England Championship - Match Prediction: Middlesbrough VS Watford

Posted Mon, 05 Apr 2021 09:24:27 GMT        

Match Time:4/5/2021 19:30 Monday  (GMT+8)

England Championship --  Middlesbrough   VS   Watford

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Watford will be looking to tighten their grip on an automatic promotion spot in the Championship when they travel to top-six chasing Middlesbrough on Monday afternoon. The Hornets have won six games in a row to open up a healthy gap on the chasing pack, while Boro have lost back-to-back matches to lose ground on the playoffs.

 

Match preview

A somewhat controversial Tom Lees own goal proved the difference as Watford edged out strugglers Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Vicarage Road on Good Friday. It was far from a convincing victory for the Hornets in their first game back from the international break, but the three points is all that counts.

 

With third-placed Swansea City losing at Birmingham City later in the day, Watford are nine points clear of the Welsh side, who do still have a game in hand to play.

 

Brentford can move to within four points of Watford if they win their two games in hand, the first of those away to Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon.

 

That points margin could come in handy as Xisco's side face Boro, Reading, Norwich City, Brentford and Swansea in five of their remaining seven games - an extremely tough run.It was far from a convincing victory for the Hornets in their first game back from the international break, but the three points is all that counts.

 

With third-placed Swansea City losing at Birmingham City later in the day, Watford are nine points clear of the Welsh side, who do still have a game in hand to play.

 

Brentford can move to within four points of Watford if they win their two games in hand, the first of those away to Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon.

 

That points margin could come in handy as Xisco's side face Boro, Reading, Norwich City, Brentford and Swansea in five of their remaining seven games - an extremely tough run.

 

Any sort of slip-up could just allow the chasing pack to close in, then, and Monday's trip to the Riverside Stadium is far from a straightforward assignment.

 

Boro have won back-to-back matches on home soil without conceding, seeing off Stoke City 3-0 and Preston North End 2-0, and are without a defeat there in three.

 

However, Neil Warnock's men have lost to Millwall and Bournemouth in their last two games either side of the international break, leaving them with a lot of work to do.

 

The 3-1 reverse at Bournemouth on Friday could prove particularly costly, with that loss seeing the gap on the top six increase to seven points.

 

Warnock-managed sides do not tend to do well against Watford, either, with the veteran coach losing 17 league matches against them down the years - his joint-most as a manager in the top four tiers of English football, alongside Reading.

 

Another defeat on Monday, combined with other results going against them, and Boro's outside promotion hopes will surely be over for another season.

 

Middlesbrough Championship form: WLWWLL

 

Watford Championship form: WWWWWW

 

Team News

Middlesbrough were without Dael Fry and Marcus Tavernier for their defeat at the Vitality Stadium. Warnock later confirmed that they will miss three weeks and a week respectively.

 

Paddy McNair was forced to play at the back against Bournemouth, despite being in action for Northern Ireland less than 48 hours beforehand, and he is likely to start again here.

 

Warnock has repeatedly called out his strikers and went without a recognised centre-forward on Friday, but he will surely be tempted to change things around versus Watford.

 

The visitors welcomed midfielder Philip Zinckernagel back into their starting lineup against Wednesday, while Ismaila Sarr recovered from a knock in time to feature.

 

Xisco may opt to change things around slightly given the quick turnaround in matches, so Ken Sema and Dan Gosling are contenders to come into the XI.

 

Isaac Success has yet to score in five Championship outings for Watford, but he is still in contention to lead the line at the Riverside. Captain Troy Deeney remains sidelined.

 

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:

Bettinelli; Fisher, Hall, McNair, Bola; Saville, Howson, Morsy; Tavernier, Fletcher, Kebano

 

Watford possible starting lineup:

Bachmann; Femenia, Troost-Ekong, Sierralta, Masina; Chalobah, Hughes, Zinckernagel; Sema, Success, Pedro

 

Middlesbrough VS Watford

Middlesbrough 0-1 Watford

England Championship - Match Prediction: Middlesbrough VS Watford