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In numbers: Watford vs Wycombe

Tom Hancock previews the trip to Vicarage Road.

2 March 2021

Unfamiliar territory, a point to prove, and a penalty pattern all make it into this week's edition.

23.5: Years since Wycombe’s last league visit to Vicarage Road
Yes, it’s been a while. Paul Read’s goal wasn’t enough to prevent Wanderers from falling to a 2-1 Division 2 defeat in September 1997 – a game for which none other than Elton John, then in his second spell as chairman of the Hornets, was in attendance. Watford went on to be promoted as champions that season, while we continued to consolidate our third tier status by finishing 14th.

We’ve made the short trip to Hertfordshire just once since then, losing 1-0 after extra time in the first round of the League Cup in August 2012. It’s not been a happy hunting ground at all, with the only other meetings in WD18 a 1-0 league loss in November 1996 and a 5-1 thrashing in the second round of the FA Cup 37 years earlier.

3: Seasons Uche Ikpeazu was a Watford player
Ikpeazu didn’t make a single appearance for the club he joined after leaving Reading in the summer of 2013. Speaking after last month’s 3-2 win at Huddersfield, he reflected on the time he travelled to the same ground with Gianfranco Zola’s Hornets, only to be left out of the matchday squad – and how he used that as motivation. Now making quite an impact in the Championship, the 25-year-old will no doubt be fired up for Wednesday night’s clash.

Adebayo Akinfenwa, meanwhile, started out at Watford and very much made his mark on October’s fixture, as acknowledged by visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster at the end of the 1-1 draw. Should the big man feature at Vicarage Road, it will be his first appearance at the home of the club who let him go as an 18-year-old way back in 2001.

21%: Proportion of Watford’s goals from penalties
That’s the highest in the league. Nine times Watford have had the opportunity to score from the spot – the joint-most in the division with Norwich – and nine times they’ve taken it. Five of those nine have come in one-goal victories – and three of those five in 1-0s.

Who’s second in terms of reliance on penalties for goals, though? That’s right, we are, with four of our 23 Championship goals (17%) coming from the left foot of Joe Jacobson or, as was the case against Derby a couple of weeks ago, the right foot of Ikpeazu.

The referee for this one? Geoff Eltringham. And what’s significant about that? Well, last time we had him – for December’s 2-1 loss at Barnsley – he awarded both sides penalties. In fact, he’s given nine in the 19 Championship games he’s taken charge of this season.

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