Preston fans would be forgiven for not knowing who Xisco Munoz is; in truth, few English fans were aware of him when he became Watford boss in December.

The Spaniard had only entered his first managerial role in August 2020, winning eight of his 11 games in charge of Dinamo Tbilisi in Georgia before earning a big move to Vicarage Road.

Tonight, he’ll be in the Deepdale dugout as he takes his Hornets side to Lancashire in search of three points – and his side are full of confidence.

Watford v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images


Watford destroyed Bristol City on Saturday afternoon, smashing them 6-0 in an absolute hammering. They were 4-0 by half time, and part of their dominance came from a switch in system.

The Watford Observer note that Munoz switched from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3, and they ran riot against Bristol City’s 3-5-2 – a system Preston used to defeat Blackburn Rovers on Friday night.

The system saw Will Hughes sit deeper in midfield with Tom Cleverley and Nathaniel Chalobah breaking forward to support the speedy attacking trio of Ismaila Sarr, Joao Pedro and Ken Sema.

Alex Neil does like to match up with opponents, so we could see a midfield trio of Ryan Ledson, Ben Whiteman and Daniel Johnson to try and combat them.

Watford v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The problem is the pace going forward. Preston aren’t particularly blessed with speed at the back, something Neil seemingly factored in at Blackburn, going with a back five to plug in an extra body in lieu of one-on-one pace.

Preston lost 4-1 to Watford in November, and the last thing Neil will have wanted is to face the Hornets again with their attacking play in an even better state.

Picking a team for tonight’s game won’t be easy for Neil, and Watford’s new-bound success with a 4-3-3 will give the Preston boss plenty to think about today.

Related Topics