Watford is tracking automatic promotion to the Premier League, but faces a difficult trip to The Riverside on Easter Monday . Mark O’Haire previews the Hornets’ encounter with Middlesbrough.
« The Hornets have registered W14-D2-L3 to cement their place in the auto-promotion hunt. The underlying performance data suggests that the The hosts have been the most dominant and high-performing team in the division for the last 16 games. «
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock admits that the Teessiders’ play-off hopes ended with a loss at Bournemouth – but the Boro boss was enthusiastic about the performance of his team on the south coast. The Reds suffered their second straight defeat when they lost 3-1. That defeat left them six points behind the top six after playing one more game.
Duncan Watmore gave Boro hope in the second half when he canceled Phillip Billing’s opener, but the joy was only of short duration. Jefferson Lerma and Dominic Solanke tried to collect the points for the cherries and Warnock in the fight to accept a defeat play-off spot, and instead turned his attention to the 2021/22 campaign.
Warnock called an attacking line-up with a front four from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Yannick Bolasie, Neeskens Kebano and Duncan Watmore, but Middlesbrough again lacked the presence of a striker. And the misery of the Teessiders has been exacerbated by news key duo Dael Fry, and Marcus Tavernier will be absent for the foreseeable future.
Watford’s head coach Xisco Munoz praised his team’s fighting ability after scoring a valuable 1-0 home win who had monitored the Hornets against Sheffield Wednesday on Good Friday. The hosts took an early lead with Tom Lee’s Ismaila Sarr’s low cross in his own goal, but there was little else to separate the two teams in an ultimately unattractive game.
However, the win widened the gap between Watford in second place and Swansea and Brentford in third and fourth place, while narrowing the gap between themselves and Norwich in first place, which Preston was holding back. After the game, Munoz wanted to highlight the mentality of his team to work out the three points on Vicarage Road.
Munoz said: « It wasn’t our good performance, but I can say it was excellent, the mentality of our players. Me think they understand our game perfectly. They were mentally very strong because we had very good opponents. I think they played very well. » Well, the most important thing is that all of our players gave more for the team. «
Watford has recently set a strong record when he faced Middlesbrough in the league. The Hornets are unbeaten in their last eight games with Boro (W5-D3-L0) since 2012 and have the Teessiders in the Last four head-to-head games kept goalless. The Hertfordshire team have released W2-D2-L0 in their last four trips to The Riverside.
Middlesbrough 3.3512 / 5 has won two home league games after playing just one of his had won seven previous games at The Riverside (W1-D1-L5) The hosts have returned W2-D3-L2 as they greeted the teams above them in the table at Teesside, despite Neil Warnock’s recent comments related to Boro’s injury issues unattractive underdogs.
Watford 2.3811 / 8 has been one of the division’s shaping sides since Xisco Munoz was launched, and the Hornets have registered W14-D2-L3 to take their place in the auto-promotion hunt solidify, while underlying performance data suggests that the hosts have been most of the division’s dominant and top performing team in the last 16 games, which highlights their threat.
Reading is the only top 8 attendee in this Season at The Riverside could not score. Both teams scored 2,021/1 in five of those seven showdowns. The same pick has paid off in four of Middlesbrough’s last six home games as Neil Warnock’s team closed just five gaps in hosting the 2020/21 championship. Improving this record won’t be easy as Watford largely dominates the defense. The Hornets have conceded 11 shutouts in their last 19 championship competitions and 15 goals in 27 further back. That means it was quite difficult to get goal-heavy games – BTTS have only played 7/19 (37%) Watford games since Christmas.
Instead of pushing a goal game forward, I’ll keep things simple for Easter Monday and support Watford in their quest for a 12th championship win in 13 games and a 15th win in 20 league games since Xisco Munoz arrived.
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