Two teams with nothing left to play for meet at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon, with Watford planning for another season in the top-flight and Aston Villa already preparing for life in the second-tier.
Last weekend’s disappointing FA Cup semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace meant that the Hornets couldn’t add a showpiece final to a steady, if unspectacular, league season, and speculation persists around the future of manager Quique Sanchez Flores.
The Spaniard has done a fine job in comfortably keeping Watford in the top-flight, but the Hornets’ form has tailed off in 2016 and the owners are said to be considering a change ahead of next season.
Only West Brom and this weekend’s opponents Aston Villa have scored less goals than Watford this season; the much-heralded front two of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney have not been quite so effective since the turn of the new calendar year.
Villa have never lost at home to Watford in the Premier League, but their current run of 10 consecutive defeats does little to inspire confidence that this particular record will still be intact come 5pm on Saturday.
Southampton were the latest team to inflict defeat on Villa as they ran out 4-2 winners at Villa Park last weekend, and caretaker boss Eric Black has a seemingly impossible task on his hands to raise any sort of performance from his beleaguered side.
Still winless on the road since the opening day success at Bournemouth, their tally of 11 goals away from home is the lowest in the division; it has been a truly miserable campaign to follow Villa on their travels, and not much better at home.
Etienne Capoue is Watford’s only absentee, with the former Tottenham midfielder set to miss out with a knee injury.
Defender Ciaran Clark is back in contention for the visitors having recovered from an ankle injury, but Kieran Richardson will be absent due to a calf complaint.
League Positions: Watford – 12th (41 pts); Aston Villa – 20th (16 pts)
Previous Meeting: Aston Villa 2-3 Watford – November 28, 2015
Form: Watford – LLLDWL; Aston Villa – LLLLLL
Key Players: Watford – Troy Deeney; Aston Villa – Ashley Westwood
Shoot Says: Watford 1-0 Aston Villa