Watford vs Wolves preview: Roberto Pereyra doubtful for FA Cup semi-final
Last Updated: 07/04/19 7:50pm
Roberto Pereyra is a doubt for Watford's FA Cup semi-final against Wolves at Wembley on Sunday (kick-off 4pm) due to a hip injury.
Pereyra has been unable to train since the 4-1 Premier League victory over Fulham on Tuesday and his fitness is being monitored closely.
Tom Cleverley is definitely out because of a calf problem, but Isaac Success and Adalberto Penaranda could recover from respective knee and hamstring problems in time.
Watford are battling with Wolves to finish the Premier League season in seventh place, with a spot in the Europa League the prize on offer, and manager Javi Gracia is hoping to continue an outstanding campaign by reaching the FA Cup final.
"We'll decide in the next day the best 11, but I'm always asked about changes and what players I will put in the first 11. I just always try to choose the best 11 and this game is no different," Gracia said.
Diogo Jota is fit for Wolves after shaking off an ankle problem picked up in the 2-1 win over Manchester United on Tuesday. John Ruddy will continue in goal after featuring in all of Wolves' FA Cup games this season.
Boss Nuno Espirito Santo has also told his players to play the game and not the occasion, saying: "Everybody knows what it could mean, but we have to play it just like another game, then make it special to make something happen - play the game.
"You have to know how to play it, focus on the game, don't think about anything else - what it could mean will come afterwards. Make this game special and play the game, action after action."
This will be the eighth FA Cup match between Watford and Wolves, with the Hornets winning just one of the seven previous encounters - a 3-0 victory in the fifth round in February 1980.
Wolves' second biggest FA Cup victory came against Watford back in January 1912, thrashing the then non-league outfit 10-0 in a first-round replay.
Watford have only lost one of their last five matches against Wolves in all competitions (W2 D2), a 0-1 defeat at Vicarage Road in December 2014 in the Championship.
Wolves are playing in their 15th FA Cup semi-final and first since 1998. They have been eliminated each of the last four times they have reached this stage, last progressing in 1960 en route to winning the trophy under Stan Cullis.
Watford will play their seventh FA Cup semi-final, only managing to progress on one previous occasion - a 1-0 victory over Plymouth back during the 1983-84 campaign. Indeed, of sides to appear in at last five FA Cup semi-finals, Watford have the joint-lowest progression rate alongside Fulham (1/6 - 17%).
Wolves have won their last six games at Wembley Stadium - only Arsenal (7 between May 2014 and May 2017) and Tottenham (7 between January-March 2018) have won more consecutively at the ground.
Watford have won just one of their six games in all competitions at Wembley Stadium (2-0 v Bolton in May 1999) losing each of their last four at the ground.
I'm just going to side with Watford but this is a really interesting game.
I watched Watford against Manchester United last weekend and they were bang unlucky. People will say United weren't great, but Watford were the far better team. They were very unfortunate not to get at least a draw. They probably didn't have that extra guile that United had when it counted.
Watford can mix it both ways. They have talented players but are also a strong, physical team. Not many teams can mix it both ways like they can. They have Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Pereyra, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Troy Deeney, who is a good centre-forward who holds the ball up and brings others into play.
Everybody is saying what a great result Wolves had against Manchester United in midweek but before they got going United should have been out of sight. Then they could have been on the back of a big defeat.
I think Watford will have too much physicality for Wolves.
MERSE PREDICTS: 2-1