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Since the turn of the year, Southampton have been one of the most improved sides in the Premier League, putting together a run of seven wins from 10 games in all competitions until March 2.
However, on the back of a much-changed side defeating West Ham United in the FA Cup, the Saints have produced two below-par performances, succumbing to Aston Villa and Newcastle United respectively.
Southampton could only get better having succumbed 4-0 at Villa, but Ralph Hasenhuttl witnessed his team give up a lead to lose 2-1 at home to the Magpies on Thursday night.
Any European bid via the Premier League is now realistically out of the question, and Hasenhuttl will recognise the importance of getting back on track ahead of next weekend’s cup quarter-final at home to Manchester City.
Before the setback earlier this week, Southampton had not lost at St Mary’s since a defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers all the way back on September 26.
Roy Hodgon was left visibly frustrated as his side went 3-0 down inside 21 minutes in the latter of those fixtures, Watford contributing to their own downfall with an own goal and a glaring error from goalkeeper Ben Foster.
All is not lost for Watford, however, with pivotal matches against relegation rivals still to come, but Hodgson knows that they also face trips to Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Southampton emerged victorious from the reverse fixture on October 30, Che Adams scoring the only goal of the game at Vicarage Road.
Hasenhuttl will almost certainly make several changes to his Southampton XI, including in attack where Adam Armstrong could replace either Armando Broja or Adams.
Moussa Djenepo should get the nod on the left flank, while Romain Perraud might be brought in at left-back in place of Tino Livramento or Kyle Walker-Peters.
Nathan Tella could potentially return to the squad after a groin injury.
Jeremy Ngakia may feature at right-back for Watford after a minor hamstring problem, and Christian Kabasele could return in the centre of defence after being introduced as a first-half substitute against Wolves.
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Juraj Kucka is an alternative if Hodgson wishes to introduce fresh legs in midfield given the quick turnaround.
Southampton possible starting lineup:
Forster; Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters; S. Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo; A. Armstrong, Adams
Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Ngakia, Cathcart, Kabasele, Kamara; Sissoko, Louza, Kucka; Hernandez, Dennis, King