For the final time this season Gianfranco Zola's Watford FC take on Brian McDermott's Leeds United in one of the most important game in Watford's recent history that happens to be the last game of this NPower Championship season. Whilst the champions elect have been chosen by a benevolent being, the last remaining automatic promotion place is being fought out by both Watford and Steve Bruce's Hull City in a last gasp dash for the finishing line. A single point separates second place Hull City and third place Watford with both Watford needing to better Hull's result. If Hull win no matter what Watford do Hull will be promoted. Luckily Hull are playing Champions Cardiff City who will want to go out in a flourish rather than meekly limping across the line.
What a season this has been, Watford have gone from relegation candidates to automatic promotion chasing in the matter of a single season. Most fans and pundits took one look at the revolution that has happened at Vicarage Road and simply said; "Yeah that's not going to work, the same thing happened at Doncaster and they were relegated. They have an untested manager and have recently sacked a manager who worked miracles. No the likes of Wolves, Leicester and Blackburn will win this league." I think it is safe to say that it hasn't gone that way. What an unbelievable season we have had, we have seen some the devastating low's of losing 5-1 at Pride Park after losing Martin Taylor the night before some amazing high's such as the 6-1 victory at Elland Road. Since that crucial victory the team has moved from strength to strength with some amazing display's that saw the team rise from 12th place to 3rd place and at times flirting with 2nd place.
We have two players that have scored 39 goals between them in Troy Deeney and Player of the Year Matej Vydra, with 19 and 20 goals respectively, as well as the midfield general that is Almen Abdi. Some have criticised us for not nurturing young English talent and home grown players but we have proved them wrong by signing up several youth players on long term deals as well as nurturing Nathaniel Chalobah, who is on loan from Chelsea, who has earned rave reviews and has been looked at by England boss Roy Hodgson.
After all this, we have no choice but to win our game and hope Cardiff will do us a massive favour. Cardiff manager, and ex-Hornet, Malky Mackay has said that his team will carry on fighting to the end with players potentially fighting for their place in the squad in the Premiership. Steve Bruce's side have to win to confirm promotion but have stumbled as of late picking up only one point out of their last three games, which was a 0-0 draw with already relegated Bristol City, without scoring in those three games. The question going through most Watford fans minds is, will they turn this poor form around and beat Cardiff, who hopefully will want to head into the Premiership on the back of a win? I wish I had the answer for that so I wont have to go through the stress of Saturday afternoon but I don't so I'll have to suffer the nerves with the rest of the fans.
Right enough faffing about with the other game, we need to concentrate on Leeds.
New Leeds boss Brian McDermott is looking to steady the ship after replacing Neil 'Colin' Warnock on the 12th of April, since the four games he has been in charge of Leeds have won two and lost two, with both of those defeats coming in the last two games. They will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing couple of results against a Watford side that will need to attack them. Leeds will be without both El-Hadj Diouf and Rudolph Austin who were both sent off in Leeds 2-1 loss to Brighton at the weekend. They are however trying to appeal Austin's sending off in hope that he will be available for the Watford game. It is likely that tough tackling Michael Brown will come in for Austin and Steve Morrison coming in for El-Hadj Diouf. More team news to follow.
Players to watch out for will be Sam Byran, Steve Morrison and Ross McCormack. These three will be very attacking and will pose a fair few threats to our goal, our back three and Pudil will need to keep them quiet.
The reverse fixture was the beginning of a very good run in form for the Hornet's with them winning a staggering 6-1 at Elland Road in a comprehensive win that showed the world what Watford can do. It was a memorable day for the Hornet's that saw Matej Vydra grab a brace and Almen Abdi, Troy Deeney, Mark Yeates and Sean Murray each scoring a solitary goal. Michael Tonge grabbed one back from the penalty spot after Joel Ekstrand was adjudged to have fouled Luke Varney in the box. Some will say that the scoreline was misleading as Leeds were down to nine men after Rudolph Austin broke his leg, and they had no more subs to use, and an early sending off Jason Pearce but you have to put away the chances you are given. Hopefully it is a repeat of the score line for the Hornet's!
Opposition Fans Forum: http://www.lufctalk.com/forums/
Watford Team News:
Gianfranco Zola has another selection dilemma up front in Fernando Forestieri and top scorer Matej Vydra. Poor old Vydra is looking knackered at the moment and looks like he couldn't buy a goal even if he wanted to, Forestieri on the other hand is in scintillating form, just ask Blackburn! For me Forestieri has to start up front with Troy Deeney who will be looking to add more goals to his tally and potentially overtake Matej Vydra as the clubs top scorer. The midfield three are vital to us winning this game and I'd go for the same three that played in the Leicester win, Abdi, Hogg and Chalobah. We will need Hogg's ruggedness to combat someone like Michael Brown who will be looking to take players out of the game with crunching tackles. Almen Abdi had a very good game against Leicester and was unlucky not to grab a goal, which was down to some poor shots on his part and will be looking to put in another convincing display against Leeds. Nathaniel Chalobah, despite not having a fantastic game against Leicester, scored a wonder goal that was eventually the games winner. The back five should remain the same as they had a great game at Leicester, particularly Joel Ekstrand who dealt with Leicester's direct attack in the second half.
Injury news to follow.
Predicted Line Ups:
Subs: Bond, Briggs, Eustace, Battochio, Vydra, Geijo, Yeates.
Subs: Cairns, Drury, White, Poleon, Habibou, Bromby, Tonge.
Score Prediction: Leeds are comfortably a mid table side but will be wanting to end the season on a high and come out with a win, we should be able to control the game. I'm plumping for a 3-1 win to the Hornet's and a 1-1 draw with Cardiff and Hull ensuring Watford go up in second place.
Come On You 'Orns!