesday, with Kurt Zouma most likely to make way.
Bernard and Theo Walcott were also benched in midweek and could come in for Cenk Tosun and Ademola Lookman.
Expected Everton starting XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Gueye, Gomes, Bernard, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Richarlison.
Will Hughes is doubtful with a knock but former Toffees midfielder Tom Cleverley could feature after recovering from an Achilles injury that has sidelined him since January. Another former Evertonian, Gerard Deulofeu, is pushing for a start after coming off the bench against Manchester City in midweek.
Potential Watford starting XI: Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas, Chalobah, Success, Hughes, Doucoure, Pereyra, Deeney.
Everton boss Marco Silva was keen to play down talk of a hostile reception from the visiting Watford fans on Monday despite the bitter dispute between the two sides that has been ongoing for more than a year.
The Toffees made Silva their prime candidate to replace Ronald Koeman following the Dutchman’s sacking in October 2017. However, Watford were insistent their manager – who had only joined the club three months earlier – was not going anywhere.
After several failed approaches the Hornets reportedly sent a cease and desist letter to try and end Everton’s interest, with the Toffees eventually turning to Sam Allardyce.
Watford, though, remained unhappy with Everton for disrupting their campaign. And when Silva was sacked in January following a run of just one win in 11 games, they blamed Everton’s “unwarranted approach” for the 41-year-old as the main reason behind that decision.
The dispute remains unresolved, with an independent commission set up by the Premier League yet to reach a decision. It provides an interesting subplot to Monday’s game, though Silva is unwilling to fan the flames.
“The first day I joined Everton I said the past is not important to talk about. Big respect for all the clubs I have worked at so far, not just Watford but all the others,” said Silva. “It is not the first time in my life and for sure it will not be the last. I look forward to the match, a tough match for sure, and it will be good to see some of the players who worked with me, some good friends as well I have in the club.”
The difficult relationship between the two clubs didn’t prevent them from concluding a summer deal for Richarlison, with the Brazlian moving to Goodison Park for a fee believed to be in the region of £40m.
The 21-year-old has repsonded with seven goals so far to top the Toffees’ scoring charts alongside Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Watford captain Troy Deeney isn’t surprised at how Richarlison has performed in a blue shirt, and says the deal was a “no-brainer” given the money involved.
“You can see his potential daily, his enthusiasm for football is up there and he’s now getting the national team looking at him,” said Deeney. “But, I don’t want to talk him up too much because I’m going to have to smash him on Monday! On Monday he’s the enemy.”