Friday, July 28, 2017

Prediction: Middlesbrough vs Watford


Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

Newly-promoted Middlesbrough find themselves dangerously close to the bottom three after a barren run of results, meaning they will be under pressure when they take on Watford on Sunday afternoon. Despite suffering a minor dip in form, the Hornets remained in mid table and they will fancy their chances of piling more misery on Boro.

Middlesbrough

Following several unsuccessful attempts, Middlesbrough finally gained promotion to the elite division last summer, and Aitor Karanka was obviously given the chance to continue what he had started. The Spaniard appears to have created a quality squad that is a nice blend of players who starred in the Championship and experienced footballers from abroad, but the squad rebuilding process continues. We can safely say that Boro have shown plenty of promise in the opening exchanges, but they were not exactly properly rewarded for their efforts, taking just two points from last five fixtures. Even so, the team remained above the bottom three, but that will quickly change unless they can return to winning ways this weekend. The 1-1 draw with West Ham in London as well as the fact that they scored in each of their last four Premier League matches is likely to give the hosts something to build on, but it goes without saying that they will have to be wary of Watford counterattacks, as the likes of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo have the quality to cause Boro defenders all sorts of problems.

Team News

There have been no fresh injury problems for manager Aitor Karanka, but Grant Leadbitter, Fabio and James Husband continue to miss out.

Watford

Even though they haven’t had too much top-flight experience, Watford seem on the path to become an established Premier League side, and new manager Walter Mazzarri has done really well since taking over the reigns from Quique Sanchez Flores. The Hornets may sit mere two points above their next opponents, but their performances have been much better and another mid table finish already seems on the cards. Watford recovered well from the slow start, as back to back wins over Manchester United and West Ham United had a very good effect on the team’s confidence, but the Hornets didn’t exactly manage to build on those results. Walter Mazzarri’s charges were since beaten by Burnley and shared spoils with AFC Bournemouth ahead of the international break, meaning they will have something to prove when they take on Middlesbrough this weekend. The 2-0 loss to Burnley was Watford’s first setback of the season when it comes to away games, as they had previously held Southampton to a 1-1 draw and beat West Ham 4-2. We fully expect the Hornets to produce a good performance at Riverside and prove their worth in yet another game on the road.

Team News

Talented striker Isaac Success withdrew from the Nigeria squad due to a dead leg, but he should be fit to face Middlesbrough on Sunday.

However, Walter Mazzarri is still unable to count on Daryl Janmaat, Brice Dja Djedje, Craig Catchart and Jerome Sinclair.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Boro are winless in last five meetings vs Watford
  • Both teams scored in each of their last three meetings at Riverside
  • They last met in Premiership in 2007 with Boro winning 4-1
  • Watford scored five goals in three away fixtures this season
  • Middlesbrough are winless in last six matches

Conclusion

Middlesbrough have shown a great deal of promise, especially in recent weeks, but they have been conceding two goals per game on average, so everything suggests they will be involved in an another high-scoring affair, with their opponents Watford also doing really well on the road.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

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